At St David's School we teach pupils to:
- Apply the skill of blending phonemes in order to read words.
- Segment words into their constituent phonemes in order to spell words.
- Learn that blending and segmenting words are reversible processes.
- Read high frequency words that do not conform to regular phonic patterns.
- Read texts and words that are within their phonic capabilities as early as possible.
- Spell effortlessly so that all their resources can be directed towards composing their writing.
High-quality phonic work is most effective when:
- It is systematic, that is to say, it follows a carefully planned programme reinforcing and building on previous learning to secure children’s progress.
- It is taught discretely and daily at a brisk pace following the structure: revisit, teach, practice, apply from the Letters and Sounds programme.
- It is time-limited, to promote confident readers by the end of Key Stage 1
- There are opportunities to reinforce and apply acquired phonic knowledge and skills across the curriculum and in such activities as independent, shared and guided reading and writing.
Phoneme – is the smallest unit of sound.
Grapheme – is a written symbol that represents a sound (phoneme). This can be a single letter, or could be a sequence of letters, such as ai or igh.
Digraph – is a grapheme containing 2 letters which make one sound. For example – sh, ch, th.
Trigraph – is a grapheme containing 3 letters which make one sound. For example – ear, igh, air.
Split digraph – is 2 letters that make one sound but they have been split up by a letter in between them. For example a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e.
Blending – saying the sound (phoneme) for each letter (grapheme) in a word and blending the sounds together to read the word. The children could blend these sounds out load or silently (in their head).
Segmenting – hearing a spoken word and splitting it into the sounds (phonemes) that make up that word.
Tricky Words – some words cannot be sounded out (segmented) or spelt correctly by listening to the sounds (phonemes) in them. These have to be learnt and remembered as whole words.
Alien Words – or ‘Nonsense Words’ are words which are not real. By regularly looking at these kinds of words the children acquire a growing confidence in their ability to decode unfamiliar text.