EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE- Phonics Curriculum
What is Phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
as /sh/ or /ee/;
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘decode’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
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 children aged 5 to 7.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.
Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.
(The information above is directly from the Department of Education’s ‘Learning to read through phonics: information for parents’ document.)
What does it look like at school?
At school we use the Department for Education’s approved ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to structure our phonics delivery. You can find out more about Letters and Sounds at the link below:
All children in EYFS and KS1 have daily phonics sessions where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities. Within these sessions, all children are exposed to new learning and GPC’s, working through the phases detailed in ‘Letters and Sounds’ and developing their phonic knowledge and skills.
In EYFS children begin with Phase 1 and work through Phase 2 and 3 by the end of the year.
In year 1, children begin Phase 4 and work through Phase 5 in preparation for the Phonics Screening Check at the end of the year. You can find more information about this below.
In Year 2, all children recap and consolidate Phase 5 in the Autumn term and begin Phase 6. The teaching of Phonics in Year 2 is supplemented by the use of the ‘Non Nonsense Spelling’ programme to ensure a breadth and depth of coverage of the spelling requirements for the end of Year 2.
Phonics Screening Check
Each year, all children in Year 1, in all schools, must take the phonics screening check. Some children in Year 2 are also required to take the screening check either because they did not take it in Year 1 or because their Year 1 score did not meet the required standard.
The check usually happens in June each year. The check will be kept as low key and comfortable as possible for the children and will provide important information about their early reading development.
You will receive more information about the Phonics Screening Check when your child enters Year 1 and will be invited to a Phonics Screening Check workshop where you can find out what it looks like, expectations of the child and ask any questions.
You can find some resources for preparing your child for the Phonics Screening Check at the bottom of this page.
You can also read more about the Phonics Screening check here:
How can I help my child at home?
There are many ways you can support your child’s phonics learning and development at home.
You can also explore the 44 phonemes and hear the phonemes and some example words using the Audio Guide below:
When you talk about letters to your child, remember to use the letter sounds: a buh cuh duh ... rather than the alphabet names of the letters: ay bee see dee ee. The reason for this is that sounding out words is practically impossible if you use the alphabet names. For example, cat would sound like: see ay tee which does not sound like ‘cat’.
When saying the sounds of b, d, g, j and w you will notice the 'uh' sound which follows each, for example buh, duh... You cannot say the sound without it, however, try to emphasise the main letter sound.