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Systematic Synthetic Phonics at St. Augustine's

What is SSP Phonics?

Systematic Synthetic 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.

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, ar, or three letters (trigraphs) as in air, ear, ure. Phonemes cannot 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 Systematic Synthetic Phonics at St. Augustine’s?

At St. Augustine’s we currently follow the Twinkl Phonics Programme, which has been validated by the DfE. This Programme offers a coherently planned sequence of lessons that supports the effective teaching of Phonics within EYFS, KS1 and, where appropriate, KS2.

Phonics lessons are taught daily from Nursery to Year 2. Teaching is discrete in Nursery, focusing on all aspects of Phase 1. Throughout this Phase, children develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to discriminate between and use auditory, environmental and instrumental sounds. Children will move to Phase 2 sound recognition when they are ready.

In Reception to Year 2, daily lessons are split into two sessions. The first session includes recapping of previous sounds and tricky words taught as well as shared reading. The second session focuses on applying Phonic knowledge through interactive games and activities. Shared reading includes using Phonic knowledge to sound out words as well reading captions and sentences together.

In Reception, children learn how to blend and segment words using the sounds they are learning. They are introduced to phonemes and graphemes systematically. They also learn to develop and apply blending and segmenting skills for reading and writing.

In Year 1, the children consolidate their knowledge and begin to look and learn to blend and segment alternative phonemes and digraphs. There is a focus on phonetically decodable two-syllable and three-syllable words and the alternative ways of pronouncing and representing the long vowel phonemes. Furthermore, children will develop their ability to attempt to read and spell increasingly complex words.

In Year 2, children explore spelling patterns and grammar while also developing a breadth of knowledge, skills and understanding in the recognition and spelling of common exception words.

The Twinkl Phonics Programme not only provides children with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding essential for reading and writing, but also, develops each child’s confidence, resilience and engagement in Phonics lessons and a love for reading and writing.


What is Twinkl Phonics?

The dynamic and engaging materials delivered in the daily planning packs within Phases 2-6 of the Phonics programme, ensures a clearly defined structure to the teaching of Phonics. The direct teacher-led lessons enable all learners to develop and apply new skills while also providing opportunities to further apply these skills within fun and engaging activities and through continuous provision. The teaching PowerPoints, stories, games, additional texts and toolkits are meticulously planned to allow children to apply and practise Phonics skills

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 Twinkl Phonics work?

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


The five skills taught in Twinkl Phonics:

1.Learning the letter sounds

Children are taught the main letter sounds. This includes alphabet sounds as well as digraphs and trigraphs.

2.Learning letter formation

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


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:

s – Make a snake’s head with your hands and wiggle your body like a snake

      saying ssssss

a – Pretend to bite into a crunchy apple and say a, a, a

t – Pretend to stir a teaspoon around a teacup and say t, t, t

p – Make one hand into a puppy’s head and stroke it with your other hand and

       say p, p, p

– Flap your hands like an inset’s wings and say i, i, i

n - Make  your fist into a nut and tap it saying n, n, n

m – Yummy! Rub your tummy and say mmmmmmm

d – Play your drum kit and say d, d, d

g – Pretend to wrap your scarf like Gabi and say g, g, g

o - Pretend to squeeze a juicy orange and say o, o, o

c – Wiggle your finger like a caterpillar and say c, c, c

k – Pretend to spread your hand like a kite and fly it in the air and say k, k, k

e – Make an egg with one hand and tap it with the other saying eh, eh, eh

u – Make one hand into an umbrella and sprinkle rain on it saying u, u, u

r – Move your arms like a robot and say rrrrrr

h – Pretend to open the door of the house and say h, h, h

b - Pretend to throw and catch a ball saying b, b, b

f – Pretend to wave a magic wand and say fffffffff

l - Pretend to lick an ice lolly and say llllllll

j – Sweep your hand like a jumbo jet taking off and say j, j, j

v – Draw a v shape on your chest to show the V-neck of your vest and say vvvvvvvvv

w – Make waves with your hand and say wh, wh, wh

x -  Hold one hand like a map and draw an x on it saying ks, ks, ks

y - Pretend to raise and lower a yoyo and say y, y, y

z – Draw a zigzag path in the air saying zzzzzzzzz

qu – Give a royal wave and say qu, qu, qu

ch – Use your thumb and forefinger to make a chick’s beak and say ch, ch, ch

sh - Place index finger to your lips and say shshsh

th – Put your forefingers on your head and wiggle your moth’s feelers saying th, th, th (Voiced sound)

        Stroke your hand on your cheek like a soft feather (Unvoiced sound)

ng – Tap your ring finger saying ng, ng, ng

ai – Draw a spiral snail’s shell and say ai, ai, ai

ee – Make mouse whiskers on your face and say ee, ee, ee

igh – Hold one arm across your body as if holding a shield and pat it with your other hand

oa – Pretend to row your boat

oo – Point to the moon and say oo (long oo sound)

         Pretend to open a book and say u (short oo sound)

ar – Make twinkly star fingers and say ar, ar ar

or – Pretend to press a car horn saying or, or, or

ur – Pretend to open a purse and say ur, ur, ur

ow – Pretend to squeeze the sqirty flower on your coat just like the clown

oi – Flick your fingers as if tossing a coin saying oi, oi, oi

ear – Cup your hand around your ear

air – Pretend to hold a chair and move it in and out from a desk saying air

ure – Swing your arm like a pirate and say ure, ure, ure

er – Pretend to sneeze and say er, er, er

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