At Collierley Nursery and Primary School we follow the systematic scheme Sounds~Write to teach phonics from EYFS to Year 6. Phonics is a method 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.
We use the Sounds-Write phonics programme to teach our children to read, spell and write. It is effective because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of their own language. From there, it takes them in carefully sequenced, incremental steps and teaches them how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelled.
Sounds-Write is a linguistic phonics programme that teaches the children that letters are used for spelling sounds. We therefore, when teaching, talk about sounds, not letters.
Sounds-Write is a quality first phonics programme. Its purpose is to provide a scheme to teach reading, spelling and writing. We introduce Sounds~Write in the EYFS and it will continue through to year 6.
The code (phonic sounds) is taught throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1. From Year 3 onwards, we continue to teach using the Sounds~Write scheme to finely tune the spelling and reading of all children. It provides fast and effective teaching for children at all levels.
The Sounds-Write programme teaches the children to understand the way the alphabet (referred to as ‘code’) works. Because of the complex system of the alphabet code in the English language, often, in the early stages of learning to read and spell, pupils will not be able to spell some sounds using the correct spellings. However, pupils taught using Sounds-Write are more likely to be able to write almost anything they want using plausible (phonetic) spellings for sounds. As they progress through Key Stage 1, pupils learn systematically how words are spelled in English. The ability to express oneself in writing from the start of school gives children enormous confidence, which naturally feeds back into the other kinds of learning taking place within the school curriculum.
Sounds-Write teaches children that:
- Letters are symbols (spellings) that represent sounds.
- Each sound may be represented (spelled) by a 1, 2, 3 or 4-letter spelling.
- The same sound can be spelled in more than one way (goat, slow, note, toe, over).
- Many spellings represent more than one sound (ea in read and bread).
The following skills are taught throughout the Sounds-Write program:
- Blending – the ability to push sounds together to build words (c-a-t = cat)
- Segmenting – the ability to pull apart the individual sounds in words (pig = p-i-g)
- Phoneme manipulation – the ability to insert sounds into words and delete sounds out of words. This skill is necessary to test out alternatives for spellings that represent more than one sound.
It is important to note that speed and accuracy need to be achieved for all three of the above skills in order for them to become automatic.
Within this conceptual framework, we teach the factual knowledge required to become an effective reader and speller: the approximately 176 spellings that represent the 44 or so sounds in English, starting with the most simple one-to-one correspondences.
Sounds-Write provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling.
Any children who need extra phonics support are given extra time taught in keep up groups to allow phonics teaching to be accessible to all.
PHONICS SCREENING TEST
In Year 1 children take the phonic screening test.
This guide provides more information and tips for parents. It also explains about the Phonics Check all children complete at the end of Year 1. Children who do not pass the test in year one are provided with additional support and retake the test on year two.