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What is phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way, starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex, it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.  It is particularly helpful for 5-to7-year old children.

Phonics is recommended as one of the main strategies that children should be taught in helping them learn to read.  It helps children develop vital reading skills which they will need throughout their lives.

At Bude Park Primary School, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme.  Initially children's listening skills are developed through the use of music, environmental sounds and rhyme.  In Foundation Stage, children are introduced to phonemes (sounds) linked to the letters of the alphabet, as well as one way of spelling each of the other 16 phonemes used in the English language, such as 'igh' and 'ch'.  Children are taught to blend or segment words in order to support their reading and spellings skills.  In Foundation Stage, children also learn actions to help them remember the phonemes.

In Year 1, children learn more about the variety of ways in which each phoneme can be spelled and they also learn about the different pronunciations made by different letters or groups of letters, such as 'a' in 'ant' and 'was'.  At the end of Year 1, children will be tested on their phonics knowledge, using a national test featuring 20 real words and 20 nonsense words.

From Year 2 onwards, children consolidate their phonics knowledge, learning when to apply different spelling rules as well as how to spell plurals and different verb tenses.


Children are taught to blend sounds together by merging the individual sounds until they can hear what the word is. 


Segmenting is the opposite of blending!  Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up.  This is how children learn to spell.