We teach Phonics using the Letters & Sounds programme of synthetic phonics. We have found that this is rigorous, sequential and well-paced approach is not only highly successful but also an enjoyable method of teaching phonics.
Children in nursery begin with phase 1 of the programme; this develops to phases 2 and 3 in Reception, phases 4 and 5 in Year 1 and phase 6 in Year 2. A phonics progression chart can be found below, along with sound mats for phases 2-5.
Alongside, daily synthetic Phonics lessons, children take home a fully decodable book to practise their ever-growing reading skills at home. They also take another (non-phonics book) to be read to or by children for pleasure. Phonics is a tool to learn to read. Children do not need to sound out a word, using phonics, if they are able to read the word by sight.
There are some words that cannot be sounded out easily and are therefore 'tricky'. These words must be learnt. Tricky word mats for phases 2-5 are attached below.
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.
After the programme's introduction in January 2104, results indicate a dramatic improvement in Year 1 children achieving the national expected standard in the June 2015 Phonics Check.
2013-14 65% achieved the expected standard
2014-15 84% achieved the expected standard
2015-16 89% achieved the expected standard
2016-17 75% achieved the expected standard. Actions were taken to counter this surprising dip in school results.
2017-18 94% achieved the expected standard
2018-19 92% achieved the expected standard
2019-20 78% achieved the expected standard. Due to Covid-19 actions are being taken to remedy the lost schooling due to successive lockdowns with the schools' recovery curriculum.
The Department for Education guidance on phonics may also be helpful.
How can I support my child at home?
Read! Read! Read! Reading regularly with your child is a fundamental part of the learning to read journey. Use the fully decodable phonics books to support children’s phonics development, as well as general books to instil a lifelong love of reading - both are very important and useful. Practise the individual sounds with your child – do they know all the sounds in the phase they are working on? Speak with your child’s class teacher regarding phase and/or find out in weekly home learning.
Play Phonics games at home:
https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/ (free access)
https://www.teachyourmonstertoread.com/ (Individual logins provided by class teacher)
https://www.spellingplay.co.uk/ (Phase 6) (free access)
https://www.busythings.co.uk/lgfl-login/ (Individual logins provided by class teacher)
Read at home:
Use the eBook libraries, available via: https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/login?active-tab=students (Class logins provided by class teacher)
How do I pronounce the sounds?
It’s really important that we teach the pure sounds to children, so to be able to blend accurately. Please look at this video from Oxford Owl on sound pronunciations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCI2mu7URBc
Phonics workshops will take place throughout the year for EYFS and Year 1, look out for communication on 2021/22 dates.
If you have any question or queries regarding phonics or reading please speak with your child's class teacher or feel free to contact Ms Soliman (Phonics Lead).