Early Years Foundation Stage
In the Early Years Foundation Stage children begin to learn their letter sounds. They learn using the Letters and Sounds programme where individual sounds progress to learning pairs and groups of letter sounds (see the section on Phonics). The sounds are grouped into phases and we aim for our children to be on Phase 4 by the time they leave Reception. Children learn their phonic sounds and this in turn helps them to read, spell and write.
Children who have had pre-school experience will enter school having already completed Phase 1 of the Letters and Sounds Programme. They should be able to recognise sounds in the environment and explore sounds. They will understand rhythm and rhyme and alliteration and be able to recognise examples in stories. They will have explored how to make sounds with their voices.
In Phase 1 of the Letters and Sounds Programme children will be able to:
■ tune into sounds;
■ listen and remember sounds;
■ talk about sounds.
Activities within Phase One are designed to help children:
1. listen attentively;
2. enlarge their vocabulary;
3. speak confidently to adults and other children;
4. discriminate between phonemes;
5. reproduce audibly the phonemes they hear, in order, all through the word;
6. use sound-talk to segment words into phonemes.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage the children are initially assessed on their sound knowledge. They then work within a small group learning similar sounds. In Reception children may begin at Phase 2 of the Letters and Sounds Programme. They are taught the sounds, practise them , review them and then see if they can apply them in their reading, spelling and writing. Children learn and practise their sounds through play activities and then use these to begin spelling words independently. You may find the children whizzing around their outside learning area on their bicycles collecting letter sounds to use in their spelling or making marks in the sandpit.
Children learn their initial sounds in this order:
s a t p
i n m d
g o c k
ck e u r
h b f ff l ll ss
When they are able to recognise and say these sounds they are then taught how to combine them to make cvc (three letter) words such as sat, pin, pat, tan, tin.
Alongside these initial sounds the children learn how to read and then spell 'tricky words' or high frequency words:
is it in at and to the no go I am no up
When the children have learned their sounds they take home a few words each week to practise through activities such as water play, sand play and painting.
Children then move into Phase 3 where they learn the following sounds:
y j v w x z qu zz sh
The children also learn the following graphemes:
ch sh th ng ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er
They also continue to read tricky words (high frequency words) such as:
he she we me be was my you they her all are
In Reception the children then move into Phase 4 of the Letters and Sounds Programme. The children will be encourages to represent each of the 42 phonemes and be able to use these to read, segment and spell cvc words. They may also be able to read and spell some ccvc(4 letter words) such as:
tent bend mend hump stop spot damp spin
Children in Phase 4 must also know the letter names and be able to read and on occasions spell some tricky words. These may include:
said so have like some come were there little one they do when out what my her
In Year 1 the children are assessed in their phonics knowledge and whether they are able to apply this knowledge to spell words in isolation and within their writing. Some children will continue on Phase 2 or 3 of the Letters and Sounds programme whilst others will work on Phase 4. The children have spelling words to learn each week which link to the phonic phases. Children are again taught the sounds, they then revisit them to consolidate learning and then use them accurately within their spelling. Children are encouraged to listen to the sounds within each word and 'sound out' their spelling.
In Phase 5 children learn the graphemes:
or our a-e e-e i-e oe o ir ue ea ie ea er ch ph
The children learn alternative spellings for phonemes such as or as in for and our as in pour.
They also learn common words which have irregular spellings these are known as tricky words or high frequency words. These are usually more difficult to learn as they do not follow a pattern. Some words simply have to be learned as sight vocabulary eg what, many, friends. Children should be able to read them first then learn them as spelling words.
Some tricky words may include:
their people looked called asked where again many laughed because any once
It is important that children can spell their learned spelling words within sentences, in context.
In Year 2 the children are assessed again in their phonic knowledge and whether they are able to apply this knowledge to spell words.
They may revisit spelling patterns from the previous phonic phases. They may then move to the final Letters and Sounds Phase 6.
In Phase 6 the children learn the difference between spelling patterns for example ph and f. They learn how to add prefixes and suffixes such as:
ing ed er est ful ly
They also learn how to use plurals accurately.
Children in Year 2 also learn to read and spell tricky words (high frequency words) and spell these accurately in their writing.