Phonics

At St. Clare’s, we recognise that mastery in phonics is fundamental to children being able to access a broad range of fiction and non-fiction texts and also equips them with the skills needed in other areas of the curriculum. We aim to achieve this by teaching phonics systematically with rigour and pace, identifying learners who need extra support early.

We have implemented the synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised; this is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. 

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP). We prioritise the teaching of phonics; we teach phonics daily in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. It is vitally important that children review and revisit Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) and words, daily, weekly and across terms and years, in order to move this knowledge into the children’s long-term memory. Children will learn four new GPCs every week. At St Clare’s we understand that consistency is key in  ensuring that children are given the best possible foundation for reading, writing and language skills. All staff teaching phonics will teach to the same format so that as children move from year to year there are no changes. This in turn diminishes cognitive overload. 

Children need to learn to read as quickly and reasonably as possible, so that they can move from learning to read, to reading to learn, opening up new worlds and adventures to them. At St Clare’s we aim to have all children in Reception blending by Christmas. We have high expectations for all our pupils and therefore all children are taught GPCs at the same time. Any children needing extra support are identified quickly and given keep up lessons. These children are then reassessed after 3 weeks to check progress.

On-going assessment of children’s progress takes place in every lesson and half termly assessments are also carried out (every 6 weeks). The books children read in school and take home to read are fully decodable and matched to children’s secure phonic knowledge. When children take the book home they will be 95% fluent in what they are reading and will have completed three reading sessions with a teacher/teaching assistant. As well as fully decodable books, children take home a non-decodable book for sharing that can be either read to or with them. These books play an essential role in developing a love of reading and language; an important distinction is that these books are being shared with the children, but they are using fully phonically decodable books to practise their independent reading.

The table below is a summary based on the phonics progression:

Phase Phonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One (Nursery) 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 (Reception) Autumn 1 and 2 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 (Reception) Spring 1 and 2 Graphemes such as ai, ee, igh 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) Summer 1 and 2 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) 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 in line with the National Curriculum. This is in line with Spelling Shed.

You can find resources to support your child with their letter sounds, reading and letter formation by visiting the Little Wandle website – https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/resources/for-parents/

 

Reading 

Reading is of high importance at St Clare’s. We aim to establish a love of reading in all our children. Reading opens doors to the world and allows children to develop their imaginations, increase their vocabulary and confidence. At St Clare’s we dedicate time every day  to a love of reading session. This session is a non negotiable and children find great enjoyment in being part of it. During this session, children listen to their class teacher read – demonstrating their own love of reading and modelling prosody and the skills needed to be a good reader. Children are exposed to different authors, text types and new vocabulary. Reading is also embedded within the English teaching cycle, with lessons taught matched to specific genres.

Once children have completed phonics, and are secure in all phases, they will begin to read books on the Accelerated Reader scheme. Children will have an initial assessment that will assess their reading age and give a ZPD level for children to read at. After children have read each book, they will be asked questions (via an ipad) to check understanding and comprehension.

Children in Year 2-6 also take part in control the game reading sessions. The class are given a  text and are asked at random to read different parts, which have been pre selected and planned by the teacher.

Children in Year 1 -6 also take part in a reading assessment every term. These are to go alongside the information gained in reading lessons and accelerated reader assessments.