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Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (graphemes).

In UK primary schools, phonics is the primary method that is used for teaching reading and writing in the English language. It is based on developing learners' phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate phonemes—in order to teach the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns that represent them. Once children can hear phonemes and identify the corresponding graphemes, they can be taught to use this phonic knowledge to create words by blending from left to right, for example, ‘c – a – t’, blended together gives ‘cat’.

As the number of phonemes and corresponding graphemes that the children know increases, so does the number of words they can decode (read) and subsequently construct (spell then write). Phonics is essential for children to become successful readers, spellers and writers in the early years of schooling and beyond. In the first three years of their school life, it is a requirement that all children should have a daily lesson of phonics. Over these years (and beyond in certain cases), a systematic synthetic approach should be followed in order that the best possible outcomes are available for all children. It is vitally important that children are taught phonics in a systematic and synthetic way.

The definition of systematic phonics teaching is the direct teaching of a set of grapheme phoneme correspondence (GPC) in a clearly defined sequence. If phonics teaching is truly systematic, the order is such that children become confident and successful readers, spellers and writers in a very short amount of time.

At Ettington, we use the DfE approved Monster Phonics scheme to support the teaching and learning of Phonics and Early Reading.