Phonics is a method of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children to hear, identify and use the different sounds (known as phonemes) in words. Every word we speak is made up of different sounds. Children learn to match the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters (known as graphemes). For example, the phoneme /k/ can be represented by the graphemes ‘c’, ‘k’, ‘ck’ or ‘ch’.
Blending is the key skill in the development of word reading. Children learn to say each individual phoneme that appears in a written word and then run the phonemes together to hear and say the word e.g. s-u-n sun.
Segmenting is the key skill in the development of word writing. Children learn to break down a word into the individual phonemes to correctly spell the word. They listen to, and identify, the phonemes in a word and then choose the correct grapheme or graphemes to represent them e.g. tin t-i-n.
Introducing young children to the joy and wonder of books requires a systematic teaching of phonics. At Ash Green, we follow the the Twinkl Phonics programme. This provides a coherently planned sequence of lessons that supports the effective teaching of phonics within EYFS, KS1 and, where appropriate, KS2. Our aim is not only to provide children with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding essential for reading and writing, but also, to develop each child’s confidence, resilience and engagement in phonics lessons and a love for reading and writing.
Throughout Level 1 of the programme, our youngest learners in Nursery develop the knowledge and skills to discriminate between and use auditory, environmental and instrumental sounds. In Reception, children work within Levels 2 - 4. They are introduced to phonemes/sounds and graphemes/letters systematically. They also learn to develop and apply blending and segmenting skills for reading and writing.
In KS1 (Y1 and Y2), children work within Levels 5 and 6. Phonics lessons within Level 5 provide opportunities for children to apply their phonics knowledge and skills as the prime approach to reading and spelling. It focuses on phonetically decodable two-syllable and three-syllable words and the alternative ways of pronouncing and representing the long vowel phonemes. Furthermore, children will develop their ability to attempt to read and spell increasingly complex words.
Throughout Level 6, children explore spelling patterns and grammar while also developing a breadth of knowledge and skills in the recognition and spelling of common exception words.
Our phonics curriculum is ambitious for all. At Ash Green, we support all children to reach their full potential and understand the importance of prior learning being secured before new learning is introduced. Children are grouped and taught with others who are working at the same level. These groupings are informed by regular assessments of children’s phonics each half term. If necessary, children will move to a group more appropriate to their needs, to provide support or challenge. Children are monitored closely and those not making the expected progress receive additional intervention.
For those children who are working below age-related expectations in KS2, Twinkl Codebreakers is a comprehensive intervention programme specifically designed for KS2 pupils. It is delivered to pupils identified through assessments to close the gap and develop essential reading and writing skills.
A full break down of what is taught at each level can be found in the document below.