At Horsendale, we use our English Hub enhanced version of Letters and Sounds to teach phonics, with a consistent approach across Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Phonics continues for all children until they no longer need it.
The lessons follow the same sequence each day in all year groups and ensure that new knowledge is taught, recapped and revisited systematically. The children are given daily opportunities to practice their reading skills and build their reading fluency. All children are expected to participate in every aspect of every lesson. Key teaching strategies that enable this include, talk to your partner and my turn your turn.
We teach Phonics to the whole class using a ‘Keep up, not catch up’ approach ensuring all pupils learn to read as quickly as possible. Teachers use the children’s assessments to ensure their teaching is appropriate for all, our worksheets ensure that the majority of pupils can work independently and are challenged, so that adults can support those who need it. Children falling behind are identified immediately and have additional tutoring in the afternoon at their challenge level.
Modelling of reading is at the heart of our phonics approach. Teachers ensure that children see them using the skills to read before having a go themselves. Teachers use minimal ‘teacher talk’ to ensure only key learning is remembered and not hidden amongst explanations and definitions.
Children are only expected to read books at their decodable level. We use Big Cat Collins for Letters and Sounds. The children are assessed and then given books matched to their decodable ability. Children are only expected to read books with sounds they securely know.
Through lesson visits, practise sessions and coaching, the reading leader ensures that our SSP lessons are of the highest standard to reduce the amount of extra support needed. The reading leader uses summative data to identify the areas for development.
‘The school has developed sufficient expertise in the teaching of phonics and reading.’ SIH p87: 293.
All staff are trained to deliver Letters and Sounds. We teach Phonics to the whole class, supporting those who need in the lesson and delivering appropriate interventions with a ‘Keep up not catch up’ approach to all children.
The RL ensures staff are kept up to date with current practise and visits lessons regularly to ensure practise is consistent. Staff access appropriate CPD through the Flying High English Hub.
Our approach is consistent, all staff work hard to pronounce phonemes correctly. Staff use the same terminology, routines, resources and actions.
Resources are consistent in all rooms where phonics takes place. No additional resources are used – this includes rhymes and mnemonics. New sounds are added to the classroom friezes as they are taught. In Autumn term in Reception, a handwritten letter correctly formed is next to each sound. In Year one, the frieze is organised into sound families, so the children make the connections and can use the wall to spell independently. Flash cards and word cards are the same in all classes, Worksheets follow a similar format so they are familiar to the children.
Time for Phonics
Sufficient time is given to the teaching of phonics. Phonics lessons happen every day, until the children no longer need it and the programme is completed. The sessions are at least 25 minutes.
Make a Strong Start in Reception
‘Reading, including the teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics, is taught from the beginning of Reception’ SIH 2019.
In Reception, phonics is timetabled daily SSP from day one of Reception. 25 minutes is given to teaching of phonics (ten minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the afternoon). In addition, writing and reading is taught during daily Literacy lessons with two adult led reading/writing tasks planned each week. After Autumn half term, sessions are no longer split and at least 25 minutes building to at least 45 minutes by the end of the year.
‘Spotlight pupils’ (pupils who are falling behind) are identified by the third week in school and have a daily booster tailored to their needs. All children practice in reading letter-sound correspondences and oral sound-blending a few times each day and teachers use opportunities like lining up time to practise reading sounds and oral blending.
The teacher ensures that all pupils sit where they can see the teacher, their mouth and appropriate resources during SSP lessons. With the ‘spotlight children’ at the front and nearest the teacher.
The children are taught a new sound each day. The practice recognising sounds in every phonics lesson during the review section of the class. Children are taught to recognise and say the sounds speedily. Then they can apply this speed to reading.
Blending and Segmenting
Children are initially taught to segment and then blend to read words until they are able to read words at a glance. Children are taught to segment words using robot arms to spell.
Our phonics lessons are designed to support the children’s development of fluency when reading with the expectations and amount to read increasing over the year. Children are taught to re-read sentences and do so with expression.
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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