Phonics are a much debated educational approach.
Unlike many European languages English is not a naturally phonic language. This means that one cannot always read a word as it sounds, which in many European languages is normal. Research by some has been taken by the government to demand that phonics features as one main approach to the teaching of reading. They have also introduced a phonics test for year one children which is either pass or fail on reading a set of words based on phonetic sounds, some real words some made up. From this first years outcomes we have discovered that many excellent readers, reading at a high level fail the test as they do not use pure phonetics a their approach to words. Phonics is one useful tool in a range of tools we use to teach reading.
At Beatrix Potter we use two reading schemes.
The well respected and challenging Oxford Reading Tree. A colour coded scheme where reading schemes and books are combined at several levels to provide a range of reading materials. Our Phonetics scheme is letters and sounds. Combining this with a home reading scheme ensures our children are aiming high for reading.