What is the Phonics vision at Lee Chapel?
At Lee Chapel Primary School we are introducing the Sounds-Write programme to teach Phonics. Sounds-Write is a highly structured, systematic synthetic phonics program which teaches children how the alphabetic code works. Fundamentally, it teaches students the key skills required to be effective readers and spellers. Learning to read is a complex mix of skills, conceptual knowledge and code knowledge. Children are biologically primed to learn the language that they speak but are not primed to learn the writing system of that language. We need to teach children the writing system explicitly and systematically.
Sounds-Write starts with the skill that children learn naturally: the sounds of their own language. Sounds-Write then teaches that letters or combinations of letters are the ways in which we represent those sounds when we write.
The 3 skills Sounds-Write teaches are:
These skills need to be perfected and practised to become a fluent reader.
Segmenting individual sounds in speech is vital for both reading and spelling. To read, the reader must segment the sound-spelling correspondences in a word before blending them to make a recognisable word. When writing, a student also needs to split the word into its component sounds. For example, /c/…./a/…/t/… and to represent each sound as a letter.
The skill of blending involves pushing sounds together to form meaningful words. For example, /b/ /oa/ /t/ = ‘boat.’
The skill of manipulating individual sounds within words enables one sound to be replaced by another. For instance, take the word ‘bat,’ and replace the sound /a/ with the sound /i/ so it becomes ‘bit.’ This skill is essential when the reader is problem solving when decoding. For instance, the letter represents 4 completely different sounds in the words ‘go,’ ‘pot,’ ‘mother,’ and ‘to,’ When reading unfamiliar words, a child needs to decode by trying different letters or spellings and they must be prepared to test out alternatives. Therefore, the reader needs to be able to manipulate sounds instantly. This is a skill that proficient readers are able to carry out automatically, and it occurs without having to think about it.
Core Concepts of Sounds Write
To become a proficient and fluent reader, a child must grasp the following:
English speech is written in a visual code where symbols, known as spellings or letters or graphemes, are used to represent individual sounds (phonemes).
You can spell a sound with 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters.
There are many different ways of spelling a sound. (e.g. the sound /ae/ as in ‘rain,’ play,’ ‘gate,’ or ‘break.’
A spelling can represent more than one sound. (For instance, the spelling in the words sea, head, break.
A systematic approach to the teaching of reading is required.
We start by teaching that you can spell a sound with one letter. Then, that you can spell a sound with two letters: ff, ll, ss, zz. In the Extended Code children discover through explicit, structured teaching more complex concepts. It is at this point of our English code that many children become confused and find spelling difficult. As many of our sounds have different spellings we begin with the most common and return to that sound, adding more alternatives. Just as in the Initial Code, lessons progress at a brisk pace with a variety of activities in each session. In general, teachers choose a target phoneme and spend 1-2 weeks working with words containing it.
Sounds-Write is Multisensory
Sounds Write is also multi-sensory. As children are copying and saying the sounds they are using touch, sight, sound and speech. Using Sounds Write from the start children learn right away that the alphabet code, like any code, is reversible, you can both read and spell it. As they are using their senses, young children make a direct connection between what they hear and what they see written down.
Year One Phonics Screening
The phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by their school to improve their reading skills. Children who fail to meet the appropriate standard will be supported in order to retake the check in Year Two.