Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Children are taught to read and write using phonics in Reception and Key Stage 1 through daily structured lessons of 20-30 minutes. For many years, we have followed the Letters and Sounds programme to teach phonics. This and many other programmes are undergoing changes as it is recognized that teaching early reading is most effective when children are taught through a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) approach. In the coming year, we will be transitioning to a programme called Sounds~Write; a validated SSP recommended by our academy trust. Children in Reception will begin to learn phonics through the Sounds~Write approach and those in Year 1 and 2 will continue to learn following the Letters and Sounds programme.
In Year 1, the children take a test called the Phonics Screening Check. Children take it during June in a one-to-one setting with a teacher. This is usually their class teacher, but it could also be another teacher who knows the child
well. Whilst children learn phonics to help them with both word reading and spelling, the Phonics Screening Check only tests their skills at word reading. This is sometimes called decoding. During the Phonics Screening Check, children are asked to read (decode) 40 words. Most of these words are real words but some are pseudo-words. Pseudo-words are included to ensure that children are using their decoding skills and not just relying on their memory of words they’ve read before.