Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. Itis an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words.

We use a combination of two main reading schemes: Oxford Reading Tree and Big Cat Phonics. The reading schemes are matched to a child’s phonic level and are supplemented with a range of books from different publishers chosen for their appeal to both boys and girls. The reading schemes give a variety of fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range. Children learn to read at different rates. Once they finish the reading scheme, we encourage them to become ‘free readers’ and choose their own books from the school library.

Our twice-daily phonics sessions in Reception and KS1 are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.

We use a synthetic phonics programme called Letters and Sounds alongside the actions of Jolly Phonics.

This website has some useful video clips to explain what Phonics is and also shows how to pronounce the 44 phonemes which we have in the English language.

Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. There are no big leaps in learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ –words with spellings that are unusual. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ –you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it's better to just ‘recognise’ them.

Phase one will have begun in your child’s nursery setting. This phase paves the way for the systematic learning of phonics. We teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know –their vocabulary –and helps them talk confidently about books. The children learn to identify rhyme and alliteration.

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