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Phonics at St Augustine's

What is Phonics?

Phonics is the system of 'blending' sounds together to read, and 'segmenting' sounds to spell. They are both complimentary and interlinking skills that are taught together. You may hear your children use some vocabulary that you are not familiar with that they have learnt in their phonics lessons.

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A phoneme 
Is the smallest unit of sound that we use in the English language. A phoneme can be made up of one letter as in the alphabet sounds – s, a, t, p, i, n etc, or two letters (a digraph) as in sh, ch, th, ay, ar, or three letters (trigraphs) as in air, ear, ure. Phonemes can not be broken down into separate sounds.

A grapheme
Is the way we spell a phoneme. A phoneme may have only one grapheme for example ‘b’. Or may have several different spellings –for example or can be spelt ‘or’ in torn, ‘aw’ in claw, ‘au’ in naughty or ore in more. The children will initially be introduced to one common grapheme for each phoneme, but as they progress through the school they will taught the less common spelling alternatives and encouraged to try and choose the correct grapheme for a particular word they are trying to spell.

Consonant blends
Are made up of two or three phonemes blended together quite quickly as we learn to read. Examples are sc, sm, bl, pr, str

Short Vowel Sounds
Are the vowels saying their sound as ‘a’ in c a t.

Long Vowel Sounds
Are the vowels saying their name as ‘ay’ in day, ‘oa’ in boat or ‘igh’ in night.

How do we teach Phonics at St Augustine’s?

Phonics lessons are taught daily in every class from nursery to year 2 for approximately 20 minutes. Jolly Phonics is taught as a fun way to learn the letter sounds.

Foundation children learn how to blend and segment words using the sounds they are learning. In Year 1, the children consolidate their knowledge and begin to look and learn to blend and segment alternative phonemes and digraphs. In Year 2, the children begin to work through the Jolly Grammar handbook and learn how to apply this in their own writing.

What is Jolly Phonics?

Jolly Phonics is a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy. With actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, the multi-sensory method is very motivating for children and teachers, who can see their students achieve. The letter sounds are split into seven groups.

Letter Sound Order

The sounds are taught in a specific order (not alphabetically). This enables children to begin building words as early as possible.

How does Jolly Phonics work?

Using a synthetic phonics approach, Jolly Phonics teaches children the five key skills for reading and writing. Complemented by Jolly Readers and Jolly Grammar, it provides a thorough foundation for teaching reading and spelling during the pupils first four years of school.

The five skills taught in Jolly Phonics

1.Learning the letter sounds

Children are taught the 42 main letter sounds. This includes alphabet sounds as well as digraphs such as sh, th, ai and ue.

2.Learning letter formation

Using different multi-sensory methods, children learn how to form and write the letters.

3.Blending

Children are taught how to blend the sounds together to read and write new words.

4.Identifying the sounds in words (Segmenting)

Listening for the sounds in words gives children the best start for improving spelling.

5.Tricky words

Tricky words have irregular spellings and children learn these separately.

How can you help your child?

Parental support is important to all children as they benefit from plenty of

praise and encouragement whilst learning. You should be guided by the pace at

which your child wants to go. If interest is being lost, leave the teaching for a

while rather than using undue pressure. Not all children find it easy to learn and

blend sounds. It is important to remember that this is not because they are

unintelligent but because they have a poor memory for symbols and words. Extra practice will lead to fluency in reading and help your child manage at school.

The five basic skills for reading and writing are:

1. Learning the letter sounds

2. Learning letter formation

3. Blending

4. Identifying sounds in words

5. Spelling the tricky words
 

Please practise the actions with your child and sing along to the following clips:

s - Weave hand in and s shape, like a snake, and say ssssss

a - Wiggle fingers above elbow as if ants are crawling on you and say a, a, a

t - Turn head from side to side as if watching tennis and say t, t, t

i - Pretend to be a mouse by wriggling fingers at the end of nose and squek i, i, i

p - Pretend to puff out candles and say p, p, p

n - Make a noise, as if you are a plane - hold arms out and say nnnnnnnnn

ck - Raise hands and snap fingers as if playing castanets and say ck, ck, ck

e - Pretend to tap an egg on the side of a pan and crack it into the pan, saying eh, eh, eh

h - Hold hand in front of mouth panting as if you are out of breath and say h, h, h

r - Pretend to be a puppy holding a piece of rag, shaking head from side to side, and say rrrrrr

m - Rub tummy as if seeing tasty food and say mmmmmmm

d - Beat hands up and down as if playing a drum and say d, d, d

g - Spiral hand down, as if water going down a drain and say g, g, g

o - Pretend to turn light on and off and say o, o, o ,o

u - Pretend to be putting up an umbrella and say u, u, u

l - Pretend to lick a lollipop and say llllllll

f - Let hands gently come together as if toy fish deflating, and say fffffffff

b - Pretend to hit a ball with a bat and say b, b, b

ai - Cup hand over ear and say ai, ai, ai

j - Pretend to wobble on a plate and say j, j, j

oa - Bring hand over mouth as if you have done something wrong and say oh !

ie - Stand to attention and salute, saying ie, ie

ee - Put hands on head as if ears on a donkey and say eeyore, eeyore

z - Put hands out at sides and pretend to be a bee saying zzzzzzzzz

w - Blow on to open hand, as if you are the wind, and say wh, wh, wh

ng - Imagine you are a weightlifter and pretend to lift a heavy weight above your head, saying ng, ng, ng

v - Pretend to be holding the steering wheel of a van and say vvvvvvvvvv

oo - Move head back and forth as if it is a cuckoo in a cuckoo clock saying u, oo, u, oo

y - Pretend to be eating a yoghurt and say y, y, y

x - Pretend to take an X-ray of someone with an X-ray gun and say ks, ks, ks

ch - Move arms at sides as if you are a train and say ch, ch, ch

sh - Place index finger over lips and say shshsh

th - Pretend to be naughty clowns and stick out tongue a little for the th, and further for the th sound

qu - Make a ducks beak with your hands and say qu, qu, qu

ou - Pretend your finger is a needle and prick thumb saying ou, ou, ou

oi - Cup hands around mouth and shout to another boat saying oi!, ship ahoy

ue - Point to people around you and say you, you, you

er - Roll hands over each other like a mixer and say ererer

ar - Open mouth wide and say ah