Welcome to the Ducklington phonics page. There are resources and ideas to help support your child through this very important stage of learning.
At Ducklington CE Primary School, we use Rocket phonics programme.
Rocket Phonics is a systematic synthetic phonics programme that has been written by phonics experts. It includes a combination of digital and printed resources, and two fully matched series of decodable reading books. The reading books we use have been carefully designed to appeal to the tastes and interests of children who are starting out on their reading journey. They include a variety of fiction and non-fiction, and have been carefully devised to provide practice and application of phonics knowledge and skills in full alignment with the classroom lessons.
This short video for parents, carers and families explains what the English alphabetic code is and how we teach it through the Rocket Phonics SSP programme.
Follow this link to the Rocket Phonics Advice for Parents page
- Phonics is taught for a minimum of 30 minutes daily.
- All staff are supported with regular phonics professional development training.
- A clear pathway is followed through the alphabetic code.
- Children are not asked to read texts by themselves that they can’t yet read.
- The Teaching & Learning Cycle (revisit and review, teach, practise, apply) is followed.
- Phonics is taught at letter-sound, word, sentence and text levels.
- Teachers focus on details, such as accurate modelling and pencil hold.
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:
- Phonemes: Each letter in the alphabet has a ‘name’ (a = ay, b = bee, c = see, etc), but spoken English uses about 44 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘s’ or ‘h’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘ear’).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.
What makes phonics tricky?
In some languages learning phonics is easy because each phoneme has just one grapheme to represent it. The English language is a bit more complicated than this. Obviously we only have 26 letters in the alphabet so some graphemes are made up from more than one letter, such as ch th oo ay. These are all digraphs (graphemes with two letters), but there are other graphemes that are trigraphs (made up of 3 letters, e.g. igh) and even a few made from 4 letters (e.g. ough).
Another slightly sticky problem is that some graphemes can represent more than one phoneme. For example ch makes very different sounds in these three words: chip, school, chef!
When learning to read the children are encouraged to pronounce letters in a slightly different way. This is called ‘precise pronunciation’ or ‘pure sounds’.
Some family members may find they are not sure about this new pronunciation as they were not taught this way when they learned to read.
It is really important for children that we all learn this new way as it will help them with their reading.