Supporting your child - Phonics
Letters and Sounds
At St Thomas’ we understand the importance of teaching children to read fluently and for enjoyment, opening a world of learning opportunities. We teach phonics and early reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery and follow the progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move throughout school.
The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught in school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home. Find our full Reception and Year 1 teaching programme over view below to see what your child will learn and when.
What Are Phonics Phases?
Phases are the way the Letters and Sounds Programme is broken down to teach sounds in a certain order.
Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Learning 20 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
(Reception) - Digraphs and trigraphs and double letters are introduced during this phase
Phase Four is taught in Reception consolidating previous learning and Phase 5 and 6 in Year 1 and 2.
What are “Tricky words”?
Tricky words are words that cannot be ‘sounded-out’ but need to be learned by heart. They don’t fit into the usual spelling patterns. In order to read simple sentences, it is necessary for children to know some words that have unusual or untaught spellings. It should be noted that, when teaching these words, it is important to always start with sounds already known in the word, then focus on the 'tricky' part.
What are High Frequency words?
High frequency (common) are words that recur frequently in much of the written material young children read and that they need when they write.
What do the Phonics terms mean?
Phoneme: The smallest unit of sound in a word, e.g. c/a/t, d/o/g, p/i/g.
Grapheme: A letter or group of letter representing one sound, e.g. sh, igh, t.
Digraph: Two letters which together make one sound, e.g. sh, ch, ee, ai, oa, oo
Split digraph: Two letters, which work as a pair, split, to represent one sound, e.g. a-e as in cake, or i-e as in kite.
Trigraph: three letters which together make one sound but cannot be separated into smaller phonemes, e.g. igh as in light, ear as in heard, tch as in watch.
Segmentation: means hearing the individual phonemes within a word – for instance the word ‘crash’ consists of four phonemes: ‘c – r – a – sh’. In order to spell this word, a child must segment it into its component phonemes and choose a grapheme to represent each phoneme.
Blending: means merging the individual phonemes together to pronounce a word. In order to read an unfamiliar word, a child must recognise (‘sound out’) each grapheme, not each letter (e.g. ‘th-i-n’ not ‘t-h-i-n’), and then merge the phonemes together to make the word.
Mnemonics: a device for memorising and recalling something, such as a hand action of a drill to remember the phoneme /d/.
Adjacent consonants: two or three letters with discrete sounds, which are blended together e.g. str, cr, tr, gr. (previously consonant clusters).
Comprehension: understanding of language whether it is spoken or written.