At Manor Court Community Primary School we aim to develop the full potential of all our pupils as confident, literate readers and writers; to enable children to learn phonic knowledge and skills with the expectation that they will become fluent readers, having secured word building and recognition skills. For children to develop as competent readers and writers, it is essential that they have a secure understanding of the letter sounds and spelling system of the English language. Phonics skills are developed through planned, systematic lessons which then lead to the enjoyment of a variety of books, the appreciation of different genres and the ability to access information independently.
Our primary aims are:
The principles of the letters and sounds programme
At our school we follow Letters and Sounds from Foundation Stage, through KS1 and into KS2 where needed. The programme focuses on securing word recognition skills, essential for children to decode (read) and encode (spell) words accurately and language comprehension. The approach is systematic, consistent and rigourous and is carefully structured into developmental phases, allowing all children to become readers as quickly as possible.
We deliver Letters and Sounds teaching with support from Jolly Phonics resources. The alphabetic code is taught first with children learning new sounds and practising the pronunciation and blending of these sounds on a daily basis. The Jolly Phonics simple actions and songs help the children to grasp the letter sounds quickly.
We use phonics mats with the children that support the work undertaken during the specific phonics teaching sessions and support the children whenever they are writing, in successfully applying their developing phonetic knowledge. These mats show the different graphemes that can be used to represent given phonemes and are colour coded to show the children which are the most common grapheme choices for the phoneme as well as which are more often found at the ends of words.
The sessions are delivered to ensure participation and engagement resulting in high- quality phonic work on a daily basis to help practitioners and teachers ensure that by the end of Key Stage 1 children develop fluent word reading skills and good foundations in spelling.
Progression and delivery
The six phases of the Letters and Sounds document provides a structure for the teachers to follow and plan children’s progression. The teachers adapt their planning and deliver their teaching to meet the needs of the children within their class. The teacher’s individual assessment of individual children will inform the rate at which the children are progressing through the phases and highlight any need for intervention to secure expected progress and attainment. High-quality phonic teaching secures the crucial skills of word recognition that, once mastered, enables children to read fluently and automatically. Once children are fluent readers, they are able to concentrate on the meaning of the text. Children need to acquire secure and automatic decoding skills and progress from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ for purpose and pleasure. The ultimate goal of learning to read is comprehension.
Children in EYFS will have two discreet phonics sessions every day and in Year 1 this will change to one daily session. EYFS children will be taught Phase 1, 2 and Phase 3 phonics. The phonic sessions will last 20 minutes and there are also enhanced phonic activities within the indoor and outdoor environment available for the children to explore independently throughout the day. Children are expected to complete Phase 4 and Phase 5 during Year 1 in order to meet the requirements of the phonic screening check. Year 2 is used to consolidated understanding of all sounds taught to and including Phase 5 and to teach Phase 6 spelling skills.
Children in lower Key Stage 2 children who have not passed the phonic screening check in Year 1 or Year 2 receive daily phonics teaching in line with their phonic ability in addition to classroom input in daily literacy lessons.
Tracking and assessment
All pupils are assessed at appropriate intervals (half termly) as they progress. The teacher assesses how children:
During daily sessions of phonics there are also opportunities for practitioners to regularly assess children’s understanding.
Outside the discrete daily phonics sessions there are opportunities to observe the application of phonic skills, e.g. during guided/ shared reading. The children in EYFS, Year 1 and, for some children, Year 2, are also regularly assessed using past phonics screen materials in order to prepare them for the Year 1 assessment. Regular monitoring of the assessment outcomes allows teachers and practitioners to ensure that all children are making expected progress. This information is also used to identify children who are not making expected progress and therefore early intervention can be put in place.
Children’s half-termly assessments are added to a tracker and monitored by the English Lead teacher, Phase Leaders and Senior Leadership team.
Year 1 screening check
Every Year 1 child in the Summer term will take a Phonics Screening Check. This is phonics based check where children will be expected to read 40 simple, de-codable words including nonsense, or alien, words. This is a progress check to identify those children not at expected level in their reading. Children will be rechecked in Year 2 if they do not reach the expected level. Any child working below the level of the screen check may be dis-applied, with the acknowledgment of the parent/carer.
Through careful monitoring and tracking practitioners are able to identify children who are not making the expected progress and therefore need intervention to catch up. Depending on the needs of individuals, this may include additional individual or small group tutoring. It is important that children who are struggling to learn to read not only need to catch up with their peers, but also to continue to make progress.
Phonics in KS2
If children in Key Stage 2 experience difficulty in reading and/or writing because they have missed or misunderstood a crucial phase of systematic phonics teaching, then interventions are put into place to support them.
Our aim at Manor Court Community Primary School is that every child’s needs are catered for and every child is given the chance to succeed and become a competent reader. It is our aim to give every child the opportunity to experience success in learning and to be the best that they can be. Teachers aim to include all pupils fully in their daily phonic lessons. All children benefit from participating in watching, and listening to other children demonstrating and explaining their ideas. Differentiated work, appropriate to individual children’s needs, is provided in the independent work during the day and also during intervention sessions. S.E.N.D pupils have Learning Passports, APDR documents and IEPs, which may include specific literacy targets to be addressed during phonics lessons.