We believe that every child should be given the tools to develop into enthusiastic, fluent and confident readers. County Bridge pupils are provided with an opportunity to progress and experience their full potential in phonics. In order to secure this, children will be fully immersed in a strong foundation of early phonics in nursery, moving on to experience an effectively taught synthetics phonics curriculum in Reception and Year 1. All pupils will receive an equal opportunity to access this sequenced scheme of phonics to ensure that they use their skills and knowledge to build on what has been taught throughout the curriculum.
The Phonics curriculum at our school aims to ensure that every child regardless of gender, social disadvantage or special educational need can read fluently and comprehend what they read by the end of KS1. Through the systematic and structured approach to our delivery using the Read, Write, Inc scheme, all children make good progress from the time they enter in First Steps through to the end of KS1 and further if and when individual children require.
Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally and attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. Children will have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with a secure understanding of what they have read. We also place a high priority for encouraging our pupils to read for enjoyment and we recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.
Handwriting and letter formation also form a strong element of our phonics teaching as we place a heavy emphasis on teaching children letter rhymes to enable them to form their letters correctly.
Our school’s curriculum for phonics has been designed to ensure all children are able to read fluently by the end of KS1. Teachers use our phonics curriculum plans to teach high quality phonics lessons to enable children to build knowledge and skills towards clear end points. Phonics is taught daily to all children across Early Years and KS1. Additional support is provided to those children in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1 and targeted intervention is planned for and delivered to those children who are working below the expected standard. Phonics continues to be embedded throughout KS2 through the teaching of RWI spellings. All children in EYFS and KS1 are assessed half-termly and are grouped accordingly. Children’s assessments are used to inform planning and also identify and target individual pupil’s next steps.
In Nursery, our early stages of phonics teaching is focused on the development of children’s speaking and listening skills. Our children are explicitly taught to develop listening skills and to identify sounds around them in the environment. This is in preparation to begin developing oral blending and segmenting. This is achieved through our children experiencing environmental and instrumental sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and then oral blending. This knowledge and understanding of sounds is a crucial step for children in preparation for moving onto the RWI phonics.
Letters and their sounds are introduced to children one at a time, as soon as a group of letters are introduced, children are encouraged to use their knowledge of the sounds to blend and sound out words. By the end of Reception, children use their knowledge of phonics to read accurately with increasing speed and fluency.
In KS1, children are taught to read all common graphemes and are able to read unfamiliar words containing these graphemes. Phonics lessons have a strong focus on the teaching of common exception words. Children are encouraged to read these words on sight, daily, and they are a focus for weekly spellings. By the end of KS1, our children have gained phonic knowledge and language comprehension that is necessary for them to read with accuracy, understanding and fluency.
Following half termly assessments undertaken by the Phonics Lead, we provide all our children with a home-reading scheme of books that are specifically matched to their phonic knowledge. Our high expectations ensure that all phonics lessons are further enhanced through the use of additional resources, such as, props, vocabulary cards, letter rhymes, collaborative activities and further reading opportunities. This enables our children to make new learning concrete and make good progress, resulting in children being able to know more, remember more and to be able to do more.
Children will revisit and reflect on their previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply their skills through collaborative and engaging activities. The learning environment is used effectively to enable children to develop their phonic knowledge. This is achieved through the use of letter sounds and rhymes, common exception words and visual prompts, such as sound tubs and pictures, to consolidate new learning.
To promote a love for reading, every child has access to a wide range of high-quality texts within their classrooms. Children are immersed in language and new vocabulary in every classroom. They have plenty of opportunities to apply new language through partner talk in phonics which enables children to develop their language further. The use of effective questioning strengthens and immerses children into deeper thinking, whilst also ensuring that the needs of disadvantaged children and children with special educational needs are consistently met.
We also provide phonics lesson through remote learning for our children when necessary, providing personalised activities and teaching virtually through Google Classroom. Additional resources such as picture prompts and recording through a speaker is provided to enable children to better understand their phonics teaching even when at home. We provide further support, during remote learning, through phone calls to parents and children by talking through how to complete their activities or addressing any misconceptions they may have.
Through the delivery of daily phonics teaching all children are able to read and enjoy reading by the time they leave KS1. They are able to read fluently with expression and can confidently comprehend what they have read. It is evident through our use of assessment that our phonics teaching has a positive impact on the progress our children make in reading. Children use the taught letter rhymes across all subjects and, as a result of this, are able to form letters correctly when writing. They are able to write simple sentences by applying their phonics knowledge by the end of Year 1. Children show confidence in phonics sessions and in wider reading and can tackle new and ambitious vocabulary through applying their decoding skills.
The teaching of phonics has a direct, positive impact on our children’s speech and language development, the correct modelling of pronunciation helps our children acquire new words and pronounce words they already know with greater clarity.