Note from the Phonics meeting.
There are four stages of learning for phonics:
- Learn the letter name and practise saying the sound (phoneme) it can make in words.
- Blend sounds to make words, e.g. adult says ‘s–a–t’, the child then says ‘sat’.
- Segment words by separating the sounds, e.g. adult says ‘sat’ – child says ‘s-a-t’.
- Make words using the letters and sounds learnt so far. When making words the child is encouraged to sound out the word and spell the word. For example: ‘m a t’ are the phonemes in ‘mat’- but we should say – ‘m ai tee’ when spelling the word. This becomes more apparent when the children progress to learning Digraphs and Trigraphs. For example the word sheep can be sounded out as ‘sh ee p’ – (3 phonemes) but it is spelt using 5 letters (Graphemes). So we can say ‘sh ee p’ using 3 phoneme buttons or we say the letter names as – ‘s h ee ee pee’ to spell the word.
It’s really important that the children learn the letter names alongside the sounds they can make. So, we introduce each letter by saying that the letter ‘s’ makes a ‘sss’ sound in some words. There are, of course, other ways to make the ‘sss’ sound, for example: ‘c’ as in city. The children will be shown alternative spelling choices using the Thrass scheme but this is a gradual progression as we initially concentrate on locating and identifying key Graphemes on the Thrass chart.
Supporting Reading at home:
The first books your child will bring home will be picture books. These help them to understand the idea of telling a story. They can talk about the characters and predict what might happen next. It’s a good idea to start by modelling story telling to your child. For example you could suggest a good beginning, such as ‘One sunny day the children went to the park.’ In doing this the children will learn to tell the story, linking a sequence of events, rather than making brief statements about what they see happening on each page.
Once your child is confidently able to link some of the Graphemes to the Phonemes we will introduce them to pink level phonic reading books. They will initially bring 1 reading book home every week. As they progress and begin to read independently they will be given books from different reading schemes. This will encourage them to use a variety of reading strategies and not rely solely on their phonic skills. We will also send home word sheets with key words for your child to learn which will support and encourage more fluent reading. If your child is struggling to work out a new word when they’re reading it’s better if you tell them the word. This will help the story to flow and your child will gain a better understanding of the story.
Pre-cursive. We show the shape of each letter starting at the bottom and keeping the pencil on the page until the letter is complete.
Cursive – is the next step. The letters are formed in exactly the same way, but they are joined. The pencil stays on the page until each word is complete.
Reading books will be put in your child’s reading folder every Friday. Please make sure that your child’s reading record book is sent to school, in their reading folder, on a daily basis as we might want to listen to them read and check their record book. We won’t usually write comments in their record book as we make notes for our own use in school.
Homework will be sent most Fridays. Your child will be given activities to do at home relating to personal targets or things they have been learning in school that week. Although Maths and English will be taught every week we will alternate the homework in order to keep your child’s homework to a minimal. (We understand how tired they can get so we don’t want to overload them.) All homework will be put into their homework book with any necessary instructions for completion. We ask that the homework is completed using a pencil and returned to school the following Wednesday.
Please speak to a member of the Foundation Stage staff is you have any questions regarding any of the above.
Mrs H Stanley (Assistant Head, leading the Foundation Stage)