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Phonics is the ability to decode words for reading and writing by understanding the ‘sound’ abc-blocksletters make.  At the Welland Academy, phonics is taught from Reception through to Year 3.

In Phase 1, children focus on developing their listening skills by exploring natural, musical and man-made sounds.

In Phase 2 they are introduced to the ‘sound’ letters make which are called phonemes. They will begin to segment CVC words (for example c-a-t) and blend them (putting the sounds together for example c-a-t = cat).  Once children are secure with these skills and can recognise most letters in the alphabet, they will move onto Phase 3 where they will learn the rest of the alphabet and be introduced to digraphs (2 letters = 1 sound for example th, ai, ng) and trigraphs (3 letters = 1 sound for example igh, air, ear).  They will continue to segment and blend words applying this skill to their reading and writing.
Once secure, they move onto Phase 4 learning about longer words (for example bump and slap) and words that use 2 syllables.

In Phase 5 they will focus on alternative spellings for vowel digraphs (for example ai = ay, ee = ea, igh = i_e). Once secure they will move onto Phase 6 which builds on this knowledge by exploring prefixes and suffixes and word-specific spellings i.e. words that don’t follow phonic patterns.

As well as developing their phonic knowledge, from Phase 2 onwards, children learn how to read and write irregular words that do not follow the phonetic code, (for example the, house, called). These are called ‘tricky words’.

Reception are taught through a range of activities designed to engage and excite children using all their senses.

Phase 1 activities are taught throughout the first term to all children as they underpin key language skills needed for reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Phase 2 is introduced in the autumn term in ability groups across the year group. Daily phonic lessons are then followed by a ‘writing challenge’ as this gives children the opportunity to apply what they are learning.

Year 1 – initially continue in the same groupings from the Reception year and are also taught in ability groups across the year group.  These groups remain fluid as children learn at their own pace.  Phonic lessons take place twice a day as well as daily ‘writing challenges’ and independent reading and writing opportunities. Ideally by the end of Year 1 children will finish Phase 5, however if this has not been achieved then they will continue their learning journey in Key Stage 2.

Year 2 – are taught in ability groups across the year group in twice daily sessions. There are also intervention groups aimed specifically for children who need additional time and support to remember and apply their phonic knowledge.

Year 3 – children will continue to develop their phonic knowledge through daily sessions. Once secure in Phase 6, they will move onto ‘support for spelling’ which is a programme aimed at developing specific spelling patterns.

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