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Our Approach to Phonics and Reading

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)/Key Stage 1 (KS1) Phonics strategy

 

We teach phonics using Department of Education “Letters and Sounds” document, progressing through the phases as set out in the document. This document can be found at: 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/190599/Letters_and_Sounds_-_DFES-00281-2007.pdf

 

In EYFS children begin Letters and Sounds at the phases in which they enter (mostly phase 2) and are taught to phase 3. 

We do not use one particular phonics ‘scheme’ but use the Letters and Sounds document supported by a range of resources that fit the purpose of the session. 

Delivery of phonics

Phonics is taught in a daily discrete lesson of 20 minutes. Each lesson is split into 4 parts:

Revisit/Revise (where previous learning is reviewed and revisited, such as blending to read words with the digraph “oy” in words: boy, toys, enjoy, alloy)

 

Teach (new grapheme-phoneme correspondence (how written letters represent sounds), such as learning that the letters which form the digraph “aw” together are pronounced “or” in words: saw, paw, jaw, law, claws, yawning.  We also teach that “tricky” words such as here, there and come need to be read by sight)

 

Practise (activity time where the words or graphemes that have been taught are practised through games, reading activities, spelling challenges)

 

Apply (read or write a sentence or text which contains the words or graphemes that have been taught)

Phonics lessons throughout KS1 are grouped by ability with targeted support being provided throughout the lesson. 

Intervention for phonics

Children who are assessed as being at risk of not meeting the expected standard in the Year 1 phonics screening check as Year 1 pupils, are taught by a teacher and attend phonics intervention sessions in the spring and summer terms; these sessions are delivered by a Learning Support Assistant..

Those children who did not meet the expected standard in the Year 1 phonics screening check receive extra phonics intervention in Year 2 to address gaps in their learning.  This type of intervention depends on the need of the pupils but may include:

1:1 phonic recognition session

Separate phonics lessons

Small group reading session

Precision teaching

Ongoing assessment

In EYFS teachers track pupils identifying the elements within the phase they are working in that they are secure in.  This is updated every half term. 

Year 1 pupils take part in a “practice” phonics screening check each half term.  Graphemes which are being frequently misread are noted in order for teachers to target interventions appropriately.  

Year 2 pupils who did not pass the screening check in Year 1 are assessed termly using past screening checks.  This information is also then used to target interventions.

Embedding phonics

We aim to embed phonics learning in all lessons.  Children are encouraged to ‘have a go’ at using their sounds to spell when writing and to blend when reading.  High Frequency words are made available to all pupils and letter sounds are displayed in classrooms. 

When modelling reading or writing, all adults model the use of phonics to help with spelling and decoding, so that children are given an explicit model of how their phonics knowledge gained from a discrete phonics lesson can be used to help then to tackle all reading and writing tasks.

Reading books

All children are given two reading books per week which are changed weekly.  They are encouraged to read both fiction and non-fiction texts.

We do not have one scheme of books but have a range of phonics-based texts from a wide range of commercial schemes including:

1.Phonics Bug/Bug Club

2.Big Cat

3.Oxford Reading Tree phonics

All reading books are colour banded with the earlier colours being phonics-based books linked to the above schemes.  The higher-level, more challenging books have a mixture of texts to enable the children to develop as fluent, motivated and lifelong readers who enjoy reading for pleasure. 

Whole class reading

Whole class reading takes place in Year 1 and 2 through ‘Book Talk’.  The use of phonics for blending is the main strategy children use for decoding any unknown words. In both year 1 and Year 2 these lessons focus on reading and comprehension skills.  Reading skills are modelled further by the teacher during daily story time.