Basic skills of reading and spelling are an important part of children’s early learning.
At St Michael’s we teach these skills through phonics – matching letters (and groups of letters) to the sounds they make. We use Letters and Sounds alongside some Jolly Phonics materials. Twenty minute phonics lessons take place daily in Reception and Key Stage One. In Key Stage 2 spellings are taught for half an hour each day to ensure that this key skill is learned and the children are fully ready for the next stage in their schooling.
Phonics and reading
In Reception, the children begin by learning the 26 sounds made by each of the letters in the alphabet. Through ‘sounding out’ words and blending the sounds together children begin to learn to read. Phonics learning is supported by a reading scheme based on phonics so that the children can use the skill of ‘sounding out’ to read. Later, further sounds are added made by groups of letters such as –igh and ch-.
At this early stage children use their sounds to help them spell, as well as learning a small number of common and tricky words such as ‘was’ and ‘come’.
Phonics teaching continues throughout year one where the children learn the different ways sounds can be represented in print. Children continue to learn to read and spell common and tricky words such as ‘were’ and ‘who’. In year two the emphasis in phonics teaching moves towards increasingly accurate spelling and choosing the right spelling for the sound.
In Key Stage 2 daily spelling lessons continue in all year groups. Children learn ‘spelling rules’ following the Support for Spelling programme. Children have word lists to learn at home but spend most lessons exploring spelling conventions rather than learning by rote so that they can apply the spelling rules in all their writing.