Phonics at Firs
At Firs, we are passionate about ensuring that all of our children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers – phonics teaching is an integral part of this and a high priority for us. A good grasp of phonics provides the foundations of learning so that fluent reading and writing becomes easier. Through phonics, children learn to orally blend and segment words to read words which, in turn, supports their ability to spell.
We use the Department of Education approved document ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach phonics. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from Reception up to Year 2. Children in Reception build on listening skills they have already developed and are introduced to Phase 2, which marks the start of systematic phonics work. They take part in discrete, daily phonics sessions where they revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes (a written symbol that represents a sound) and phonemes (units of sound), practise together and apply what they have learnt. Through ‘Letters and Sounds’, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. ‘Sound buttons’ are used to teach children how to blend single letters making one sound and a ‘sound bar’ is used for digraphs (two letters representing one sound) and trigraphs (three letters representing one sound). Children across Key Stage 1 continue to work through the different phases and, as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1.