During June, the phonic skills of children in Year 1 will be assessed as part of the National Phonic Check. In addition, some children in Year 2, who may not have achieved the expected standard, will also be assessed. This year, in line with government advice, children in Year 1 will not sit the screening. However, we will conduct an internal screen for our own teacher assessment.
The Department for Education guidance on phonics may also be helpful.
At St Peter's we use the Read Write Inc. phonics programme to teach phonics at our school. It is a government validated systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme.
Learning to read is the most important thing children learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
We want children to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
How will children be taught to read?
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters.
The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.
The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read, and this does wonders for their confidence.
The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.
How do we assess how well the children are doing?
We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.
We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country.
In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.
What can parents/carers do to help?
You will be invited to a meeting so that we can explain how we teach reading. Please come and support your child. We would very much like you to know how to help.
Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. It helps if you know whether this is a book that your child can read on their own or whether this is a book that you should read to them. The teacher will have explained which is which. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most.
Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds.
Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.
We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family. You can find out about good stories to read to your child here: https://www.facebook.com/miskin.education
For more guidance and information, please see the Phonics Overview below.