Phonics at St John’s

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and spell by blending and segmenting individual sounds in words.

At St John’s C of E Primary School we follow the Phonics Bug Programme of teaching which is split into 6 phases that systematically build on skills and knowledge of previous learning - your child's teacher will be able to tell you which phase your child is currently working on.  

Children throughout Reception and Key stage 1 take part in daily phonics sessions lasting 30-40 minutes. These sessions focus on key reading skills such as decoding to read words and segmenting the sounds in a given word to spell. During Phonics lessons we also teach children to read and write ‘Tricky Words’ also known as ‘Common Exception Words.’ These are words that have a ‘tricky part’ and are not fully decodable. 

If you require any further support, please come into school and speak with your child's class teacher or our Phonics Subject Leader, Miss Jones.


Key terms we use in our teaching:

Digraph – two letters make one sound (e.g. sh, ch, ai, ea, ou, ow).

Trigraph – three letters make one sound (e.g. igh, ear, air, ure).

Split digraph – two letters make one sound but the letters have been split apart by another letter (i_e, a_e, o_e, e_e, u_e).

Phoneme – a single unit of sound (e.g. s, t, I, m).

Grapheme – a written letter, or group of letters that represent a sound.

Consonants – b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z

Vowels – a, e, i, o, u

Blend – to merge the sounds together to make a word (e.g. the sounds d-o-g are blended to the word ‘dog’.)

Segment – to break down the word into its individual sounds to spell (e.g. cat can be segmented into the sounds c-a-t.).


How you can help at home

1. Reading every night at home with your child

Your child will bring home a phonics decodable book at their reading level. Your child should be able to read these books on their own with at least 95% accuracy. Encourage your child to read and re-read these books over and over again in order to build up fluency when reading. Talk about what has been read in order to develop your child’s understanding of what they have read.

2. Practise reading and writing tricky words

If children know these they are more likely to gain speed and fluency in their reading.

3. Helping your children to practise their handwriting and letter formation.

It is important children are forming their letters the correct way round in order to join their handwriting later on.

4. Log into Bug Club

Every child in school also has a bug club log in which gives you access to interactive books and games. Ask your teacher if you need these details again.

Phonics Bug

Phonics and Reading Progression

Spelling at St John’s

As a school we use the scheme 'The Spelling Book' which has been developed by Jane Considine to teach spelling across key stage two.  The scheme uses a phonics style approach which encourages pupils to explore the sounds within words. It also provides pupils with opportunities to investigate the origins and associations of words. Pupils are encouraged to be word detectives and 'dig deeper' as they develop spelling strategies.


The video below comes directly from Jane Considine. Here she explains in further detail what the teaching of spelling looks like in school.