In the Foundation Stage, we focus on phonics, listening to sounds, identifying sounds, recognising sounds as letters and using letters to make words. Phonics is a way of teaching children to read by breaking up words into small chunks of sound.
It begins in Foundation 1 with listening to and hearing different sounds, sounds around us and letter sounds for words. In Foundation 2, as the children learn to recognise sounds as individual and groups of letters, they begin to blend and segment to make and read simple words and sentences. They learn through repetition and a variety of different games and activities, both inside and outside as you can see from our photos. We have been writing letters, using chalk, pens and iPads this year. The children have especially enjoyed using the Jolly Phonics app and phonicsplay.co.uk, as well as bingo games and cutting and sticking activities.
As some of the children are now beginning to read, they are applying and developing their use of phonics to use the sounds, segment and then blend them to make words, which are part of sentences. They also learn tricky words: to, no, go, into, was, we, be and you amongst many others.
When phonics is taught in a structured way, starting with the easiest sounds, progressing through to the most complex, it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. Almost all children who go through a thorough learning of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. In order to become really successful readers, children need to not only learn to use phonics and recognise tricky words, but to have an enjoyment of books, to want to read, whether stories or information books. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for pleasure.