What is Phonics?
Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read and spell. It runs alongside other teaching methods such as Guided Reading/Writing and Shared Reading/Writing. The phonics approach teaches children to decode words by sounds, rather than recognising whole words (some words are not phonetic and must be read on sight, e.g. said). The emphasis in early years teaching is on synthetic phonics, in which words are broken up into the smallest units of sound (phonemes).
Children are taught the letters (graphemes) that represent these phonemes and also learn to blend them into words. So, at its most basic, children are taught to read the letters in a word like c-a-t, and then merge them to pronounce the word cat.
Phonics at Darley Dene
At Darley Dene, we teach phonics following the DfES Letters and Sounds scheme, combined with the Jolly Phonic pictures, stories, actions and songs.
We start in Nursery and Reception by teaching the children to orally blend and segment words before they learn to read and write the letters. In Reception and Year One, they are taught one way of spelling and reading all 44 phonemes (sounds) in the English Language, e.g. k, ee, sh. In Year One and Two, they are taught alternative spellings of these, e.g. ai, ay, a-e. In Year Two and beyond, they are taught to read and spell more complex words.