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Welcome to Reading & Phonics at St John’s.

At St. John’s we follow ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ which is a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme, validated by the Department for Education.

The aim of ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ is very clear – getting all children to read well, quickly. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words. Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers.

What is phonics?

  • A method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning to associate letters or letter groups with the sounds they represent.
  • There are 44 main sounds in the English language. Each sound is represented by a grapheme (the written representation of the sound).

How is phonics taught at St John’s?

Phonics is taught in a systematic, interactive and engaging way. We use a simple, consistent approach to teaching phonics. Your child will experience the same classroom routines within each lesson which reduces cognitive load and maximises the chances of success. All children are supported within the lesson to use their new phonic knowledge independently. Children are then given time to further apply their phonics, to carefully matched texts that they can reread, and subsequently, develop their fluency.

Pronouncing pure sounds

We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds we will make reading harder for our chil- dren. Below are videos for phases 2 and 3 of the phonics scheme. They demonstrate the pronunciation of a letter and how it should verbally be translated to a sound, it is vital that when children are learning phonics they are producing the sound rather than the letter name.