For phonics we follow the Letters and Sounds scheme. It aims to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It is a systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
Phonics is taught in phases. In Foundation Stage we focus on Phases 2-4 over the course of the year.
In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time in the following sequence:
Set 1: s, a, t, p
Set 2: i, n, m, d
Set 3: g, o, c, k
Set 4: ck, e, u, r
Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss
As soon as each set of letters is introduced, children will be encouraged to use their knowledge of the letter sounds to blend and sound out words. For example, they will learn to blend the sounds s-a-t to make the word sat. They will also start learning to segment words. For example, they might be asked to find the letter sounds that make the word tap from a small selection of letters.
By the time they reach Phase 3, children will already be able to blend and segment words containing the 19 letters taught in Phase 2.
Over the twelve weeks which Phase 3 is expected to last, twenty-five new sounds are introduced.
Set 6: j, v, w, x
Set 7: y, z, zz, qu
Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng
Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er
When children start Phase Four they will be able to blend phonemes to read CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and segment in order to spell them.
Children will also have begun reading straightforward two-syllable words and simple captions, as well as reading and spelling some tricky words.
In Phase 4, no new sounds are introduced. The main aim of this phase is to consolidate the children's knowledge and to help them learn to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and milk.
Your child will also be taught Tricky Words and High frequency Words, lists of which can be found below.
Tricky words are words which cannot be sounded out. The only way these words can be read and spelt correctly is by learning them.
High frequency words (sometimes called sight words) are words that children instantly recognize without having to decode them (sound them out).