Phonics at Castle Hill

Phonics at Castle Hill

At Castle Hill Primary School we use a phonics scheme that we have created ourselves called

Fishing for Phonics

Fishing for Phonics

The scheme is systematic in introducing the children to phonics in a structured order, linking the phoneme (sound) to letter formation.
In Early Years the children are introduced to daily phonics sessions in the first few weeks of starting school.
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) suggests:

“Phonics approaches have been consistently found to be effective in supporting younger readers to master the basics of reading, with an average impact of an additional four months’ progress. Research suggests that phonics is particularly beneficial for younger learners (4-7 year olds) as they begin to read.”

In KS1 the children also take part in daily phonics sessions to further develop their phonic knowledge.
In KS2 the children develop their phonics skills in our spelling and grammar programme (see link to English section).
At Castle Hill we have linked learning to read with learning to write and form letters correctly. By teaching letter formation in groups according their formation patterns, we can build sequentially on the motor pathways. And when we do this, we continually reinforce how the letters are formed.
This means that we can lay down the motor pathways for letter formation more efficiently.

Examples of letter formation:

Letter Formations

We teach the children a rhyme and action for the letter formation to help them learn the letter (grapheme) by seeing it, hearing it and by ‘doing it’ (kinesthetic).
Alongside introducing the phonemes (sounds) and the graphemes (the written letters) we also teach the children to blend and segment, which are the first steps in reading.

Castle Hill’s teaching order of phonemes:

Wave 1:
c o d g a s e i l t f j ff ll ss p r m h n

Wave 2:
ch u b sh ng th y k ck tch x z v w qu zz

Wave 3:
oo (moon) ow (cow) oi or oa oo (hook) ai ar air ee er (ladder) ear (dear) igh ur (curl) ure

Wave 4:
ue (blue) ou (out) oy (boy) aw (saw) ow (grow) au (haunt) ay (day) ew (new) are (care) ea (meat) ore (more) ey (monkey) ie (tie) ir (girl) wh (when) ph (photo) ve (live) nk ear (bear) oe (Joe) a-e e-e i-e o-e u-e

Wave 5:
o (cold), c (cent), g (giant), i (find), ie (field), ea (bread), er (herb), u (put), se (mouse) ou (group)

Wave 6:
a (what, squash), y (fly), ch (school) ch (chef), sc (scissors) ou ( shoulder), ou (could), y (very?), wr, (wrist), dge (judge), ge (cage), kn (knee), gn (gnome), wr (wrist), -le (little), -el (camel), -al (metal), -il (fossil), al (always), all (ball), o (mother), or after w (=er e.g. word), ar after w (=or e.g. warm), -tion (station), mb (lamb), s (zh) (measure, vision) y (myth) ey (prey)

Our phonics scheme has links with the government’s “Letters and Sounds” document. Although in our scheme the children will not learn the phonemes in the same order as “Letters and Sounds” they will be at a similar level by the end of Wave 2. Thus our children will be able to read books to practise and consolidate their learning of phonics with the books we have in our school reading library. We understand the importance of having a direct link between the phonics learnt during phonics sessions and the books available to read.
Phonics is an important component in the development of early reading skills, However, we recognise that it is also important that children are successful in making progress in all aspects of reading including vocabulary development, comprehension and spelling, which should be taught separately and explicitly. (see our English link to find out more about Reading, vocabulary and spelling).