What is Phonics?
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.
Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read.
Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.
Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. For example, the sound k can be spelled as c, k, ck or ch.
Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters s, a, t, p, i and n, they can start to build up the words: “tap”, “taps”, “tin”, “pats” and “sit”.
How do we teach phonics at Sacred Heart?
At Sacred Heart, we follow the Jolly Phonics scheme to teach phonics in Early Years and Key Stage 1. Sounds are learnt in a multi-sensory and active way, with fun actions, stories and songs Children are taught in groups by highly trained staff and regular assessments allow for children to access appropriate teaching and interventions to develop their reading skills.
To support children in applying their phonic skills to reading texts, we use the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme. These books are closely matched to children’s phonics knowledge. We ensure children access decodable books so that when they read them, both at home and at school, they are immediately successful; develop fluency and an enjoyment of reading.
What are tricky words?
Tricky words are words that cannot be decoded using phonics but are frequently used in the books the children are reading.
How can I support my child with reading at home?
Each week your child will receive a phonics based reading book to read at home with you. Please take a few minutes each day to listen to your child read their book and record when they have read in their reading journal. Prompts for supporting your child to read can be found inside the front and back cover of the books we send home.
Your child will have some tricky words in their ‘Word Wallet’. Spending a few minutes learning these words at home a few times a week will help your child to quickly learn all their tricky words.
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. The programme continues through school enabling the teaching of essential grammar, spelling and punctuation skills.
To support children in applying their phonic skills we use the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme. These include decodable books for our early readers so that when they read them, both at home and at school, they are immediately successful; develop fluency and enjoyment of reading.
The Phonics Lead in school is Miss Ruth Whalley.
Jolly Phonics Useful Phonics Resources & Links:
The Parent/Teacher Guide provides background information on the Jolly Phonics programme and also suggests products that would be suitable for use in the home.
The Jolly Phonics website has a wide range of worksheets and activities that your children will enjoy working through at home, as well as guidance if you are new to phonics.
Where can I hear the letter sounds?
Download all the 42 letter sounds taught in Jolly Phonics and practice them with your child:
Where can I get activity ideas?
Browse the range of handy activity sheets and word banks that you can use to support your child at home:
Where can I see videos of the teaching?
A selection of teaching videos showing the key skills taught in Jolly Phonics can be found on the Jolly Phonics Youtube channel: