What is phonics and why do we teach it?
Phonics is making connections between the sounds of our spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down. At Meadow View, we follow the programme Little Wandle. We believe every child has the ability to read and we support every child to do so. Our phonics programme aids our love of reading.
Phonics at Meadow View
At Meadow View we use a carefully structured approach to teaching phonics based upon the program Letters and Sounds. All children in Foundation and Year 1 and those children who have not yet completed the phonics programme access a daily phonics lesson taught by one of our reading experts.
Our phonics lessons consist of:
· Revisit and review- sight words
· Revisit and review- graphemes
· Teach- A new sight word or a new grapheme
· Practise blending- in words and in a sentence
· Practise segmenting- in words and in a sentence
· Practise reading using carefully matched decodable books.
Here are some of the vocabulary that we use to support phonics teaching and that your children will be familiar with.
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a word. For example, in the word cat, there are 3 phonemes: c-a-t
A phoneme can be a single letter or a group of letters. For example, in the word shop there are 3 phonemes: sh-o-p
A grapheme is how a phoneme is represented and written down. A grapheme can be 1 letter or a group of letters.
A digraph is 2 letters that make one sound. For example, the letters ‘s’ and ‘h’ make the sound ‘sh’.
A trigaph is 3 letters that make one sound. For example, the letters ‘i’, ‘g’, ‘h’ make the sound ‘igh’.
Phonics vocabulary in action
Blending is the skill of saying the sounds in a word and blending them back together to read the word. At Meadow view we use the following structure: Say the phonemes, blend the phonemes, read the word.
The clip below from Oxford Owl reading explains the skill of blending.
When blending it is really important that children say the phonemes correctly. This makes the process of blending much easier for children. Below is a clip to support the correct pronunciation of the sounds we have in English.
Correct Pronunciation of sounds in English
Segmenting is the skill of breaking down a word into its component phonemes. It is the opposite of blending. At Meadow View we use the following structure: Say the word, listen for the phonemes, write the graphemes to match.
In addition to daily phonics lessons children at Meadow View will also have 3 Guided reading sessions each week. Each session has a different focus, decoding, prosody and comprehension.
In this session children will practice the skills of blending that they have been taught in their phonics lessons. The books that children will be using in these sessions will only contain graphemes that they can confidently blend and segment with.
In this session children will be taught how to read with fluency and expression. They will think about how they are saying certain words and how to create interest and excitement when reading.
In this session children will be taught how to gather information and interpret texts. They will be taught how to understand what is happening in the text and discuss unfamiliar vocabulary.