Thythorn Field Community Primary School

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Information about Phonics in Year 1



what exactly is phonics? 

Words are made up of small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words. 


In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:


  • Phonemes: Each letter in the alphabet has a ‘name’ (a = ay, b = bee, c = see, etc), but spoken English uses about 44 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘s’ or ‘h’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘ear’). These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p. 


 Blending: Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read. 


• Segmenting: Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.


How is phonics taught in our school? 

Phonics sessions are very structured and last for approximately 20 minutes per day. Children are then given the opportunities to explore what they are learning in phonics in independent or adult-led activities throughout the school day. In school we are currently following the KTC phonics sheme. In school, Phonics forms a part of how we teach reading, but it is also important to help children become fluent readers by teaching them to recognise key words by sight.


Helping your child at home with Phonics.

Phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading and books. Parents play a very important part in helping with this.


  • Try to make time to read with your child every day. Grandparents and older brothers or sisters can help, too. Encourage your child to blend the sounds all the way through a word.
  • With all books, encourage your child to ‘sound out’ unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right rather than looking at the pictures to guess. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word you can talk about what it means and help him or her to follow the story.
  • Word games like ‘I-spy’ can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters. You can also encourage your child to read words from your shopping list or road signs to practise phonics.
  • Allowing the children to download phonics games and apps onto your electronic devices at home will help them with their phonics and they will see this as 'fun' becasue it's a game on a device so doesn't feel like they are learning. Phonics play is also a great website for children of all phonetic abilities to have access to as it has games and resources for all the different stges of phonics learning.

Click the video below to see what our Phonics learning looks like


Please note this video was filed during the home schooling period in January 2021 so is not a true reflection of the interactive teacher led sessions that happen in the classroom. It is just to give you an idea of the structure and layout of our lessons.

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