Collis follows the Letters and Sounds progression and teaching approaches, integrating aspects of Read, Write Inc. and Jolly Phonics pedagogy. Phonics teaches the knowledge of the alphabetic code and the skills of segmenting (to spell) and blending (to read). Children apply their phonics to reading and writing.
‘Letters and Sounds’ can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190599/Letters_and_Sounds_-_DFES-00281-2007.pdf
Some words are phonetically decodable – they can be ‘sounded out’ to be read or spelt using our phonics knowledge. Some words might not yet be phonetically decodable for children because they have not yet learnt that letter-sound correspondence or because that letter-sound correspondence is particularly unusual. These are called ‘tricky words’ or ‘sight words’. Some of these words, e.g. called will become phonetically decodable as children move through their phonics education, but some words might always be remembered by sight, using our visual memory (or through a range of other strategies), e.g. the, people, Mr. Both phonetically decodable and ‘sight words’ are taught in your child’s phonics session and applied in writing and reading.
Phonics is taught daily in Reception from the beginning of Autumn 1 and is taught both discretely in phonics lessons and through continuous provision – phonics and reading is embedded into every aspect of our teaching and learning. Reception begin the year following Phase 1 concurrently with Phase 2. Phase 1, which has begun in Nursery, focuses on sound discrimination, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds, oral blending and segmenting. Phase 2 teaches the first grapheme (spelling) for consonant sounds and short vowel sounds e.g. s, a, t. Reception then also cover Phase 3 (digraphs and first spelling of long vowel sounds e.g. ch, ai) and Phase 4 (blending adjacent consonants, polysyllabic words and revision e.g. stamp, playground).
Phonics is taught four times a week in Year 1, revising Phase 4 and following Phase 5, which teaches alternative spellings of long vowel sounds, e.g. ay, ai, a-e. The first spellings of vowel sounds is taught in Reception and this is systematically built upon and developed in Years 1 and 2 through phonics investigations.
Phonics and spelling is taught three times a week in Year 2, following Phase 5 and Phase 6 (focusing on spelling rules). Children follow both phonics-based and spelling-based units, integrating an investigative approach to spelling rules and practising and applying their phonics to reading and writing.
Some children will also benefit from ‘reinforcement’ or ‘catch up’ phonics sessions which are short interventions, additional to the main class teaching, aimed at enabling children to maintain good progress. A limited number of children might be following an ‘instead-of’ phonics curriculum, decided between the parents, SENDCO and English Lead, matched to their particular challenges.
Tips to support you in pronouncing pure sounds:
- Speak quietly and calmly – trying to say sounds loudly can cause us to mispronounce the
- Draw attention to your mouth movements, vibrations and position of tongue.
- If in doubt about the pure sound – test it in the context of a word, e.g. w – water, when and y – yes, yacht
- Consider if sounds are ‘bouncy’ (short) or ‘stretchy’ (long):
Bouncy sounds: a k I p t h b d g o j c e ck w qu y
Stretch sounds: f l m n r s v z
- Watch this video to support you: https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/reading/learn-to-read-phonics/
- Do you read your own texts in front of, and at the same time as your children?
- Do you read with your children every day, or at least three times a week? When reading with your children, try to help them to recognise ‘sight words’ (words that they might not yet be able to phonetically decode, e.g. the, people). Your child might need help segmenting (sounding out) the word, e.g. m-e-ss, or blending the word (drawing the sounds together to read). Your child might need help spotting digraphs - it can initially be challenging for children to spot two (or three) letters making one sound, e.g. c + h = /ch/, or s + h = /sh/.
- Ensure that you also consider comprehension and reading for meaning. If your child has sounded out words within a sentence it is important that they then re-read the sentence to read for meaning. They might need help to retain or remember what they have just sounded out.
- Discuss texts with your children – why might an event have happened, or what do they think of a character? Discuss both the characters, events and information in the text – checking children can retrieve key information, but also that they can infer ideas from the text – and also children’s personal response to the text. Are children enjoying what they are reading? Have they read texts with similar narratives, characters or information or texts by the same author?
- Develop opportunities to read anything and everything – road signs, letters, emails, text messages, menus, logos… For example, could you do a sound hunt or a word hunt on a car journey? Your child might be able to spot letters/ sounds they recognise, they might be able to segment (sound out) individual words and then blend them, they might be able to recognise sight words (tricky words) within a larger text.
- Play games with sounds, rhymes and alliteration:
- Go on a sound hunt or be sound detectives in the park, or on the street. How many different sounds can you hear? Are some quiet and some louder? Can you describe the sounds or make the sounds yourself?
- Play ‘I spy’ with the initial sounds in words, as opposed to the first letter. E.g. I spy something beginning with /sh/.
- Play rhyming games like ‘Apples and Pears’ – replace a word in a sentence with a rhyming word and children have to work out the real word, e.g. Put on your box – Put on your… socks. Try exploring how many rhyming words you can say in a row, e.g. cat, hat, sat, mat, bat, fat… Play rhyming pairs – if you say a word, can you child say a rhyming word?
- Play alliterative games, e.g. can you make up silly sentences using words that start with the same letter or the same sound? Can you go through the alphabet naming as many animals/ children’s names/ objects as possible beginning with that letter?
- Play robots – children or adults speak like robots (segmenting words into their sounds) and others have to blend the sounds to be able to understand ‘robot speak’. E.g. Pick up the b-oo-k. Let’s p-l-ay together. Shall we c-oo-k t-ea?