To create an inclusive, inspire and challenging curriculum, which develops children’s knowledge of phonics, enabling them to become successful readers who develop a life-long love of reading.
In our school phonics is taught across EYFS and KS1 as well as in intervention sessions across KS2. In KS1 we do this using the RWI programme of study (https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/find-a-book/read-write-inc-phonics--1/). This is a scheme, developed by Ruth Miskin, which provides a structured and systematic approach to teaching Literacy. It is used by more than a quarter of the UK's primary schools and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. We teach in this way because, research shows that, when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. According to the DfE (Department for Eduction), ‘almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics, will learn the skills they need to tackle new words’. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.
In our school we realise the importance of Phonics as it provides children with the building blocks needed to become successful readers. They are taught how to recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes, identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’ and then blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words they hear or see.
At Broomwood Primary, children begin to learn phonics in Early years using Letters and Sounds. Once children begin learning sounds, they use this knowledge to read and spell words. The first sounds children learn are: ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘p’, ‘i’, ‘n’. These can immediately be blended for reading to make simple CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant), e.g. sat, pin, tin, pit. Children then develop segmenting for writing skills; breaking the word into sounds to spell it out. Children enjoy doing this through a range of games and activities as well as writing, speaking, identifying and acting out the sounds. You can find out more about this in the ‘EYFS Phonics’ area of our website.
In KS1 we continue to develop children’s phonics knowledge through the RWI scheme. The children learn set 2 and 3 sounds, which enable them to read and write a range of words. Children learn different representations of a sound (‘graphemes’), for example ay, a-e, ai. This enables children to become more confident with not only their reading, but also spelling and develops skills which are transferrable to their Literacy. In Year 1 there is a greater emphasis on the reading of the sounds, whereas in year 2 this progresses by using the graphemes more in spelling.
Across KS1 children are streamed according to ability for daily phonics lessons which they enjoy. Each session is broken up into different parts including: revision of previous sounds taught, teaching of a new sound, reading words with the new sound and writing them. We do this through a range of Kagan games and activities to engage the children and ensure they enjoy their learning, making it a memorable experience.
Phonics is embedded across the curriculum and the children are encouraged to use phonics to support them in a range of topic work. Phonics is displayed in each classroom across the school, including the RWI sounds and tricky red words. The children are encouraged to use these to support their writing in all lessons across the curriculum.
Throughout the year we invite parents to phonics workshops and training sessions, which support the parents in listening to their child read and encouraging their child’s development of phonics. Home-school readers are also phonics based; ensuring continuity and these are at the level of each individual child. Reading books are changed on a weekly basis.
Children are also streamed for daily reading sessions across KS1 and during this time we use RWI phonic based reading books. This ensures that there is consistency between our phonics and reading sessions and that children apply their new phonics knowledge to reading books, giving them a purpose and sense of achievement.
Children are assessed in Year 1, using a phonics screening check. Regular assessment using this enables us to stream children for phonics and RWI, ensuring the teaching they receive is tailored to the level they are at. The final phonics test takes place in June. The check is designed to confirm whether individual children have learned sufficient phonic decoding and blending skills to an appropriate standard. The test consists of 40 words – it is a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo words (nonsense words) for the child to read 1:1 with their teacher. This is carried out by a member of staff who has undertaken the phonics testing training and who the children are familiar with. Children who do not pass this in Year 1 will be re-assessed in Year 2, in the same manner. The results of this are reported to parents in the summer.
The result of phonics teaching at our school will be that children will have a secure knowledge of phonics, enabling them to become confident readers with a life-long love of reading.