What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of decoding written letters (graphemes) and spoken sounds (phonemes) to read. At Histon and Impington Brook Primary School we follow a programme called ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ – a government approved systematic synthetic phonics programme for the teaching of phonics.
We believe that it is vital that children are taught to read as soon as possible once they have started in Reception and we begin our direct teaching of phonics in the second full week of children attending school in September. This ensures that children learn phoneme-grapheme-correspondences quickly which in turn supports them in becoming fluent readers. We continue to support children to develop the skills needed for blending (combining sounds to read words) and segmenting (separating words into separate sounds for writing) alongside the teaching of phoneme-grapheme-correspondences.
How can I support my child with phonics?
Once your child has started their phonics lessons at school, it is important for children to consolidate this learning so that it becomes part of their long-term memory. We help children to consolidate their learning at school and the additional support parents/carers can provide at home is invaluable in ensuring children become confident readers. When a new sound is taught in phonics, your child’s class teacher will share a short video with you via Tapestry for you to watch alongside your child at home. This video will support you with the correct pronunciation of the phoneme as well as the correct formation of the grapheme. These videos will enable you to feel confident about supporting your child with their reading at home and will give ideas for follow up learning activities to complete at home.
Using the correct pronunciation when saying phonemes is vital for supporting children in their reading journey. Please follow this link https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/resources/for-parents/ and watch the videos demonstrating how to pronounce sounds. Notice how the children don’t add an ‘uh’ sound at the end, so they say: ‘t’ not ‘tuh’. Correct pronunciation of sounds supports children in being able to blend sounds into words to it is important that adults model this accurately.
Here is a list of some of the language we use when teaching children to read. The children are taught the meaning of these words and become confident to use these terms as part of their vocabulary.
The smallest unit of sound within a word e.g. ‘sheep’ is made up of 3 phonemes. “sh-ee-p” (around 44 in the English language depending of regional accent)
A grapheme is the written representation of a phoneme e.g. the phoneme ‘c’ can be represented by the graphemes ‘c’, ‘k’, ‘ck’, ‘q’ and ‘ch’ as in the words 'cat', 'duck', 'kid', 'Iraq' and 'chord’
A digraph is two letters which are used to represent one phoneme e.g. ‘sh’ ‘ai’ ‘er’
A trigraph is three letters which are used to represent one phoneme e.g. ‘air’ ‘ear’ ‘igh’
Blending is when you put individual phonemes together to read a word
Segmenting is when you break up a word into it’s individual phonemes.
A word which cannot be ‘sounded out’ and read phonetically e.g. ‘the’ and ‘we’.
Consonant – vowel – consonant e.g. ‘cat’, ‘rain’, ‘mop’ – 3 phonemes
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home. There are two types of reading book that your child may bring home:
A reading practice book. This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
A sharing book. Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together. In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.
Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!
We will provide support to parents and carers throughout the year to help you support your child’s phonic and reading development through regular Tapestry videos and more formal information evenings.
Please see the documents below for additional support in the pronunciation of phonemes taught in Autumn 1 and Autumn 2 of Reception.
Please also find an overview of when specific sounds are taught in Reception and Year 1.