Phonics at Falkland Primary School

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1 What is Phonics? Phonics at Falkland Primary School Put simply, phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing. At Falkland Primary School we use a synthetic phonics method of teaching reading and writing we synthesise the teaching of reading and writing skills into a single systematic approach. This approach is now recognised as being the most effective way of teaching our children how to read and write the English language. The approach is taught using a programme called Letters and Sounds. How does Letters and Sounds work? Letters and Sounds was written by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007 and is now the most widely used phonics resource in Britain. The programme is designed to develop your child s ability to hear, identify, and manipulate letter sounds (phonemes) and correspond this with the spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them. It sets out a highly structured and detailed programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting at the age of five (EYFS), with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven (Yr. 2). There are six overlapping phases within the programme. Each phase builds upon the learning taught previously, but also reviews this learning regularly. One Two Three Four Five Six Phonic Knowledge and Skills (Learning) Children learn to discriminate sounds, including; environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting. Children learn 19 letters (grapheme) of the alphabet and one sound (phoneme) for each. They learn how to blend sounds together to make words and how to segment words into their separate sounds. They begin to read simple captions. Children learn another 25 graphemes. This will result in children knowing one grapheme for most of the 44 phonemes. They continue reading captions, moving onto sentences and questions. Children learn to blend and segment longer words. Children are taught alternative spellings for phonemes / pronunciations for graphemes they already know. Children learn word specific spellings and rules for adding prefixes/suffixes. doubling and dropping letters etc. 1

2 How does this work in the classroom? The children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 take part in a 20 minute phonics lesson every day of the week. These lessons take place at the same time each morning. They are fast paced, highly structured, interactive sessions that use a multi-sensory approach to learning. Each session has 4 main components: 1. Revisit and review previous learning. 2. Teach new learning. 3. Practise learning. 4. Apply learning. Learning is also regularly assessed against clearly set success criteria. Beyond the phonics lesson it is expected that children will apply their current level of learning across the curriculum, wherever reading and writing skills are required. In addition, handwriting and spelling exercises will be linked to the that your child is learning. In this way we make a purposeful link between our discrete phonics sessions and everyday use of the skills that are taught we follow a systematic synthetic phonics approach. 2

3 How can parents help their children at home? 1. Reading with your child always has been, and ever shall be, number 1!! Reading stories and rhymes to and with your child teaches them a most important lesson that reading is fun. A child who shares lots of stories with their parents, or carers, is more likely to become a good reader. 2. Play sound games with younger children. Begin with, sound discrimination games- e.g. animal noises, sound table. Move onto word discrimination games e.g. finding a named object on a picture. Then, syllable discrimination/rhythms in language e.g. clapping syllable in names. **Remember to read with your child! 3. Help to develop your child s ability to discriminate small units of sound, or their phonemic awareness. Sounding out letters of the alphabet (phonemes). Pure sounds are the best sounds stop the..uh!! It is very important to pronounce the phonemes correctly, saying, f, and not fuh. If you add -uh to the phonemes, even for emphasis, it makes it very hard for children to use them for reading and spelling. It can be difficult for young children to hear pure sounds in words. **Remember to read with you child! 4. Extend your child s ability to discriminate small units of sound by segmenting. Segmenting is the process of identifying the different phonemes in words. Begin with the initial sounds. Move onto the end sounds. The middle (medial) sounds are the hardest. Remember to segment into sounds (phonemes), not letters. For example, how many sounds are there in the word chip? There are three: ch-i-p. This takes lots of practice. **Remember to read with you child! 5. Help your child to blend Blending is the process of saying the individual phonemes in a word and then running them together to make the word. For example: c-a-t makes cat. This is not obvious for young children and they will need to practise. Phonemes must be said quite quickly to hear the word. Some phonemes are represented by two or more letters, such as ch. Children should sound out the ch, not the individual letters (c-h). **Remember to read with you child! 3

