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White Court School

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Phonics Teaching


Phonics at White Court 

At White Court School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through phonics children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words. The teaching of phonics is of high priority.

At White Court School we use ‘Letters and Sounds’ alongside alongside resources created by White Court School to support with the teaching and learning. This is in the form of pictures, rhymes and videos. Resources are consistent across the school and follow the Letters and Sounds teaching structure to ensure progression. White Court School teachers follow a detailed curriculum progression document that outlines teaching and learning each week and the resources provide children with confidence to embed this learning. 

Alongside these resources, White Court School use Big Cat phonics books that have been carefully selected and grouped to match teaching and learning. Children are only exposed to books that are in line with their teaching and learning in class to ensure they are fluent and confident readings when applying phonics to reading. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from FS to Year 2 and beyond where needed.


Children in our Nursery and Foundation Stage work on Phase One phonics, which concentrates on developing their speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. As children move into Foundation Stage  they continue to build on their listening skills and are introduced to Phase 2 which marks the start of systematic phonics work. They have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, practise together and apply what they have learnt. Through Letters and Sounds, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound. At White Court we use our own Phonic Stories that help children to understand these alternative sounds and spellings, alongside visual resources. 

Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.

At White court we follow the same teaching pattern in all classes. Depending on the Phonics Phase the children will learn them at different rates and stages. The children only move onto the next phase when they are confident to do so.

Our teaching and learning takes place x20 minute daily in FS and Y1. Y2 consolidate this teaching and learning through small intervention groups as well as applying their phonics knowledge through spelling patterns.


Synthesis and segmentation- The teacher will lead this part of the phonics session. The children will play my turn…your turn. This supports children’s listening skills and is a great way of modelling blending and segmenting sills. The children will use their hands as building blocks to build up words (blending) and then their one arm robot arm to start with a word and break it down into sounds (segmenting). Please see video in teaching and learning videos section to gain more of an understanding of how this is done.


High Frequency Words/ Tricky Words- The children learn 3 new tricky words per week (this may link to the phase they are working on or it may be tricky words that the children learn depending on the year group they are in). A list of these can be found in resources page. We send tricky words home weekly for the children to practise on cards.


Revisit/ Recap- this is where we recap all previous sounds taught using key actions. In Foundation Stage this will be through jolly phonics sounds (see resources section for an example of this). In Year 1 we use Mrs Balls video that recaps phases 2, 3, 4 and 5.


Teach- Depending on the phonics phase your child is working on we move onto teaching a new sound. This is through exploring pictures and words that have that sound in. For example, if learning the ch digraph we would look at words containing that sound- chip chuck chat chin.


Practise- The children will then practise writing the sound, blending and segmenting orally using our segmenting and blending arm as well as building blocks. Depending on age and ability the children will also have a go at writing some words containing the taught sound independently.


Apply-The children will then apply their understanding of the taught sound. This may be in the form of a game, sorting words containing the sound, reading and identifying the digraph in a sentence and reading it clearly to others or writing the words in context in a sentence.  


Consolidation- In class we will continue to learn and apply this sound. Homework then may be set that week to consolidate the learning from the week.