Reading & Phonics
At Ss Peter and Paul, we believe that there are six essential elements of reading:
- Phonemic awareness
- Phonic knowledge
- Oral Language/ Oracy
Phonemic awareness is the knowledge that words are made up of a combination of sounds; a phoneme is the most basic unit of sound. The word cat has three phonemes (c/a/t), as has the word ship (sh/i/p).
This is the understanding of the relationship between sounds (phonemes) and spellings (graphemes). This can be tricky as there are 26 letters in the alphabet, which correspond to 44 phonemes, in around 144 sound and letter combinations.
Fluency is reading with speed, accuracy and proper expression. We plan regular opportunities for children to develop and practise reading fluently. If a child is a fluent reader, they have a greater chance of developing an understanding or comprehension of the text they are reading.
The development of speaking and listening skills, behaviours and language are essential for effective communication and collaboration. Staff plan opportunities to develop crucial oracy skills across all areas of the curriculum from Early Years onwards.
The development and acquisition of vocabulary is essential across all areas of the curriculum. At Ss Peter and Paul, we implement a tiered approach to language and vocabulary acquisition. This enables children to express themselves, communicate and develop an understanding of texts, the curriculum and the world around them.
- Tier 1 – common high frequency words in spoken and written language e.g. table, slowly, write etc.
- Tier 2 – more complex words e.g. national, obvious, coincidence etc.
- Tier 3 – subject specific words e.g. photosynthesis, evaporation, revolution etc.
Comprehension is the understanding of the meaning of the texts being read. At Ss Peter and Paul, the children do a range of comprehension activities to develop their skills.
High quality phonics teaching lies at the heart of our early education, securing the crucial skills of word recognition that, once mastered, enable children to read fluently and automatically. Once children are fluent readers, they are able to concentrate on the meaning of the text and make the shift between learning to read and reading to learn. Reading is seen as a skill that is essential in order to allow children to access the world around them.
In school we follow the Sounds-Write programme to teach phonics. We aim to ensure that all children are fluent readers by the time they leave KS1. All adults involved with teaching phonics have attended a 4 day training programme on the delivery of Sounds Write. Our reading scheme in Reception and Year One is entirely decodable, using Sounds-Write texts and Phonics Dandelion Readers.
Phonics and Spelling
The Sounds-Write programme is used to teach phonics and spelling. We begin teaching an awareness of sound and sound identification in Nursery and, as children show readiness, they begin to access the Initial Code of Sounds-Write phonics. All pupils in Reception begin the Initial Code in the September of their Reception year. They continue on their phonics journey throughout Year One and into Year Two, with the aim of leaving KS1 as fluent readers, secure in word building and recognition.
We explicitly teach the 3 skills of:
- Phoneme manipulation (sound swapping)
The children are taught to decode and encode by understanding 4 clear concepts:
- Letters are symbols that represent sounds that they say
- Sounds can be spelt using 1,2,3 and 4 letters e.g. f, oa, air, eigh
- The same sound can be spelt in different ways e.g. bone, coat, toe, window, shoulder
- The same spelling can represent different sounds e.g. bread, eat, great
All adults in school use the same consistent, concise language about sounds and spelling when teaching. We say that the letters spell sounds they do not say sounds. We use phrases such as:
In this word…
If this was…this would be…
This can spell…what else can it spell?
Say the sounds and read the word.
Where should children be at this point?
Where are they going to next?
What sounds do children know?
Consistency of time and resources are applied very effectively to support the teaching of daily phonics. The discrete teaching of phonics and reading has become a natural and everyday part of every aspect of the curriculum.
Progress in phonics is monitored half termly, including lesson visits and pupil progress discussions. Progress of all pupils is tracked using Phonics Tracker.
Pupils in EYFS and KS1 are given additional support as required to master their phonics. Pupils in KS2, who have gaps in the phonics, continue to be supported through timely and effective intervention and decodable readers for older pupils.
Parent Links (free course)
- Part One: https://www.udemy.com/course/help-your-child-to-read-and-write/
- Part Two:https://www.udemy.com/course/help-your-child-to-read-and-write-part-2/