Mildmay Infant & Nursery School

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1 Mildmay Infant & Nursery School

2 As valued individuals we all belong to a respectful, caring, unique community where together we grow through fun, active learning. In school all children have regular phonics sessions which are based on the Letters and Sounds curriculum. You may also hear this referred to as synthetic phonics. This has been proven to improve early Literacy skills. Phonics has an important profile in school. However readers also need to develop word recognition, language comprehension and a love of books and reading which we value equally at Mildmay. A quick guide to understanding Phonics in school. The phonics curriculum has a 6 Phase structure but the boundaries between phases are not fixed and the pace can be adapted to the needs of the children. Information below gives brief details about each phase. Phase 1 supports the development of speaking and listening skills, beginning to recognise initial phonemes. Phase 2 introduction of writing the letters which match the phoneme, oral segmenting of phonemes sounding out and oral blending of phonemes putting the sounds back together again Phase 3- completion of the teaching of the alphabet, blending (putting sounds back together again) and segmenting (breaking sounds up) of CVC words, reading 2 syllable words.

3 Phase 4 reading and spelling of longer words with more syllables. Phase 5 broadening knowledge of letters and sounds, learning new pronunciation for letters. Phase 6 investigating and exploring spellings, spelling suffixes, prefixes and different tenses. Each phonics session lasts approximately minutes. It provides opportunities for the children to revisit what has already been learnt, learn and practice new phonic skills and apply what has been learnt in reading and/or writing. Phonics sessions can involve the children in games, songs and short fun activities designed to engage the children through a multi-sensory approach. In Reception and Nursery classes the teachers use Jolly Phonics materials to support the delivery of the phonics curriculum. In Years 1 and 2 teachers use a variety of materials to support phonics teaching. Children are assessed half termly to ensure they are making the expected progress and this is monitored in school. We sometimes use spelling quizzes to check understanding, we believe, and it has been proven that investigating spellings is more meaningful. If children have speech and language difficulties or are Hearing Impaired it can be more of a challenge to acquire phonics skills. In these situations Teachers of the Deaf, our Inclusion Manager, Literacy Leader and Specialist Teachers will advise and support teachers about the teaching of phonics in school.

4 A guide to phonics terminology These are terms that you may see in the home school book, read in school reports or documents, hear at parent workshops or you may hear your children using them. The guide below will help you understand this terminology. Phoneme the smallest unit of sound. Grapheme a letter or sequence of letters that represent a phoneme. Digraph 2 letters representing 1 phoneme e.g. ee ai ow ar Trigraph 3 letters representing 1 phoneme e.g. air ear Split digraph 2 letters representing one phoneme but it is split within a word e.g. a-e in cake or o-e in hole Syllable a beat in a word. Monosyllabic word with 1 syllable

5 Polysyllabic word with 2 or more syllables. Segment ability to hear individual phonemes Blend- ability to merge the individual phonemes to pronounce the word. CVC word consonant vowel consonant word e.g. cat or sheep. CCVC word consonant consonant vowel consonant e.g. clip or drop. CVCC word consonant vowel consonant consonant e.g. milk or lift. Suffix - something that is added to a word at the end e.g. ed ing ly chatted lovely Prefix something that is added to the start of a word e.g. dis disobey or un unwell

6 A few tips for helping at home. o Help your child learn the alphabet and know alphabetical order. o Help them to recognise the difference between letter names and the phoneme (sound). o In the early stages at school help them to sing and recite songs and nursery rhymes so they have the opportunity to identify sound patterns and rhymes orally. o When spelling encourage them to think about the phonemes but when writing down attempted spellings help them to refer to letter names. o Encourage children to say the phonemes correctly especially tricky ones like f th wh. o Distinguish and separate phonemes e.g. s t not st, with the exception of qu th sh ch. o Help them to think about where the sound is made and the position of the lips, teeth or tongue. o Some children will make very sensible attempts at spellings and may use letters that can represent a phoneme but they might not use the correct one e.g. sean instead of seen. Always praise attempts and where appropriate select some to sensitively correct. o Some websites can be useful if you want to know more or to find activities or resources to practice phonics skills at home. These websites can have some useful activities o Teachers may give you some extra activities to do at home. It is a good to do these but to also revisit them to ensure the knowledge is embedded. o Ask your class teacher if you are not sure and want some advice.

7 Some further ideas for activities - keep them short, fun and try to vary them. o I- Spy o Making and playing pairs games o Making and playing bingo games o Hangman o Odd one out children identify a word which doesn t share the same phoneme/grapheme o Word searches o Sorting words o Countdown give them phonemes they know and see if can make words. o Hide and seek write words/phonemes on cards which relate to particular phoneme or words you want them to practice, hide words and children have to find them and read them. They could also play this game where they have to spell the words and them hide them for someone else to find. Thank you for taking the time to read this guide we hope you found it useful.

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