Phonics is the system we use for teaching children to read. From the very start of Reception year, children are taught that letters (and groups of letters) represent certain sounds. By 'blending' these separate sounds together, children learn to read words. The national curriculum sets our a clear sequence of phonics teaching which we follow.
At Wheatfield we are proud to use our own Wheatfield Phonics scheme which has been developed across the 2021/22 academic year. Our staff team have engaged in a variety of training with the English Hub to develop our practice around phonics and early reading. Our scheme is comprised of different phases which each focus on specific sounds and blending skills.
For families (many of whom may not have been taught phonics at school) we are aware that it can sometimes feel daunting trying to support your child at home. We have therefore included a range of resources and videos on this page to assist you. Class teachers are also available to support you with any questions you may have.
An Explanation of Each Phase
Phase 2: children learn the main sounds in the English language and learn how to blend these together to form words e.g. cat
Phase 3: children learn digraphs (two letters that make one sound) and how to blend these together in words e.g. boat
Phase 4: children learn how to blend adjacent consonant together and children begin to blend four or more sounds together e.g. band, clamp.
Phase 5: children will learn alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes learnt e.g. ai can also be ‘ay’ and ‘a-e’. ‘ow’ can be pronounced as ‘cow’ or ‘snow’.
What is Taught in Each Year Group
In Reception, children will be taught Phase 2, 3 and 4. Alongside the phonemes, children will learn ‘common exception words' for these phases which are words that cannot be sounded out yet.
In Year 1, children will consolidate their learning from Reception and learn alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes previously taught. They will also learn any additional common exception words.
In Year 2, all previous learning will be revisited and mastered. Children will then apply all their phonic knowledge to when spelling using our sound families.
You can download the sound mats that children have available to support their phonics and spelling within the classroom. In Reception the mats include pictures to help children make the link between the phoneme (the sound) and the grapheme (written form). In Year 1 we remove the pictures to ensure children are not relying on these in order to recognise the grapheme. In Year 2, we introduce the sound families mat which is designed to support children with their spelling.
Reading Books (linked to phonics)
Each week, your child will be given a reading book which is matched to their phonics knowledge. This ensures that children have books that only include words they can decode confidently. We encourage children to read each book multiple times to support the development of their reading fluency and prosody (use of expression).
Glossary of Terms
We ensure that we use the correct terminology with the children right from Reception. Some of these words may be unfamiliar to families so we have created a glossary of terminology to provide the definitions for these. You can download this from the link below:
Video to explain Phase 2 phonemes and graphemes
Video to explain Phase 3 phonemes and graphemes
Video to explain Phase 5 phonemes and graphemes