The Village Academy

The Village Academy is a group of town, city and village schools that have joined together to provide the very best education for the children in our care and where we believe that education is very much a matter of the individual.

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EYFS and KS1 Phonics and Reading

Phonics at Petham

Phonics is a method of teaching children to read and write quickly and skilfully. At Petham we follow the Letters and Sounds programme.  Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills which consists of six phases.  We teach discrete phonic lessons which are fun, interactive and follow a set outline of Recap, Teach, Practise, Apply and Assess.  To cater for a wide range of learning styles, our teaching includes games, singing and resources from Jolly Phonics, Phonics Play and Cued Articulation.

In EYFS children are taught to recognise the 44 sounds in the English language which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, like 't', and some by two or more, like 'ck' in duck and 'oi’ as in oil. We refer to these as diagraphs. Once they have mastered the initial sounds the children are encouraged to match them to letters, then blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.  Finally, they use their knowledge of the sounds and blending skills to support their spelling.  The children learn to read a list of age appropriate ‘tricky’ words, words which do not follow the rules of standard English and cannot be sounded out using their phonics e.g ‘the’.  

In Key Stage 1 the children revise the 44 sounds and begin to blend 3 sounds (trigraphs) to support ‘decoding’ of words that they hear or see and in turn, learn to spell words phonetically. Towards the end of Key Stage 1 and moving in to Key Stage 2, we teach the children important ‘spelling rules’.  This enables children to make the shift from writing phonetically to spelling words accurately.

We teach your children to use ‘pure sounds’ for example, when introducing the grapheme /s/ we would say ‘sss’ rather than ‘suh’. Please refer to the video below to hear the pronunciation of each sound.



Phonics Overview

Phonics is split into 6 phases.  In the reception year we focus on phase 2, 3 and 4 and we may begin phase 5a towards the end of the year.  Phase 5 is split into four sub sections which are usually taught in year 1 and phase 6 is usually taught in year 2.

Sounds in phase 2

s, a, t, p ,i ,n ,m, d, g, o, c, k, ck, e, u, r, h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

Tricky words in phase 2

I, no, go, into, the, to

Sounds in phase 3

j, v, w, x, y, z, zz, qu, sh, ch, th, ng, ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

Tricky words in phase 3

he, she, me, we, be, you, all, are, her, was, they, my

Phase 4 There are no new sounds taught in phase 4.  Phase 4 focuses on learning to read and write polysyllabic words and to read and write consonant blends and clusters.

Tricky words in phase 4

said, have, like, so, do, some, come, there, little, one, were, out, what, when.

Phase 5

Phase 5 is split into four subsections.  Some children will begin to explore phase 5a towards the end of the year.  There are no new sounds taught in phase 5, however phase 5 teaches alternative graphemes (spellings) for sounds learnt in phase 3 including split digraphs.

Phase 5a sounds/graphemes

ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au, ey, a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e.

Supporting evidence for Phonics Teaching

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7.

Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.

Reading at Petham

Shared Reading

In KS1 and KS2, children will have opportunities to read frequently during whole class English lessons. This may involve reading together as a class from the board or reading/sharing a range of texts. 

In Reception, towards the end of the school year, children participate in shared/group reading activities to prepare them for guided reading in KS1.

Guided Reading

Each week the children will work with the class teacher in a small group to access a text. This text is aimed at a slightly higher level than they are able to read independently, but with the support of the class teacher, children are able to access the text and extend their reading ability and comprehension.

Individual Reading

In EYFS and Key Stage 1 children read independently (often with an adult) on a frequent basis. In Key Stage 2, children who need more individual support will receive help on a one to one or small group basis.

In Key Stage 1 and EYFS, children access banded reading books, which includes a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.

Parental Involvement

At the start of the school year, your child’s class teacher will have informed you about classroom routines for each class with regards to reading books/reading homework activities.

We emphasise the need for parents to take an active role in their child’s education, supporting the developing reader and encouraging open lines of communication through reading diaries and planners.