At St. Dominic’s we follow the Letters and Sounds Phonics Program. The strategy combines songs and actions as a way for children learning all 44 phonemes (smallest unit of sound). Within the strategy there are 6 overlapping phases that the children work within from EYFS to Year 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills. Letter sounds are then introduced to children at a rate of one a day. This knowledge is built upon in Year 1 when more complex sounds are introduced and later reinforced throughout Year 2. From Phase 2 onwards children are also taught to recognise and know some ‘Tricky Words’. Tricky words are those words that cannot be sounded out easily. They are common words that have complex spellings in them or are not fully decodable at that time.
In EYFS and Key Stage 1, children read individually and in groups with a member of staff at least twice a week. Teachers share a variety of written material regularly with the children including fiction and non-fiction, poetry, reports, diaries etc. We use ‘Bug Club’ reading scheme for our home-school reading system. Children work systematically through the books and are given a decodable book that corresponds with the level of their in class phonics learning to consolidate and practise this learning at home. Parents and carers are also encouraged to engage with the different phonics and comprehension activities detailed within the Bug Club books to support the development of early reading skills. From Year 1 tricky word spellings are practised weekly with specific words set as home learning task by class teachers each week.
Parents and carers are invited to engage in their child’s early reading and writing development by attending Phonics Workshops. The aims of such workshops are to share how phonics is taught, teach the basics of phonics and develop confidence in helping children at home. Termly newsletters provide parents and carers with an up-to-date outline of the phonics teaching and learning that will be taking place at school.
Please see the attached documents for further details of the structure of the phonics program that is followed at St. Dominic’s and ways you can help your child at home.