Recording Phonics using the Phonics Tracker in STEPS

Please note this is not where you record your Statutory Phonics Results, this is done here: Entering Statutory Phonics Data

Using the Phonics Tracker

The Phonics Tracker is a means of recording a student's progress when assessed against the phonics screening check. It allows for 6 phases of development and indicates whether a student is Working On or Secure at a particular level. The Phonics Tracker will list all students in a class allowing you to record a level on a particular date. 

To access the module please go to My Subjects > [Your Class] > Phonics Tracker.

Once here you should see something similar to the image below. To start recording your data simply adjust the date picker to the date when you assessed your students and click on the appropriate phase.

Once filled out, a report will then be available in Assessment Reporting showing each student position over each term: Reporting on Phonics Tracker data (entered via STEPS)

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Phonics Phases Explained

Phase One

Phase 1 of the Letters and Sounds phonics programme concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonics work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.

Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects. Each aspect contains three strands; tuning in to sounds, listening and remembering sounds and talking about sounds.

It is intended that each of the first six aspects should be dipped into, rather than going through them in any order, with a balance of activities. Aspect 7 will usually come later, when children have had plenty of opportunity to develop their sound discrimination skills.

Phase Two

In Phase 2, letters and their sounds are introduced one at a time. This phase covers 19 different grapheme- phoneme correspondences (GPCs).

Phoneme means the smallest unit of sound. There are 44 phonemes in English. Phonemes can be put together to make words.

Grapheme means the way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.

Knowing a GPC, means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa. 

Phase Three

By the time they reach Phase 3, children will already be able to blend and segment words containing the 19 sounds taught in Phase 2.

Over the twelve weeks which Phase 3 is expected to last, twenty-five new graphemes are introduced (one at a time), most of which consist of 2 letters. The children will now know one representation of each of 44 phonemes. Knowing these new sounds will help them to spell two syllable words.

Phase Four

When children start Phase Four of the Letters and Sounds phonics programme, they will know a grapheme for each of the 44 phonemes. They will be able to blend phonemes to read CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and segment in order to spell them.

Children will also have begun reading straightforward two-syllable words and simple captions, as well as reading and spelling some tricky words.

Blending- This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.

Oral Segmenting - This is the act of hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the phonemes that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words to spell them.

Segmenting - This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.

Phase Five

Children entering Phase Five will already be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and flask. They will also be able to read and spell some polysyllabic words (words containing more than one syllable).

In Phase Five, children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make.

Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ea in tea, head and break.

Phase Six

At the start of Phase Six of Letters and Sounds, children will have already learnt the most frequently occurring grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the English language. They will be able to read many familiar words automatically. When they come across unfamiliar words they will in many cases be able to decode them quickly using their well developed sounding and blending skills. With more complex unfamiliar words they will often be able to decode them by sounding them out.

At this stage children should be able to spell words phonetically although not always correctly. In Phase Six the main aim is for children to become more fluent readers and accurate spellers.

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