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What is phonics?

Why is phonics so important?

What does a phonics lesson at St Mary Magdalen’s look like?

We teach phonics using the validated systematic synthetic programme ‘Rocket Phonics.’ Rocket phonics is a story-based approach to the teaching of phonics. Phonics is taught daily in Early Years and Key Stage 1.
If you would like to know more about this scheme please follow the link below:



How can you help at home?

In the first half term after you child starts in our Reception, we will run a phonics workshop where you can find out more and watch how a phonics lesson is taught. At this meeting, you will be given the resources that can be used to help support your child at home with phonics. Below are some resources (sound mats and tricky words mats for each phase) that you could use at home to help your child practise. Regular reading with your child will also support their early reading and writing development.


This video may be helpful to further explain the phonics scheme as well as giving examples of the letter sounds we teach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyGQY_GHtoQ

A parent guide to some of the terms we use:

  • Blending: This skill is essential for reading. It’s when the individual sounds are run together so they make a word. E.g. J – a – m is blended to become jam.
  • Digraph: Two letters that make one sound e.g. sh in fish
  • Grapheme: A letter or group of letters that is used to write one sound. E.g. The sound igh can be written using the grapheme igh as in knight, i-e as in knife or ie as in tie
  • Phoneme: This is a single sound, usually articulated with one mouth movement. Eg. C or ee
  • Segmenting: This skill is essential for spelling. It’s when a word is broken down into its individual sounds. E.g. I can say the word pig and hear it is made up of the sounds p – i – g
  • Split digraph: This is a type of grapheme. It is a group of two letters split up, used to make one sound. E.g. i-e as in like
  • Trigraph: This is a type of grapheme. It is a group of three letters together, used to make one sound. e.g. igh as in bright
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