How We Teach Phonics

Teaching Phonics at St. Matthias

We use a programme called Success For All to teach phonics at St. Matthias. This is a fun and interactive approach to teaching children to read and write.

Success For All is taught daily in Reception and KS1. Children enjoy their lessons immensely and rapidly learn a complex alphabetical code which they apply to their reading and writing.

We start by teaching children to read the first thirty sounds and to be able to blend these sounds to read words (i.e. to know that the sounds c/a/t can blend together to read the word cat). Once they have mastered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. At the same time, we teach them how to write the sounds and use this knowledge to spell words, leading to writing short sentences.

Click here to download Phonics Screen Check Sound Book

As their confidence and fluency grows, we start to introduce more sounds and the children read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes (different ways of spelling the sounds, e.g. /igh/, /ie/ or /ay/, /ai/). They learn that a sound can be written using 2 or 3 or even 4 letters. We call this a grapheme (e.g. igh represents the /i/ sound in the word night). Equally they learn to use these graphemes to spell words.

Workshops and Further Support

Parents and carers are invited to workshops run by the Reading Leader throughout the year to find out how the programme runs in the school as well as learn how you can support your children at home. 

Year 1 Phonics Screening Test

Each June, all children in Year 1 do their phonics screening test.  This is a short assessment to find out how accurately the children are reading decodable words. Children will be asked to ‘sounds out’ a word and then blend the sounds together. For example:                

d–o–g      dog             f-air        fair            l-igh-t        light

The children will be asked to read real words and made up ‘alien’ words.

How you can help your child at home:

Encourage your child to ‘sound out’ when reading and writing. Practice the sounds using either the sound cards (which are available at Reception) or the sound mat overleaf. Encourage children to find the more tricky sounds when reading.

Diagraph:  2 letters making one sound                  cow                      start                      saw

Trigraph:3 letters making one sound                     night                      fair                     pure

Split Diagraphs: 2 vowels making one sound with a letter in between   make   cube    bone