At Wargrave we plan our phonic sessions and activities using 'Letters and Sounds'. With the help of 'Letters and Sounds' and many other resources we aim to build children's speaking and listening skills and prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills.
There are six overlapping phases.
Phase One of Letters and Sounds concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2.
The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.
Aspect 1 - General sound discrimination - environmental
The aim of this aspect is to raise children's awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills. Activities suggested in the guidance include going on a listening walk, drumming on different items outside and comparing the sounds, playing a sounds lotto game and making shakers.
Aspect 2 - General sound discrimination - instrumental
This aspect aims to develop children's awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers. Activities include comparing and matching sound makers, playing instruments alongside a story and making loud and quiet sounds.
Aspect 3 - General sound discrimination - body
The aim of this aspect is to develop children's awareness of sounds and rhythms. Activities include singing songs and action rhymes, listening to music and developing a sounds vocabulary.
Aspect 4 - Rhythm and rhyme
This aspect aims to develop children's appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech. Activities include rhyming stories, rhyming bingo, clapping out the syllables in words and odd one out.
Aspect 5 - Alliteration
The focus is on initial sounds of words, with activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.
Aspect 6 - Voice sounds
The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting. Activities include Metal Mike, where children feed pictures of objects into a toy robot's mouth and the teacher sounds out the name of the object in a robot voice - /c/-/u/-/p/ cup, with the children joining in.
Aspect 7 - Oral blending and segmenting
In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills:
Oral blending - /c/-/u/-/p/ and see whether the children can pick out a cup from a group of objects.
Segmenting - hold up an object such as a sock and ask the child which sounds they can hear in the word sock.
In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time. A set of letters is taught each week, 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 magnetic letters.
Set 1 Letters and Words
In Set 1, the first four letters are introduced and seven words can be used for segmenting and blending (high frequency words are shown in italics):
s, a, t, p
|at, a, sat, pat, tap, sap, as|
Set 2 Letters and Words
Set 2 includes four new letters. As each new letter is learnt, children will be able to sound out several new words, as follows:
|i||it, is, sit, sat, pit, tip, pip, sip|
|n||an, in, nip, pan, pin, tin, tan, nap|
am, man, mam, mat, map, Pam, Tim, Sam
dad, and, sad, dim, dip, din, did, Sid
Set 3 Letters and Words
Set 3 introduces four new letters, with 28 new decodable words suggested, including four high frequency words, shown in italics below:
|g||tag, gag, gig, gap, nag, sag, gas, pig, dig|
|o||got, on, not, pot, top, dog, pop, God, Mog|
can, cot, cop, cap, cat, cod
kid, kit, Kim, Ken
Set 4 Letters and Words
Set 4 introduces four new graphemes, with 36 new decodable words suggested. For the first time, some of the suggested words contain two syllables, such as pocket, sunset etc., which some young children might find too difficult at this stage.
At this point, two "tricky words" (not fully decodable at this stage) are taught: the and to.
|ck||kick, sock, sack, dock, pick, sick, pack, ticket, pocket|
|e||get, pet, ten, net, pen, peg, met, men, neck|
up, mum, run, mug, cup, sun, tuck, mud, sunset
rim, rip, ram, rat, rag, rug, rot, rocket, carrot
Set 5 Letters and Words
Set 5 introduces seven graphemes (three of which are doubled letters), with 69 new decodable words suggested.
New "tricky" words: no, go and I.
|had, him, his, hot, hut, hop, hum, hit, hat, has, hack, hug|
|but, big, back, bet, bad, bag, bed, bud, beg, bug, bun, bus, Ben, bat, bit, bucket, beckon, rabbit|
of, if, off, fit, fin, fun, fig, fog, puff, huff, cuff, fan, fat
lap, let, leg, lot, lit, bell, fill, doll, tell, sell, Bill, Nell, dull, laptop
ass, less, hiss, mass, mess, boss, fuss, hiss, pass, kiss, Tess, fusspot
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.
Twenty-five new graphemes are introduced (one at a time).
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
During Phase 3, children will also learn the letter names using an alphabet song, although they will continue to use the sounds when decoding words.
During Phase 3, the following tricky words (which can't yet be decoded) are introduced:
When children start Phase Four of the Letters and Sounds phonics programme, they will know a grapheme for each of the 42 phonemes. 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 graphemes 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.
During Phase 4, the following tricky words (which can't yet be decoded) are introduced:
Children entering Phase Five will already be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and flask. They will also be able to read and spell some polysyllabic words.
In Phase Five, children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make.
Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ea in tea, head and break.
With practice, speed at recognising and blending graphemes will improve. Word and spelling knowledge will be worked on extensively.
During Phase 5, the following tricky words (which can't yet be decoded) are introduced:
At the start of Phase Six of Letters and Sounds, children will have already learnt the most frequently occurring grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the English language.
They will be able to read many familiar words automatically. When they come across unfamiliar words they will in many cases be able to decode them quickly and quietly using their well-developed sounding and blending skills. With more complex unfamiliar words they will often be able to decode them by sounding them out.