The Teaching of Phonics

This all starts in Reception with phonics.
The scheme we use in school is Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics.

In order to bring this scheme to life, we enhance it with a variety of other resources. These include: Teach your Monster to Read, Phonics Play, our own rhymes for the sounds and many more. We also do an interactive parents’ session to support our parents in helping their children at home with their phonics, as well as uploading videos of the correct pronunciation onto our website.

The phonics teaching is split into ‘phases’ as detailed below:

PhasePhonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One
Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase Two
Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three
The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four
(Reception and Y1)
No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five
(Throughout Year 1 and re-visited if necessary in Year 2)
Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six
(Throughout Year 2 and beyond)
Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

In conjunction with the teaching of phonics we also give our children phonics based activities to take home at the appropriate level and phase. This helps consolidate what has been learnt in school and is a very personalised approach to match the individual need. From this point there are a number of other processes that happen to support early reading.

Phonics Assessment

Our phonics assessment is ongoing from when they start with single sounds (how many they know) and then this builds to blending and then digraph and trigraph. This is carried out individually.

Our Reading Schemes

Across our school our reading books are book banded. Bands are a proven approach to developing successful readers. The Book Band system helps schools to carefully grade their books by difficulty level. Most reading scheme books are given a Book Band colour by their publisher, which will be based on the book’s level of difficulty.
In Reception, year 1 and year 2, we have a number of book publishers to complement our very personalised approach to the teaching of reading. They are as follows:

  • Oxford Reading Tree
  • Bug Club Phonics
  • Collin’s Big Cat
  • Rigby Star
  • Usborne Phonics Readers
  • The Banana Range
  • Rhyme World
  • Get Reading Right

In KS2 our class libraries are all book banded and therefore this supports children in their own personal selection allowing them to develop ownership of their book choices, whilst still finding success and enjoyment in reading.

We also have a selection of books that supports our SEN pupils with high interest low reading age. We have a very good selection of books from Barrington Stoke. These books are expertly edited to ensure unnecessary words don’t hinder comprehension while the text will still challenge the reader, lots of illustration to break up the text and keep the story moving and short, sharp, unpatronising content matched to the age of the reader not their reading level. As well as this we also supplement the class libraries with challenging books from a range of authors.

Assessment of Reading

In Year 1 and up we assess the children using the benchmark system. Benchmarking is an essential resource to accurately track and assess pupils’ reading progress across the whole school, ensuring consistent and accurate book band levelling in reading.