The teaching of phonics
The teaching of Phonics is an integral part of the curriculum in the Foundation Stage and Years 1-3. We follow Curriculum 2014, where children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. As the children grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound, eg ‘ee’ can be represented as ‘ee’, ‘ea’, ‘e-e’, ‘e’ … The teaching of phonics is of high priority to all teachers as it enables pupils to decode for reading and encode for spelling. The children also learn a variety of other key words by sight.
We ensure that our teaching of phonics is rigorous, structured and enjoyable. Children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, can practise and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have.
We use a mix of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children, including the use of interactive whiteboards, magnetic letters, speaking and listening, songs, rhymes and practical activities. Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the curriculum with any reading or writing activities.
Alongside the teaching of Phonics, children have access to a language rich environment where they are able to apply their decoding skills and develop language comprehension in order to ‘read’.
Foundation Stage 2 sees the learning of phonics through discreet daily lessons. Foundation Stage 1 have regular phonic activities linked to Phase 1. Pupils have opportunities to develop their communication, language and literacy skills on a daily basis in both adult led and child initiated activities.
Key Stage 1
In Key Stage 1, daily discrete phonics lessons continue and are taught in ability groups. Handwriting is taught and practised daily, with links made to the current work in phonics. Ability groups are fluid to ensure children make the best progress possible with the most suitable provision.
Key Stage 2
In Year 3, pupils who have failed to reach the expected standard in the phonics screening test are closely monitored and targeted through phonics intervention. These pupils are expected to reach the required standard during Year 3. Personalised support is put in place for individuals who do not reach this standard.
Teachers model reading strategies during shared reading sessions, whilst children have the opportunity to develop reading strategies and discuss texts in detail during guided reading sessions. These sessions feed directly into assessment opportunities, ensuring assessment happens regularly and accurately.
A range of reading schemes are used to support reading progression throughout school. Our main reading scheme in school is "The Oxford Reading Tree" which includes Fireflies (non-fiction), Songbirds (phonetic reading) and Project X books. Alongside these the scheme is supplemented by a range of "real books". Children are encouraged to read at home on a daily basis.
Pupils in the Foundation Stage 2 classes take home a book from a reading scheme when staff decide they are ready. Children in Foundation stage 1 are encouraged to take home a story book to share with their parents. In KS1 children take home a book from a reading scheme, usually ‘The Oxford Reading Tree’ or an ability defined text. In addition to this children have school library visits where independent choice is encouraged. Each child has a reading folder and a home school link reading book that parents are encouraged to read with their children and sign.
In Key Stage 2 children choose books to take home and read. We also have a selection of banded books from years three to six to support appropriate text choices. Children in Upper Key Stage 2 are encouraged to make more independent choices with their reading.
We recognise the importance of parental involvement in developing children’s reading abilities. We therefore invite parents from across the school to stay and read with their children. This begins in Nursery and is organised by our Family Support Worker.
RED TED (read every day, talk every day) is a reading reward scheme which we currently use in Years 1 to encourage children to read at home. It is centred around a teddy called RED TED, because we want children to Read Every Day and Talk Every Day. The scheme is very simple. All children have to do is read at home and have their Home School Diary signed by an adult. Where a pupil’s diary is signed 3 times in a week, the pupil will receive a date on their REDTED record card. Once the record card is complete, the pupil will win a REDTED teddy. On completing a second record card, they will receive a scarf for their teddy. On completing a third record card, the pupil will be invited for afternoon tea with the Head Teacher.
Where any pupil presents as a concern in early reading or phonics, they will be identified for support within our daily intervention groups. These take place before school with a teaching assistant. Adult-pupil ratios in these groups are kept to 1:4 to enable maximum pupil progress.