We teach phonics using a linguistic phonics programme called Sounds-Write. Sounds Write is a very highly structured, multi-sensory, instructional approach to teaching children the skills and knowledge they need to read and spell. The Sounds-Write programme is implemented in the classroom and provides very fast and effective teaching for children at all levels.
This programme is successful in teaching children to read and spell because it starts with what all children know from a very young age – the sounds of our spoken language. Then, using a very systematic approach, it teaches them how these sounds are coded within our writing system.
The four key concepts children are taught are:
1. letters are symbols that represent sounds
2. sounds can be spelled using 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters
3. the same sound can be spelled in different ways
4. the same spelling can represent different sounds
The three key skills children will become proficient in are:
3. phoneme manipulation
Children in our Reception classes begin with the Initial Code where they practice all 3 key skills whilst learning the 1:1 sound-spelling correspondences and securing their understanding of key concept 1. This builds up confidence and phonic knowledge in a truly reversible system, enabling them to decode and encode a wide range of words and sentences. At first, children learn to read and write simple one syllable words with a CVC structure. Complexity of word structure systematically builds up so that children apply their code knowledge to monosyllabic words with up to 6 sounds. Once the Initial Code has been mastered, children continue to practise all 3 key skills whilst learning the Extended Code which explores key concepts 2, 3 and 4. Learning of the Extended Code is a lifelong process – we all continue to develop our understanding of this code whenever we encounter new words. This is why Sounds Write is applied right up to the end of KS2. Whilst learning the Extended Code, children read and write monosyllabic and polysyllabic words at an age-appropriate level.