We teach Phonics through Letters and Sounds. This is a systematic approach for teaching children to read using phonics. It is used in many schools in England, but is not a mandatory part of the National Curriculum. It is split into six phases, from starting to learn about sounds at nursery to becoming fluent readers around age 7.
Traditionally, children were taught letter names like ay, bee, sea from the start. However, letter names don’t always represent their pronunciation – examples include double u or em – and this might confuse children when they try to pronounce words made up of these letters.
The phonic approach encourages us to directly link letters (graphemes) to sounds (phonemes), and to teach children pure sounds like ah, b, k when encountering the alphabet. So, children learn how to put sounds represented by letters or letter groups (like ch or igh) together to read words in a more straightforward way.
How do children learn to read using Letters and Sounds?
The information below outlines the letter-sound correspondences children will learn in different phases. There are a few “tricky words” introduced at each phase.
These words are common and useful for early reading and writing, but children won’t be able to decode them following the phonic rules taught up to that point. You can help your child learn them by reading aloud together.