Phonics

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss

Intent

At Weetwood we recognise reading as a key life skill, which underpins access to the rest of the curriculum. Our aim is for all pupils to read words and simple sentences by the end of Reception, become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1 and develop a lifelong love of reading as they move through school. The document ‘Letters and Sounds’ provides a basis for our systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, but this has been enhanced and adapted to meet the needs of the children in our school and is given a high priority throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1. Pupils need to learn key phonic knowledge and develop skills in segmenting and blending to complete the phonics check at the end of Year 1 and as part of developing fluency in reading. We also value and encourage pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills – enjoying success and gaining confidence from a positive experience.

Implementation

Through the teaching of phonics, following the schools carefully planned long term overview, the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from Nursery up to Year 2. Nursery work on ‘Phase One’ phonics, which concentrates on developing their speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the rest of the phonics curriculum.  Phonics is taught daily to all pupils in Reception and Key Stage 1. Phonics teaching is systematic, engaging, lively and interactive.

Each phonics lesson includes the following elements:

  • Revisit/review – Recapping the previous graphemes and words

  • Teach – Introducing new graphemes or words.

  • Practise – Developing GPCs, (Grapheme phoneme correspondences) read and spell new words.

  • Apply – Use new graphemes and words in games and activities to secure knowledge.

  • Assess – Monitoring progress within in each phase to inform planning.

 

Staff systematically teach pupils the relationships between sounds and the grapheme/phoneme correspondence which represents them. In Reception, phonics is taught through daily whole class teaching input and small group activities. Staff ensure phonics is an integrated part of all learning in Reception, making links across the Early Years Curriculum. In Year 1 and Year 2, phonics is taught in differentiated groups ensuring that pupils are always working on targeted objectives to ensure they have no gaps in their knowledge and adequate challenge if required.

 

Pupils have regular reading sessions with an adult to ensure they are practising and applying their phonics knowledge. This includes extra one to one reading for those children who are most vulnerable to enable them to catch up and meet age related expectations. In EYFS the continuous provision matches pupils’ current knowledge and understanding, whilst ensuring that pupils are suitably challenged. In Year 1 and Year 2, all pupils also take part in carousel guided reading activities which further promotes accurate decoding, essential comprehension skills and enjoyment of reading. 

Home school links are an important part in our pupils’ journeys to becoming fluent readers. We promote this by providing phonics information evenings, reading events and the use of reading records to ensure that children are reading at home. Children have phonically decodable reading books matched to their phonics knowledge which they are encouraged to read regularly at home to ensure that their fluency is developed. Books are chosen from our reading scheme – Pearson Bug Club.

Extra support is provided to those in Year 2 and into Key Stage 2, where appropriate, for those who have not passed the phonics screening in Year 1 and interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels. This involves support from the SENCO, intervention programmes, such as Nessy and individual pupil support plans.

Teachers regularly assess pupils’ phonics knowledge using the online programme, Phonics Tracker. These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning.

Impact

As a result of high quality phonics provision, pupils make good progress from their starting points. The vast majority are ready for the next stage in their education as they transfer through Early Years, Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2.  Pupils will enjoy listening to adults read and develop a love of reading, gaining satisfaction from their growing success in developing independence and fluency.

Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1.

We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our phonics and reading curriculum goes beyond the results of statutory assessments and can be seen in success across the curriculum as pupils’ progress through school.