“If a child memorises ten words, the child can only read ten words, but if the child learns the sounds of ten letters, the child will be able to read 350 3 sound words, 4320 4 sound words and 21650 five sound words” Kozloff 2002
We aim to create a love of reading, writing and spelling through our rigorous, consistent and enthusiastic approach to the teaching of phonics. Teachers and other adults have sufficient expertise and training in the teaching of phonics and reading, as well as a clear understanding of how children learn to read. We aspire that every child leaves our school with the skills of a competent reader, writer and speller.
We use a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics which incorporates the use of ‘real’ books, using the ‘Storytime Phonics’ scheme and the programme ‘Letters and Sounds’. We follow a four-part teaching sequence of “Revisit & Review, Teach, Practise and Apply”. As part of this, children have daily phonics sessions in smaller groups where they can participate in practical and play-based speaking, listening, reading and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs. Our phonics sessions teach the phonemes/graphemes using a focussed story, which is accompanied by an action, to make the sound more memorable to the children.
Teachers draw on observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support or rapid intervention to ensure no child is left behind. We introduce phonics as soon as the children start in EYFS and spend the first two weeks with a focus on Phase 1 skills before we move swiftly on to Phase 2. Children progress through the different phases at a pace appropriate to their ability. As they develop through their knowledge and understanding of phonics, alternative pronunciations and spellings will be introduced in Year 1 before moving onto spelling rules in Year 2.
Phonics is clearly linked with early reading. Children take home two reading books: one which is based on the GPCs taught in the week and which matches their phonic ability; and the second is a library book (that may be colour banded) which the children can share for pleasure, where they can apply their reading skills or share with an adult for enjoyment.
By the end of Reception, children are secure in all Phase 2 sounds and have a growing understanding of digraphs from Phase 3, with at least 10 secure. Children in Reception can read and write simple CVC words using Phase 4 learning. They can decode for reading and talk about the pictures and words they have read, showing good comprehension because the book is closely matched to their phonics ability.
By the end of Year 1, children are secure in their recognition of different sounds and are able to apply their knowledge to confidently blend for reading within a range of different texts. By the end of Year 2, children have the phonics knowledge, language comprehension and communication skills that will form the foundation of their future learning. For children who join our school after Year 2 with limited literacy skills, or children for whom phonics is still an appropriate vehicle to learn to read, write and spell, carefully planned interventions are provided to help them rapidly catch up to secure the skills they need in order to help them access the KS2 curriculum more independently.
Miss McFarland, Miss Sandhu and Mrs Fowler