Within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1, children are taught to read and write through the process of systematic phonics. At Masefield, we use the Letters and Sounds phonics program, devised by the government to ensure accurate and appropriate coverage. This phonics program allows children to work through 6 different phases to become accurate and confident readers and writers! Below we have outlined the different phases so you know what your child is learning and what to expect them to be able to do. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about Phonics teaching, please do not hesitate to talk to a member of the Masefield team.
Phase 1 – Phase 1 is mainly covered in Nursery and Reception and consists of activities and games. During this phase children learn about environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion (such as clapping and stamping), rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting (for example hearing the three sounds in the word dog d-o-g and putting them back together again!) Typical activities for Phase 1 include ‘listening’ walks, playing and identifying instruments, action songs, learning rhymes and playing games like I Spy. This phase is intended to develop children’s listening, vocabulary and speaking skills.
Phase 2 – Phase 2 is typically taught in Reception and can be consolidated in Year 1 if necessary. During this phase, children begin to learn the sounds that letters make (phonemes). There are 44 sounds in all. Some are made with two letters, but in Phase 2, children focus on learning the 19 most common single letter sounds. The order of the sounds in not the same as alphabetical order and at Masefield we begin by learning the sounds s,a,t,p,i,n and the words that we can make with these letters such as is, it, in, at, sat, pin. By the end of Phase 2 children should be able to read some vowel-consonant (VC) and consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words and to sound them out. They also learn five high frequency “tricky words” – the, to, I, no, into and go.
Phase 3 – Phase 3 is typically taught at the end of Reception and can be consolidated in Year 1 if necessary. This phase introduces children to the remaining phonemes. There are around 25 of these and they are mainly made up of two letters such as ch, ar, ow and ee. Alongside this, children are taught to recognise more tricky words, including me, was, my, you and they. They learn the names of the letters, as well as the sounds they make.
Phase 4 – Phase 4 is typically taught in Year 1 and can be consolidated further in Year 2 if necessary. By now, children should be confident with each phoneme. The purpose of Phonics at this stage is to consolidate learning and refine knowledge, introducing spelling patterns, more tricky words and increasing vocabulary.
In Phase 4 phonics, children will, among other things:
- Practise reading and spelling CVCC words (‘such,’ ‘belt,’ ‘milk’ etc)
- Practise reading and spelling high frequency words
- Practise reading and writing sentences
- Learn more tricky words, including ‘have,’ ‘like,’ ‘some,’ ‘little’Children should now be blending confidently to work out new words. They should be starting to be able to read words straight off, rather than having to sound them out. They should also be able to write every letter, mostly correctly.
At Masefield we use a variety of reading schemes to support the teaching of phonics and reading. In the infants we use Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Bug Club, Floppy’s Phonics and Rigby Star. All our children work through a variety of reading schemes encompassing a range of genres such as fiction, non fiction and plays that are book banded according to different levels. The teacher will inform you via your child’s Reading Record/Journal the level at which your child is reading. Our approach to teaching reading is wide ranging and includes regular group reading sessions, individual reading and library sessions.
Children are encouraged to read daily at home and will bring home a Reading Record/Journal for you to sign every day.
We follow the Letters and Sounds framework – more information is available in our EYFS/KS1 policy download.
We also run regular parent workshops so parents feel confident supporting their child’s reading development at home.
If you have any questions about Reading, please speak to your child’s class teacher.