Phonics – Early Reading
At Park Road Sale, we believe it is vitally important that children have a secure understanding of the letter sounds and spelling system of English. Phonic skills need to be developed in a systematic, phased approach in order to help all children to become competent fluent readers.
We believe that reading is vitally important and that there are many different elements to reading. Whilst children need to learn to decode books, they also need to learn how to understand and interpret what they are reading and learn to read for pleasure. Children have access to a wide variety of reading books. We do not use one book scheme – we incorporate a number of different schemes into our stock of books. Children chose their home reader from book banded sets and they can change these books as often as they wish. Some of these books are phonetically aligned to the phase that they are on – others are not as they are there to engage children in the pleasure of reading. In guided reading sessions we have sets of books that are aligned to the phonetic phase children are at and teachers can use these books to support phonics. To supplement these sets, other books are also used in guided reading to develop comprehension and inference skills
Letters and Sounds
Our school follows the governments ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme which begins in Early Years Foundation Stage and continues throughout KS1 and into KS2 if required. The programme focuses on securing word recognition skills, essential for children to decode (read) and encode (spell) words accurately and reading comprehension. The programme is in six phases: phase one promotes speaking/listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending/segmenting; phases two to five focus on high quality phonic work to help children develop fluent word reading and spelling skills.
Children in phase two to five of Letters and Sounds will be taught a discrete 30 minute daily session of phonics in smaller groups. In addition, phonic skills can be applied in reading and writing opportunities as well as in other areas of the curriculum. Teachers regularly check pupil progress in their understanding of grapheme-phoneme (letter sound) correspondence and decoding (sounding out) and blending ability.
Y1 Phonics Screening Check
In the summer term, Y1 children will take a Phonics Screening Check in which children will be expected to read 40 decodable ‘words’. This progress check identifies those children not at the expected level in reading – and these children will have further support to enable them to read and they will be re-checked in Y2.
Children who are secure at phase 5 can go onto phase 6, focusing on spelling and different word types such as homophones (there, their). Sessions include direct teaching of spelling strategies, proofreading, and high-frequency words.
If there is a need, pupils will be given extra support to help them improve reading skills and make progress. Support will also be provided for older pupils who may be experiencing difficulty in reading/writing because they have missed or misunderstood a crucial phase of systematic phonics teaching. We understand that learning phonics in this way can be tricky for some children with specific learning needs and so support for them will be tailored so that they can learn to read in the most appropriate way for them.