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When do you start phonics in Rec?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by german_1, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. german_1

    german_1 New commenter

    Please forgive the ignorance, but I wanted to see what others do. We have been in school for two weeks and I would like to start jolly phonics this coming week. Looking at letters and sounds it appears as though we do 4 sounds a week. Is this right? Do you spend any time devoted purely to phase one?
    Any advice would be great.
  2. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I spend the first weeks assessing the children's abilities in Phase 1. We do some simple activities for each aspect (eg. listening lotto, rhyming games, oral blending) so that I can find out what the children can do and what they struggle with.

    If lots of the children struggle with the Phase 1 activities, then there is no point starting Phase 2 just yet. If they can't hear that 'sock', 'snake' and 'sausage' all start with the same sound, they are going to learn little from being told the grapheme 's' makes the sound /s/ - because they can't yet hear the sound /s/ properly. Similarly, if they can't hear that they need to touch their toes when you say "Touch your /t/-/oa/-/s/", they are also not ready to start focusing on individual letter sounds. They need more practice at Phase 1 activities.

    If lots of children are confident with the Phase 2 activities, then they are ready to begin Phase 2. Of course you should also be including Phase 1 activities in your phonics lessons, which will support those few who are not yet confident.

    Letters and Sounds suggests introducing 4 sounds a week, but you need to take it at the right pace for your children. I find that, sometimes, it takes a bit longer initially for the children to get the idea of what they are learning, so you might want to do just 2 or 3 sounds the first week; but once they get into it, you can pick up the pace and cover 4 sounds in a week. Once you begin looking at digraphs I slow right down, as these are much more complicated for the children - as well as being combinations of letters, which is obviously trickier than just a single letter, they usually come in the middle of a word, which is harder for children to hear than initial or final sounds. The children need time to consolidate what they have learned before moving on to the next combination.

    I am also thinking about beginning Phase 2 teaching next week, so you are not too early, as long as you are confident in your assessment that the children are ready.

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