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St Oswald's CEPrimary School

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"...I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness."

John 10v10

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What is phonics? 

Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words


In phonics lessons children are taught three main things:

  • GPCs: They are taught GPCs. This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.
  • Blending: Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.
  • Segmenting: Children are also taught to segment. This 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 skill is vital in being able to spell words.


The teaching of Phonics at St Oswald's


At St Oswald's we use Letters and Sounds to teach phonics, alongside Jolly Phonics actions to support all learners.  Letters and Sounds is a fun and child centred approach to teaching literacy through synthetic phonics.  Jolly Phonics then adds actions for each of the 42 letter sounds.  This multi sensory method is very motivating for children and teachers, and is proven method for securing phonological awareness.  The phonetic sounds are taught in a specific order (not alphabetically).  This enables children to begin building words as early as possible.  


Phonics teaching begins in Nursery and develops throughout Reception and Keystage 1.  During Year 1 children take the DfE Phonics check.  Some children who either miss the check or don't achieve the pass mark will take the check in Year 2.


If you require any further information about phonics please see your child's class teacher or visit our phonics teaching page of our website.