The Pioneer Federation Phonics

Key Terms We Use in Our Teaching

Digraph two letters make one sound (e.g. sh, ch, ai, ea, ou, ow)
Trigraph three letters make one sound (e.g. igh, ear, air, ure)
Split digraph two letters make one sound but the letters have been split apart by another letter. (e.g. the a - e sound in cape)
Phoneme a single unit of sound
Grapheme a written letter, or group of letter that represent a sound
Consonants b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z
Blend to put or merge the sounds together to make a word (e.g. the sounds d-o-g are blended to the word ‘dog’)
Segment to break down the word into its individual sounds to spell (e.g cat can be split into the sounds c-a-t.)
Sound buttons ways of visually isolating different sounds in a word. We use a dot under letters where one letter makes one sound and a line understand digraphs or trigraphs

Websites You Can Use to Support Your Child With Their Phonics Learning at Home

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Phonics Bloom

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BBC Bitesize

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How to teach your child phonics

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6 Tips for Teaching Kids Phonics at Home

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How can I help my child with Phonics at home?

Useful Downloads

The Pioneer Federation has a rigorous, whole school approach to the teaching of phonics through daily teaching sessions and ongoing assessment. All schools are currently trialling and selecting new systematic synthetic phonics schemes (SSPs). East Hoathly is trialling the Little Wandle scheme (amongst others) throughout term 2 (2021-22) and will be making a final selection for Term 3. Whilst trials are ongoing, children’s phonics teaching and learning remains a strength and priority for the school.

All children in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 will be taught phonic skills through a range of teaching methods. Phonics is taught daily for 20 minutes. The dedicated daily phonics lessons follow a thorough programme, including verbal and written activities, to ensure grapheme and phoneme correspondence is secure before moving onto the next phase.

In Reception, the children start with initial sounds, progressing onto further combinations of letters (digraphs and trigraphs). Using the sounds that the children already know, they then build up skills of blending and segmenting longer words.

In Year 1, we assess how secure the children are with the previous curriculum content and consolidate any gaps in the children’s knowledge. Teaching then moves rapidly onto more complex letter and sounds combinations. As in Reception, we use a range of strategies in whole class daily teaching sessions. The mixed aged Key Stage 1 class is often taught in year groups with the class teacher overseeing other staff who are trained in phonics delivery. Ongoing assessments are used to track progress. Year 1 pupils do the Phonics screening in June of Year 1.

In Year 2, we revisit and revise all phonic gaps highlighted by the Phonics Screening Check, making connection between phonic sounds and spelling by following the No-Nonsense Spelling approach. The children will also move onto developing the skill of understanding and answering reading comprehension questions. Some Year 2 children may need to re-visit the Phonic screening if they did not achieve the pass mark – these children will receive specific intervention to support them to pass this by the end of Key Stage 1.

Current phonics learning is displayed on class working walls for the children and adults to be referring to throughout the school day. The sound of the day or pattern will be highlighted throughout other learning so that this knowledge becomes embedded.

Phonics is tracked throughout the school and individual children are identified for extra intervention if needed. This continues throughout Key Stage 2. If children do not pass the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 2, their intervention continues throughout Key Stage 2 to ensure they have the knowledge they need to develop effective reading skills.

Phonics information meetings are also held to advise parents on the reading strategies used in school and how best they may help their child before the children start their Reception Year, and in Nursery where appropriate. Additional meetings are held to support parents prior to the Year 1 phonic screening in the Summer Term.