Alongside these strategies phonics is a successful and fun way to teach reading and it also benefits writing and spelling across the curriculum.

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1 At St Marys CEVA primary school we believe reading is an essential life skill. It is also the vehicle through which children access many other areas of the curriculum. For these reasons, we place strong emphasis on helping children become competent, fluent readers early in their school life. Phonics is the one of the tools used to teach reading however as the English language is so complex, children need many strategies in addition to Phonics in order to read such as: Children are encouraged to use the pictures in early reading books; this is how the children learn to make sense of what they are reading. Children should be prompted to discuss what is happening in the pictures before attempting to read the print. As your child progresses and recognises letter sounds they should be encouraged to look at the sounds and the pictures before making a prediction. Repetitive and rhyming language help children to make predictions; it is appropriate for children to guess a word based on repetition and rhyme language patterns. Children should be encouraged to point to the print themselves from left to right. Children also need to learn a bank of high frequency words many of which they cannot sound out using their Phonic strategies. Words such as the and said fall into this category and children need to learn these as whole words. Alongside these strategies phonics is a successful and fun way to teach reading and it also benefits writing and spelling across the curriculum.

2 Phonics is a systematic way to learn to read, which begins by teaching the letter sounds and then builds up to blending the sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words. The sounds are taught in isolation then blended together in order to decode or read a word. As children work through the phonic phases they will learn digraphs (ee oa ai) and trigraphs (igh air ear) and they should begin to recognise these sounds in words to help them decode any unfamiliar word. Every child in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One receives focused phonic teaching every day. This is also provided for children in Key Stage 2 who require additional support with phonics. Lessons have high expectations and are fast paced. Children are expected to use skills they have acquired through phonics teaching in all reading, writing and spelling activities. YEAR 1 PHONICS SCREEN: Children are assessed in Year 1 using the government phonics screen test. Children are asked to read 40 words which are a mixture of real and pseudo words (nonsense words). This screen assesses the pure skill of phonics decoding and blending and will indicate to teachers at the end of Year 1 which children still need extra input on these skills during Year 2 and maybe beyond. Parents will be informed of their child s score out of 40 and if their children are working at (Wa) or working towards (Wt) expected level.

3 It is very important that parents understand how their child is being taught to read so that they can practise these skills when reading with children at home. To ensure that parents understand how reading is taught at St Marys CEVA primary school and the importance the school places on teaching phonic skills, we welcome parents to come in and see the phonics resources we use. We are also willing to invite parents into school to observe and participate in phonic teaching sessions. To help your children access and practise their skills at home please look on the following websites which offer a range of phonics games to play for free with your child: A mix of very good interactive games and worksheets covering most phonic phases. Recommend Sandcastle quiz for phase 3 and 5. A very good selection of interactive games focussing on phonics and sentence construction. Each is split into medium/hard/really hard and are short and fun. A great selection of games that link well with games in Letters and Sounds. A selection of interactive games for all phonic phases. Mostly simple games.

4 These are the progressive phases through which your children will learn phonics and overview of sounds are listed in the attached document. Phonics Overview.pdf oo in book and look = short vowel sound. oo in moon and boot = long vowel sound.

5 Phase 4 consonant blends at the beginning or end of words. a-e e-e i-e o-e u-e = split digraphs. (The magic and silent e makes the vowel say its name not its sound)

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