Reading and Phonics
The Teaching of Reading
Reading is an essential life skill and as a result we place strong emphasis on children becoming confident, strong readers who enjoy reading for purpose and pleasure.
In our Reception classes, Year 1 and year 2, phonics is used as a crucial tool for helping children to become competent readers early in their school life. You can read more about how phonics is taught below.
In reception children learn key skills such as how to handle books and that print carries meaning. They explore a range of books including fiction and non-fiction and learn to explore their structure. Author boxes provide children with vital opportunities to learn about a range of authors and illustrators and to read new titles by familiar authors. Children regularly read aloud to adults and in turn listen to adult read to them.
In KS1 and KS2 children take part in a weekly VIPERS lesson. These lessons focus on a range of skills including structure and organisation of texts, comprehension, inference and deduction using a range of fiction and non-fiction text types. Each child receives focused reads with their teacher based around developing a specific reading skill. Children will also take part in reading sessions with their teacher. These sessions are used to read texts that can be decoded by the children and help to consolidate the learning from children's phonics lessons.
The Teaching of Phonics
What is phonics?
Phonics is a systematic way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Whilst there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, spoken English uses about 42 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by a letter or group of letters (graphemes). The teaching of phonics begins by teaching children the letter sounds in isolation and then building up to blending the sounds together to read whole words. In turn children are then able to use their phonic skills to segment words to support with spelling.
How is phonics taught at our school?
Our approach to teaching phonics is through using ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ which is a complete phonics programme taught throughout the EYFS and Key Stage one. This is an exciting way of teaching phonics which has colourful, child-friendly resources to complement the teaching of each new phoneme. There are also Big Cat Collins books which are used alongside the lessons to enable the children to read books that contain the phonemes that they have been taught. These are sent home as home readers and also shared in school in adult led reading sessions.
Every child in Reception and Key Stage One receives daily focused phonics sessions. This is also provided for children in Key Stage 2 who require additional support with phonics. We aim for our lessons to be fast paced, engaging and fun. Each week there is a review day to ensure children's understanding of the phonemes taught that week and there is also a review week at the end of each half term to consolidate the children's learning. We expect children to use the skills they have acquired through phonics teaching in all reading, writing and spelling activities, therefore we ensure that phonics is embedded in all areas of our curriculum.
Our daily phonics lessons also include the teaching of ‘tricky words’. These are words that cannot be read phonetically e.g. should
The Year One phonics screening
The phonics screening check is a short, simple assessment to make sure that all pupils have learned phonic decoding to an appropriate standard by the age of 6. The check comprises a list of 40 words and non-words which the child will read one-to-one with a teacher.