Phonics at St. Luke's (last updated July 2020)
At St. Luke’s, we teach Phonics daily through a practical approach, where the children are given opportunities to practice and apply their learning; these stages are called Phases 1 to 5. We start our phonics journey in our Nursery by teaching children Phase 1 sounds; this is done through learning rhyme and rhythm and exploring different sounds orally and through listening to sounds.
We then move on to Phase 2 sounds; where the children begin to learn to read and write graphemes (letters) and match them to phonemes (sounds). We encourage and support the children to learn how to blend sounds together when they are reading and segment sounds to spell CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words such as, dog, pot, sat.
Once the children are secure at Phase 2 (which can happen at different ages for different children) we begin Phase 3 sounds/words. At this stage the children continue to learn to read and write graphemes (letters) and match these to phonemes (sounds). Children should during this phase become more confident in reading and writing two-syllable words, captions and sentences.
Once secure, the children then move to Phase 4 where the children learn more digraphs (digraphs are 'ch, sh, th, ng) and trigraphs (like ore as in bore and ear as in dear.) These advanced graphemes help the children to learn to read and spell more complex words. Eventually, the children move to Phase 5, which is where they will learn split diagraphs. It is at this stage that the children will be blending and able to read.
The split digraph works by using an ‘e’ after the initial vowel to change the sound of the vowel. With a split digraph, tot turns into tote, hug to huge and tub to tube. Note the change in the sound of the first vowel from a hard sound to a longer softer sound, this is because of the ‘e’.
We support the development of phonics further through our Reading Scheme and approach, children from Nursery onwards are supported with developing their phonic knowledge and books are regularly sent home throughout the week; these are selected to coincide with the sounds they have been learning in class.