There are 26 letters of the alphabet but they make 44 sounds.
Here in Maple we teach children to read and write using a synthetic phonics approach; first understanding the sounds represented by written letters, and then how to blend these sounds together to form words. We follow the Government's 'Letters and Sounds' programme, using 'Cued Articulation' techniques with a few 'Jolly Phonics' signs added in. The children love learning through multi-sensory activities, and begin to memorise sounds quicker when they have hand cues to 'attach' them to.
In R/1 we teach from Phase 2 to Phase 5, and Phase 6 is taught in Year 2. Each week from mid-September onwards we learn 4 new letters, the sounds they make AND what they look like (both cursive and non-cursive).
To help imbed the written formation, each child takes part in a 'rainbow' writing task, the end results of which can be found below. We think they look fabulous :)
Phonics isn't just about the sound your voice makes, we talk with our hands too
Cued articulation is a multi-sensory approach to linking letters and sounds. We teach children to:
* hear the sound
* say the sound
* use a sign
* see the letter
‘Cued articulation’ was devised by the speech and language therapist Jane Passy. Each sound has a sign showing where and how the sound is made in the mouth and whether the sound is voiced or voiceless (whether the vocal cords are used to make the sound).
A handy booklet of the signs is available to download or view below, plus a video clip of the signs is on YouTube:
Phonics is as much a skill for learning to read as well as write
To help support reading development at home we supply each child with 'Pocket Rockets' as we teach Phases 2 and 3. These daily reading decodable text booklets introduce the phonemes learnt in a daily progression and allow children to develop their own library of accessible reading material. By the time we reach the end of the second series, we each own 44 books!!
Don't forget Maples, phonics magic doesn't just happen at school!
Pocket Rockets should be kept in your book bags so you always have them accessible at home and school, and you all have a rainbow letters (and numbers!) page in the back of your Home Learning Journals.
As the saying goes, 'time flies when you're having fun'. We always have a great time in Phonics sessions, and before we know it, the children are reading and writing independently - magic! If you fancy investigating the letters, sounds and hand cues yourself, have a look at the documents and websites below, and check back regularly to see our phonics groups at work (and play!).