Children are taught phonics at least 4 days per week in short sessions of about 15 minutes. This teaching is to help with their reading and their spelling. It is important to get the children to make as much progress as possible because the new tests at the end of Year 2 rely on the children's ability to read - show Reading, Spelling, Spelling Punctuation and Grammar Test, Maths test.
Phonics teaching technical words: a phoneme - this is the sound it makes. It is important not to lengthen the sound or it makes blending difficult.
a grapheme - this is the way a phoneme is written such as 'ee'. There can be different graphemes that represent the same phoneme - 'ee' 'ea' 'e-e'. The last of these is sometimes called the 'magic e' or a 'split digraph'.
When children start in Year 1 they are taught/retaught the 'Phase 5' graphemes such as ay, ou, ea, ir - see the summary sheet. Phonics lessons begin with a quick re-cap of known phonemes - flash cards. Sometimes all of phase 4 are re-capped or phase 5 or just ones that children are finding tricky. New graphemes are often introduced with the help of the videos on Espresso - see KS1, English, Phonics. They are reminded of the grapheme that they already know if they are being introduced to an alternative grapheme. They will take turns reading words which include the new grapheme eg Countdown. The learning is reinforced by practising writing the grapheme in a word - eg 'ay' the children go through a pattern of My turn, Our turn, Your turn using their fingers to help sound out (segment) a word p-l-ay and they then write it on their whiteboard. Tray, spray, day, say - notice where this grapheme is in the word. The children often write the new grapheme in a sentence eg Is it good to play with hay? The learning of a new phoneme is reinforced over several days with more practise of reading words and by doing sorting activities - Espresso, worksheets. They look at how common the grapheme is and where it appears in a word. Phase 5 also includes alternative pronunciations and spellings - see summary sheet or Espresso phonics.
In June in Year 1 the children have Phonics Screening test. This consists of 20 real words and 20 alien words. This tests the children's ability to use phonics to read single words, to read two-syllable words and to read words which include groups of consonants eg stream, grasp, thirst etc.
Once the children have finished their Phase 5 phonic lessons they have a practise Phonics Screening Test. This highlights where they need extra practise. All the children continue to have reinforcement of reading phase 5 phonemes, consonant clusters and words of several syllables. Activities such as Obb and Bob get them used to reading both real and alien words on their own. Phoneme Spotter texts reinforce the graphemes which can be used to make the same sound. Those children who do not do well in the trial phonic screening are given extra intervention sessions to help them. These include using Dandelion Reading books which focus on particular phonemes and have games with them. There are also games such as Hot Potato and choosing the write phoneme to complete the word/picture card.
The children are taught many spelling patterns eg whether to add s or es for plurals, adding ed,er and est to the end of words and the adding of the prefix -un to change the meaning. children also continue to learn to read and write common exception words such as where, come, friend, were, there ... In Year 2 there are now many more spelling patterns that the new curriculum requires the children to learn eg dge,ge or g, adding ies make the plural of words ending in y eg cries, babies. See English Appendix 1: Spelling. You can see examples of many grammar and spelling activities relating to these requirements at Espresso KS1 English Spelling.