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Phonics in School

Phonics is the teaching of letters and sounds and how they blend together to make words. Tetney Primary School has adopted the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document (2007) to teach phonics as well as using some resources from ‘Jolly Phonics’.

‘Letters and Sounds’ is a six-phase programme designed to help teach children learn to read and spell with phonics (phonemes). Spoken English uses about 42 sounds (phonemes).These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). The alphabet contains only 26 letters, but we use it to make all the graphemes that represent the phonemes of English. In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘s’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘igh’)

Once children begin learning letters, they are used as quickly as possible in reading and spelling words. Children can then see the purpose of learning letters. For this reason, the first six letters taught are ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘p’, ‘i’, ‘n’.

These can immediately be used to make a number of words such as ‘sat’, ‘pin’, ‘pat’, ‘tap’, ‘nap’.

New sounds taught are sent home so that you can be involved in your child’s learning. Phonics is vital in the development of reading and your support in this learning will help your child to develop the skills needed.

In Reception and KS1, phonics is taught daily at a discrete dedicated time. There are lots of practical, fun activities that encourage children to learn and use new sounds.

High frequency and ‘tricky’ words

There are 100 high frequency (common) words that recur frequently in much of the written material young children read and that they need when they write. High frequency words have often been regarded in the past as needing to be taught as sight words – to be learnt as visual wholes. The vast majority of these words are, however, decodable once letter sounds have been taught. In order to read simple sentences, it is necessary for children to know some words that have unusual or untaught spellings. These are known as ‘tricky’ words and need to be learned by heart.

For games and more information see the Letters and Sounds website.