The Teaching of Phonics at Brandlehow

At Brandlehow we provide a strong and successful phonic teaching programme where children develop a sound phonic knowledge for successful reading and writing. The Primary Strategy’s Letters and Sounds breaks the teaching of phonics in Early Years and KS1 into 6 phases. At Brandlehow we follow these six phases and support our teaching with the Jolly Phonics, Jolly Grammar and Floppy Phonics programme as well as the teaching guidance from Letters and Sounds. The Jolly Phonics programme teaches each phoneme lively and interactive visual, auditory and kinaesthetic methods.  This means that children commit these sounds to memory quickly and effectively.

The following outlines a description of these phases and how we implement them at Brandlehow.

Phase 1

All aspect of this phase are introduced in our nursery through activities, both adult and child led, and are available to the children throughout the day. This phase supports the development of speaking and listening and is crucially important for paving the way for high quality phonic work. Activities taught are rich in rhyme, rhythm, alliteration and general sound discrimination. They will be beginning to hear sounds through games and carpet sessions.

Phase 2

This phase marks the start of systematic phonic work and is started during the first half of the autumn term in Reception at Brandlehow.  The speed at which the phonemes are taught will depend upon the children’s readiness and abilities.

In Reception children are taught 42 sounds.  At Brandlehow we teach these sounds through the Jolly Phonics program.  The order that these sounds are taught in has been particularly devised to enable children to swiftly blend and segment.  The Jolly Phonics order is almost identical to the order advised in Letters and Sounds.  The first eighteen sounds deal with single letter phonemes.

The order that we teach these phonemes is as follows:

          s        a        t        i         p        n

          c/k     e        h        r        m       d

          g        o        u        l         f        b

The first six letters are taught so that children can immediately read and write simple words. 

Phase 3

In phase three children move onto phonemes that are represented by more than one letter.  At this stage just one spelling is given for each. These are taught in the same way as the previous phonemes, and children continue to develop skills in blending and segmenting in reading and writing.  Again, the exact pace in which new phonemes are introduced will vary according to the needs of the children.

The order that we teach these phonemes is as follows:

          ai       j        oa      ie       ee      or

          z        w       ng      v        oo      oo

          y        x        ch      sh      th      th

          qu      ou      oi       ue      er      ar

Once these have all been introduced and throughout the rest of the Reception year, these 42 phonemes and their grapheme representations are constantly revised.

During the end of this phase the children are given a book weekly to take home, which is differentiated according to their ability.   

Phase 4

In this phase children use their phonic knowledge to read and spell words that are more complex than simple CVC words. Children enter this phase at different times. At Brandlehow we differentiate all our teaching and learning so that each individual children properly supported and extended. No new grapheme/phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase.

Phase 5

Phase 5 is taught throughout Year 1 and the start of Year 2.  In this phase children learn alternative grapheme representations for phonemes they have already learnt (e.g. ‘a_e’ or ‘ay’ instead of ‘ai’). They also learn new phonemes.     

Phase 6

Phase 6 is taught throughout Year 2.  In this phase reading for the great majority of children should become automatic. Spelling usually lags behind reading at this stage and this is a good time to focus more sharply on word specific spellings.  

Summary

Brandlehow is providing consistent and progressive teaching in phonic awareness covering Early Years and all of Key Stage 1.  Each new phase uses and builds on previous knowledge and follows routines that are familiar to the children.  All teaching makes use of multisensory learning styles and support is provided for children who find phonics difficult.