At St Paul's we teach the children to read and write using a phonics programme called Letters and Sounds. Phonics are simply the sounds that letters make, we use these sounds to teach the children to build words as they read and write. (Sometimes the sounds are referred to as phonemes and the letters as graphemes.) These sounds are grouped into phases:
Phase 1 is taught during your child's time in Nursery. It is the beginning of tuning into sounds in our environment and in words. Children develop these skills by singing lots of songs and nursery rhymes, exploring the sounds objects can make and talking about the sounds they can hear.
Phase 2 begins when your child starts Reception. The children are taught the Phase 2 sounds with actions and these are practised everyday. We play lots of games using these sounds and begin to learn how to build them into words and to write them. We learn the Tricky Words for Phase 2, these are words which cannot be easily 'sounded out'. We also practise reading and writing 'high frequency' words, these are simple words which we need to read and write everyday so it is really helpful to read them on-sight.
We then learn the sounds for Phase 3. These include some sounds with 2 or 3 letters in them. We also learn the Tricky words for this phase and practise some more high frequency words. During this time we carry on practising the sounds and Tricky Words for Phase 2.
During Phase 4 we learn to blend some common sounds together and become experts at sounding and blending (putting sounds together) Phase 2 and 3 sounds. We do lots of writing using the sounds and Tricky Words we know. We also learn new Tricky Words in Phase 4.
Phase 5 is taught when children begin Year 1. However, sound mats with Phase 5 sounds on are available in the classroom and we do not hold anyone back who is ready to begin using these sounds in their reading and writing.
Letter formation is taught alongside the phonics we are learning and then revisited throughout the year.