Phonics is Fun! Every class, from EYFS to Year 2, has a 30 minute daily session with a focus on Phonics. The teaching is fun, fast paced and multi-sensory. Phonics is planned using Letters and Sounds, a widely-used and effective resource created and produced by the Department of Education, which provides the basis for our systematic, clear teaching of sounds and spelling patterns. During phonics time, children may be placed within groups to maximise their potential.
Our children begin with Letters and Sounds games to develop their listening skills and encourage them to explore sounds in speech. The first step in learning to read and write is to learn the letter sounds. These are the building blocks for making words, both written and spoken. Initially, the children are taught the letter sounds, rather than the letter names. Once the letter sounds are secure, they are introduced to the letter names and to capital letters.
Blending is another skill that the children are taught. Blending is the ability to run sounds together to hear a word and is essential for reading. Children also learn to read and write ‘tricky’ words (words which cannot be sounded out) and are supported in broadening their vocabulary. Once the children are confident with blending sounds together the children will be introduced to the alternative pronunciations of the sounds learnt and spelling patterns and rules will be taught alongside this.
In the Summer Term, every Year 1 child will take a statutory Phonics Screening Check. This is a phonics based check where the children will be expected to read 40 simple, de-codable words including nonsense words. This is a progress check to identify those children who are at the expected level in their phonics. The results will be reported to parents. Children will be rechecked in Year 2 if they do not reach the expected level. All children (unless they have a specific Special Educational Need or Disability) leave Key Stage 1 at or above the expected level in their phonics skills.
To enhance the teaching of phonics, phonics based reading books, are used throughout Early years and Key Stage 1, for both home and guided reading. These are drawn from a variety of schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree or Songbird Phonics. Home reading books are organised into colour bands and the children progress through the colour bands throughout Early years and Key Stage 1. The early colour bands have a high focus on different phonic readers.