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Phonics in Early Years and Key Stage 1

At Moorfield we use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme to teach children phonics.  This is a systematic approach which teaches the children to become fluent readers and writers.  Phonics is taught every day in a discrete session for 20 minutes. The programme is split into 6 phases and typically the children complete phase 6 before they leave Year 2 and enter KS2.  Phonics teaching is fast paced, fun and very interactive!

Phase 1 teaches the children to listen carefully to noises in the environment and crucially develops their ability to blend (put sounds together to read a word), and segment (separate sounds in a word to spell it). A lot of children have had experience of this in their nursery setting, but we continue to practice this skill on a regular basis.  We start teaching phase 2 to our children within the first weeks of school. This is when they are taught sounds made by one letter.  They then move onto Phase 3, which introduces sounds made of more than one letter e.g ‘ch’.  In Phase 4 the children become more confident at reading and spelling words that have adjacent consonants such as the word ‘crisp’.  Once the children are secure on all the sounds needed they then start to learn how the same sound can be represented in a different way.  This is Phase 5 and typically this is taught throughout Year 1.  Phase 6 is when the children are taught to become more accurate spellers and are introduced to spelling rules and patterns.

At Moorfield we group the children for their phonics teaching based on their next steps in learning.  This allows us to direct teaching and support more accurately. These groupings are fluid and regularly discussed amongst staff and if necessary, changed.

All Year 1 children are required to take a ‘Year 1 Phonics Check.’  This was introduced four years ago and is designed to assess if the children can blend and segment sounds within a word. It is not a reading test and therefore contains ‘non words’ or ‘alien words’.   To ensure that our children are familiar with reading non-words we regularly include these in our teaching.

To allow you to support your child at home with their phonic work we hold parent workshops for you to attend. This allows us to explain our phonics teaching in more detail.