At Hackness and Wykeham Church of England Schools’ Federation, we believe that the ability to read underpins all learning and allows children to access new experiences, perspectives and opportunities. Reading is a skill for life and high quality phonics teaching secures word recognition and decoding skills so that children can become fluent, independent readers.
What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write. It helps children identify and use the different letter-sounds that form words. Synthetic phonics teaches children how to decode words by enunciating sounds in isolation and blending them together. For example, when reading a single syllable word such as dog, the children pronounce each individual sound d/o/g and blend those sounds back together to form and understand the word. Sounds can be made from one letter or a cluster of letters: for example, the k sound can be represented by c, k, ck or ch.
How is phonics delivered in the Federation?
Daily discrete Letters and Sounds phonics sessions start in the first week of Reception and continue until the end of Year 2, by which point the majority of children should be confident readers and writers having completed the final phase of Letters and Sounds (Phase 6). In June, children in Year 1 participate in the phonics screening check to ensure they have met the required standard for reading.
All letter-sounds are taught in the order outlined in Letters and Sounds. Each phase of Letters and Sounds contains high-frequency words which cannot be decoded using phonic strategies. These words are taught as a whole word and children should have regular opportunities to practise sight recognition of these words.
Children read with an adult in school regularly through one-to-one reading to apply their phonics and group guided reading to develop comprehension skills.
For more information about how children learn phonics in our schools, please see our Phonics policy.
How can I support my child with phonics at home?
There is a useful video available here that shows you how each letter-sound is correctly enunciated.
As your child works their way through the phases of Letters and Sounds, they will be provided with flashcards and activities to enhance what they have learned in school. They also receive reading books matched to their phonic knowledge. Regular reading practice is key to rapid progress in phonics so children are expected to read aloud to an adult or older sibling at home every day.
Your child also has a log in for ActiveLearn Bug Club online reading books to supplement the reading books sent home. Please speak to your child’s class teacher or contact them via ClassDojo if you don’t know the log in details.
There are a range of websites that you can access at home to develop your child’s phonic knowledge further. Some require a subscription to access the full range of activities, but all include free resources that can be accessed without payment. If you are unsure about which activities are appropriate for your child, please speak to your child’s class teacher or contact them via ClassDojo.