4 6. Reading stories and rhymes to and with your child continues to be the most important thing you can do. When reading with your child Try to create a positive reading atmosphere, where you both feel comfortable and have the time your child deserves. Short, sweet sessions can be very effective. However, cutting a story short, just as your child is getting into it, can be very demoralising. Be realistic about the time you have, and let your child know before you begin. Timetabled reading schedules can be very effective. Children love to know what is going to happen, and when. Reading every day is fantastic, but not essential. Far better to have an enthused child, three times a week, than a reluctant reader. Try to be as encouraging as possible, we are laying down the foundations of a skill that will have a major impact on our children s lives. It should not be a chore. If it feels that way, for either of you, give yourselves a break. Boys, especially active boys, are more likely to be resistant. Do use picture clues. It is wise to spend time discussing the illustrations before reading the accompanying passage. Do refer back to the pictures as you progress. Do allow good guesses and substitutes. Children can, and should, use contextual clues to have a good guess at an unfamiliar word. You need not always correct their mistakes if their substitute word makes sense. The English language can be very confusing and there are lots of irregularities, so you will need to be on your toes when supporting your child with reading. Try to read ahead and be prepared for irregular sounds or words. Do not let your child struggle when reading. It is a matter of fine judgement as to when to jump in and support them with a word they find difficult to read. A good general rule is to count 10 seconds, then support. Do not give it away all at once. Encourage your child to try different strategies before you tell them the word. Look at the picture., Sound out the first/last/middle letter., What word would fit in this sentence?, Try the letter name., and so on. Tell them impossible words. All children need to develop their sight vocabulary. These are those nasty words that you just have to know by sight. Examples include; was, of, said, the, one, many, what. Do not struggle in silence! Talk to your class teacher, if you need advice or support! Our aim should be not simply to teach children how to read, but to encourage children to become readers. Bryn Jones 4

5 Some useful Information 1. How to enunciate the pure sounds correctly m mmmmmmountain (keep lips pressed together hard) s sssssnake (keep teeth together and hiss unvoiced) n nnnnnnet (keep tongue behind teeth) f ffffflower (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out sharply unvoiced) l llllleg (keep pointed curled tongue behind teeth). r rrrrrrobot (say rrr as if you are growling) v vvvvvvulture (keep teeth on bottom lip and force air out gently) z zzzzzzig zzzzzag (keep teeth together and make a buzzing sound) th thhhhank you ( stick out tongue and breathe out sharply) sh shhhh (make a shhh noise as though you are telling somebody to be quiet!) ng thinnnnngg on a strinnnngg (curl your tongue at the back of your throat) nk I think I stink (make a piggy oink noise without the oi! nk nk nk) These next sounds cannot be stretched. Make the sound as short as possible avoiding uh at the end of the sound: t (tick tongue behind the teeth unvoiced) p - (make distinctive p with lips unvoiced) k (make sharp click at back of throat) c - as above h (say h as you breathe sharply out unvoiced) ch- (make a short sneezing sound) x (say a sharp c and add s unvoiced) You will find it harder to avoid saying uh at the end of these sounds. d (tap tongue behind the teeth). g (make soft sound in throat). b (make a short, strong b with lips). j (push lips forward). y (keep edges of tongue against teeth). w (keep lips tightly pursed). qu (keep lips pursed as you say cw unvoiced). 5

6 The short vowels should be kept short and sharp. a: a-a-a (open mouth wide as if to take a bite of an apple). e: e-e-e (release mouth slightly from a position). i: i-i-i (make a sharp sound at the back of the throat - it). o: o o-o (push out lips, make the mouth into o shape). u: u-u-u (make a sound in the throat). The Long vowel sounds are all stretchy sounds. ay: ay may I play ee: ee what do you see? igh: fly high ow: blow the know oo: poo at the zoo oo: look at a book ar: start the car or: shut the door air: that s not fair ir: whirl and twirl ou: shout it out oy: toy for a boy 2. Click on the Jolly Phonics link below to hear pure letter sounds. 3. Apps you might like to purchase Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds App 4.99 (see site above) Singalong Cursive Handwriting App 1.36 Amazon 6

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