Wilden VA Primary School uses a method of teaching called ‘synthetic Phonics’ to help children learn to read and spell. On this page you will find information on what synthetic phonics (known to the children as ‘Sounds Write’) is and how you can help your child develop this vital skill.
Phonics is one method of teaching children how to read and write. It’s all about sounds.
There are a limited number of sounds in English: forty-four, or forty-five depending on accent. As long as a phonics programme is anchored in those speech sounds and teaches from simple, for beginning readers and writers, to more complex. Sounds Write teaches children that all of the sounds they utter in every word have been assigned spellings.
The English code is the most complex and, for that reason, it needs to be taught systematically and explicitly from simple one-to-one sound spelling correspondences to the kinds of complexities that cause adults problems: that sounds can be spelled with multiple spellings and that many spellings can represent more than one sound.
Sounds-Write teaches all of the code, all of the skills required to use the code effectively in reading and writing, as well as teaching the conceptual understanding necessary to know how the code works.
Sounds Write Units
At Wilden VA Primary School, we use a teaching scheme called ‘Sounds Write’ to teach Synthetic Phonics.
It is taught in carefully structured, sequential steps from simple CVC words like sat to very much more complex, five- and six-syllable words like personification. It is taught in discrete, daily, 20 minute sessions, progressing from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills and covering all the major sound/spelling correspondences. We ensure our pupils are engaged in vigorous, interactive and enjoyable phonics activities that are also situated within a language-rich curriculum.
Teaching the Initial Code (Foundation Stage)
At the start of the programme, simple, one sound/one spelling, one-syllable, CVC words only are introduced. As the programme progresses, the complexity of one-syllable words is increased to four-, five- and six-sound words of the structure CVCC, CCVC, CCVCC/CCCVCC, before introducing the most common consonant digraphs.
The Sounds-Write programme teaches pupils to understand the way the alphabet code works. Very often, in the early stages of learning to read and spell, because of the complexity of the code, pupils will not be able to spell some sounds by using the correct spellings. However, pupils taught using Sounds-Write will be able to write almost anything they want to write by using plausible (phonetic) spellings for sounds. In this way, pupils, teachers and parents can read anything the pupil has written. As they progress through Key Stage 1, pupils learn systematically how words are spelled in English.
The Extended Code (Year 1) and Polysyllabic Words (Year 2)
All the remaining common vowel and consonant sound to spelling correspondences are taught until all the common spellings for the forty-four sounds in English have been covered. In parallel with this, pupils are taught how to read and spell polysyllabic words, progressing from two-syllable to five- and six-syllable words.