Phonics & Early Reading
"I think the effort being made to engage parents with phonics and reading has been great and I’m impressed how quickly my son has picked it up.”
“Brilliant teaching – watching the teacher and support staff keeping all children engaged at the same time, using praise and encouragement.” (Reception Parent after observing a live phonics lesson)
“These sessions are so useful but it also just feels special to me as a parent coming into school and seeing Mrs Robinson teach with such brilliant energy & enthusiasm.” (Year One Parent after observing a live phonics lesson)
Reception and Year 1 parents have an opportunity annually to visit phonics lessons being taught to their children to support their understanding of phonics and therefore be able to support their child even more effectively with reading at home. Our recent series of live lessons was met with overwhelmingly positive feedback from all parents; the results of which can be found at the bottom of this page. Parents often ask for a link to the songs we use to introduce each sound in Reception so this is included at the bottom of the page. One of our English link governors also attended & observed phonics being taught in Year 1 and Year 2 and conducted some pupil voice sessions too. His report can be found at the bottom of this page also.
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.
Here are videos showing the different parts of a Reception Phonics Lesson:
Here is a video of a typical Year One Phonics Lesson:
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 dedicate a Level 3 Teaching Assistant to this role in Key Stage One. 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. 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 Rigby & Rhino Readers. 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.
Schoolreaders recruits, places and supports volunteers in local primary schools to give children one-to-one reading support on a weekly basis, boosting their literacy skills, confidence, and reading fluency. We’re proud to be a partner school, able to provide our pupils with this valuable extra reading time each week! Currently we have one volunteer working with children in our Year 2 class.
Updated December 2023
Early Reading & Phonics Leader