Phonics and Reading Scheme

Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (graphemes).  We use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to structure this teaching, and supplement this with Phonics Play and the Jolly Phonics scheme of work.  At Balgowan, the teaching of phonics begins in Reception where children are taught letter sounds.  This means that children see letters and can say the sound they represent, which is called decoding.  Sounds are taught in different groups.  Children then move from being able to say individual sounds, to being able to blend the sounds and say the whole word.  Alongside this, children are taught to write the letters that these sounds represent.  After that, children focus on reading three-letter words arranged as consonant, vowel, consonant (CVC words).  This leads to learning CCVC and CVCC words. The next stage is to learn consonant digraphs such as ch and sh moving onto the final stage, which is two vowels that together make one sounds such as oa.    When children move into Year 1 they then learn a whole new group of sounds, called phase 5 sounds. This involves alternative graphemes (written form) for the phonemes (sounds made) they have been taught in Reception. Children then move onto the next stage of phase 5, looking at alternative spellings and beginning to look at spelling patterns, considering which letters might be used. We encourage working on a ‘best fit’ – investigating which grapheme is best to represent a sound in a given part of a word e.g. we usually see ow at the end of a word (bow, low, show) and oa in the middle of a word (boat, coat, moan).  Towards the end of Year 1, there is a phonics screening check which includes both real and made up words to check children’s understanding of phonics.  In Reception and Year 1, phonics is taught as a daily separate lesson.



Alongside the teaching of phonics in Key Stage 1, children are taught to read in small groups.  They read texts and apply their knowledge of phonics to decode the words.  They begin to discuss and understand what they are reading.  Children take home books from the Oxford Reading Tree scheme.  These sessions are taught regularly across the week.

In Key Stage 2 reading is also taught as a separate lesson.  The emphasis is for children to understand and analyse what they are reading, as well as share their opinions on books.  Children are exposed to a range of high quality texts during these lessons.

Suggested booklists for KS1 and KS2 pupils can be found from the Downloads tab on the home page under useful documents.