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.
Phonics is a systematic method of teaching grapheme-phoneme correspondence, the relationship between spoken sounds and their written symbols.
Sequence of phonics
Floppy’s Phonics is broken down into 5 levels
This phase supports children’s developing speaking and listening skills and linking sounds and letters.
By the end of level 1+, the children should know the sound associated with these 23 letters
s a t p
i n m d
g o c k
ck e u r
h b f ff
l ll ss
Level 2 builds level 1+ and the children learn 12 more sounds
j v w
x y z
zz qu ch
sh th ng
ai ee igh
ar or ur
ow oi ear
By now children can read a whole variety of words using their blending skills and will be reading words and sentences with all the sounds they have been taught.
In Phase 4, children learn how to blend and segment lots of different words e.g. CVCC, CCVC and CVCCC i.e. crab, flag, frog.
In level 5, alternative spellings are taught for the sounds already taught. By the end of level 5 they should be able to read words such as crayon, mountain, thirsty and dolphin using their phonic knowledge.
Tricky or none decodable words
Not all words are easily decoded even with a good understanding of phonics such as was, said, no etc. These words will be taught alongside the phonics and often just need to be practised for reading and spelling. EYFS and KS1 use Action Words to teach these words.
To check children can use their phonics skills and haven’t just learnt words as sight words we use nonsense or alien words (these are also used in the phonics check). These are words made up of the sounds the children know at each relevant phase but not real words e.g. at phase 2 a child may be shown the word ket at phase 5 the word may be zote. To ensure these do not confuse children when used they are shown with a picture of an alien. Lots of games are played to ensure children know the difference between the real and nonsense words (see the resource list).
Year 1 phonics check
The year 1 phonics check or screening is carried out during June when your child is in Year 1. This check is conducted with your child and a familiar member of teaching staff. Your child will be asked to read a set of 40 words; 20 real and 20 nonsense words. Words are taken from phase 2 to phase 5. The children are well prepared for this and have lots of practise of reading a range of words in a range of contexts including practise checks. Most children will be able to pass the phonics check with ease. Each year the ‘pass’ mark is different but for the past few years it has been 34 out of 40. You will be informed of the result of the check when you receive your child’s school report.
For a few children that do not pass in Year 1 they will be required to resit the check again in Year 2. Support and intervention will be given to any children that don’t pass.
How to support your child
The best way to support your child is to take an interest in school. You can do this by talking to your child, following school on twitter (@Thornabyvillage) and attending any events at school. This will ensure you are up to date with things going on in school and where to get specific support.
Reading every night with your child is also essential for phonics and other areas of the curriculum. Talking about the pictures, predicting what will happen next, how characters might feel are general ways to help with your child’s reading. Looking for the sounds you know your child has been working on and encouraging them to segment and blend words will support your child’s phonics. Make a note of any sounds they find tricky in your child’s reading record.
Homework is another way to support your child and their learning. This will include phonic activities especially in EYFS and Year 1. Support is also available if you or your child doesn’t understand homework and you just, in the first instance, need to contact your child’s class teacher.