Phonics & Early Reading
Reception and Year 1 parents recently had the opportunity to visit phonics lessons being taught to their children to support their understanding of phonics. As ever, we asked for feedback which can be found here and includes a report from one of our governors who also attended.
We teach reading using the synthetic phonics approach which combines the acquisition of sounds (phonemes) and letter combinations (graphemes) for reading, with the developing use of these in writing. We have developed our own teaching & learning progression for Phonics that follows the phases outlined in "Letters & Sounds" & also incorporates all the Phonics & Spelling requirements of the National Curriculum for Key Stage One.
There are daily phonics lessons in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2. In EYFS and Year 1 there are also opportunities for children to practise phonics skills in continuous provision. Further consolidation and application of phonics skills taught in lessons takes place with individuals and groups regularly. In all classes shared & guided reading is also used to teach key reading skills appropriate for the ability of the class/group. Initially decoding is prioritised whilst developing fluency at every stage of phonics teaching which then allows us to have a greater focus on the teaching of comprehension skills.
Weekly formative assessments highlight children who are not keeping pace with teaching and then additional phonics / reading sessions are delivered on a daily basis to enable children to catch up and secure gaps that have appeared. We have developed our own intervention to improve reading fluency which we call: Reading Partners. This is where a teacher or teaching assistant acts as a child's partner for reading & regular sessions follow the same structure in order to build the child's ability to read words & texts fluently. In addition, we also track children half-termly to identify those needing additional support. Our Phonics Expectations Tracker can be found at the bottom of this page and outlines what we expect children to be able to do by the end of each half term from Reception to Year 2.
Children who have not achieved the expected standard in the Year 1 Phonics Screening receive additional phonics sessions in Year 2 to enable them to pass by the end of Year 2. Individual phonics provision continues into Key Stage 2 in the unlikely event that children have not passed the test by the end of Year 2.
Once the children become more confident, these assessments extend to include the ability to:
- tackle a wider range of unfamiliar texts
- show understanding of what they are reading
- predict an unfamiliar word through understanding on what they are reading
- predict what might happen next based on what they have already read
- recall events and characters in the text they are reading.
Our reading scheme consists of titles from Pearson Phonics Bug, Oxford Reading Tree and Rigby. The books are organised by phonics phase and include a range of genres e.g. fiction, non-fiction, poetry and play scripts. Children read books that are matched to the phonics phase that they are working within. Staff monitor this closely to ensure children are only asked to read books requiring the level of phonics or tricky words that they are familiar with. Specific texts from these schemes are selected in Reception & Year One and used a focus texts for Shared & Guided Reading. Copies are then sent home for further reading at an independent level, thus supporting our focus on developing fluent readers that enjoy and take pleasure in reading.
Updated September 2022 BB