What is Phonics?
Phonics is a method of teaching reading and writing in which words are broken up into their smallest units of sound or ‘phonemes’. Children learn to associate a written letter or group of letters, known as ‘graphemes’, with each phoneme. Sounds are then built up or ‘blended’ together into words for reading or, conversely, whole words are broken down or ‘segmented’ into their constituent sounds for writing.
At Ash Green Community Primary School, we have recently bought into ‘Twinkl Phonics’ which is a DfE validated full systematic, synthetic phonics programme that contains everything we need to deliver phonics teaching to children from the very beginning of learning to read and write to full fluency. It delivers GPCs (grapheme phoneme correspondences) in a clear and rigorous way so that skills are built progressively over time, ensuring that children have a secure base from which to develop. On top of that, all learning is embedded in the exciting adventures of Kit and Sam and their family and friends so you can be sure that children will be excited by, and looking forward to, their daily phonics lessons!
Twinkl Phonics is a scheme based on Letters and Sounds. It follows the same sounds order throughout Nursery and Reception and through to Year 1. Teaching of Phase 5 and 6 GPCs and suffixes have been spread out in ‘Twinkl Phonics’ to give more even coverage throughout Year 1 and 2. This is to ensure that children have ample time to secure new learning before moving on to the next sound. All the sounds covered in Phase 5 and 6 of Letters and Sounds are taught during Levels 5 and 6 in ‘Twinkl Phonics’ so you can be assured that your children will reach the same endpoint by the end of Year 2.
A full break down of what is taught at each level can be found in the document opposite titled Whole Scheme Overview.
Adjacent consonants - Two or three consonants next to each other that represent different sounds. For example, bl in black. Notice here that bl makes the two different sounds b and l, whereas ck makes the single sound ck.
Blending - Blending involves merging the sounds in a word together in order to pronounce it. This is important for reading. For example, j-a-m blended together reads the word jam.
Consonant - The letters of the alphabet (apart from the vowels a, e, i, o and u).
Consonant digraph - A digraph that is made up of two consonants (sh in shop).
CVC words - An abbreviation for consonant-vowel-consonant. This is a simple way of indicating the order of the graphemes in words. For example, it (VC), cat (CVC), bench (CVCC).
Digraph - A grapheme made up of two letters that makes one sound (sh in fish).
Grapheme - A grapheme is simply a way of writing down a phoneme. A grapheme can be one letter (s), two letters (ir), three letters (igh) or four letters in length (ough).
Grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) - Knowing your GPCs means being able to hear a phoneme and knowing what grapheme to use to represent it. This is helpful for spelling. Conversely, it also means seeing a grapheme and knowing the phoneme that relates to it, which is important for reading.
Phoneme - The smallest unit of sound in a word. There are around 44 phonemes in English and they are represented by graphemes in writing. Phonemes are usually shown as symbols between two forward slashes. For example, /b/ or /ch/.
Segmenting - Segmenting involves breaking up a word that you hear into its sounds. This helps with spelling because if you know what graphemes represent the sounds in the word, you can write it! For example, the word jam is segmented into the sounds j-a-m.
Split digraph - A digraph that is split between a consonant (a-e in make). A split digraph usually changes the sound of the first vowel. For example, compare the pronunciation between hug and huge.
Tricky words - Words that are commonly used in English, but they have complex spelling patterns which make them difficult to read and write. For example, said, of and was. These words cannot be sounded out and must be learnt.
Trigraph - A grapheme made up of three letters that makes one sound (igh in high).
Vowel - The letters a, e, i, o and u.
Vowel digraph - A digraph that is made up of two vowels (ea in sea).
Whole Scheme Overview
Actions and pictures for each sound taught
Letter Formation Rhymes