What is Phonics?
“Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes and identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make. Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.” DFE ‘Information for Parents’ 20131
To ensure that children progress in their phonic knowledge through:
- Daily phonic sessions
- Phonics being promoted as a tool to help children decode words to read and spell
- Children being encouraged to use and apply their phonic knowledge in independent work, guided writing sessions and individual or group reading where appropriate.
Welford on Avon Primary School plans phonics based on the ‘Letters and Sounds’ 2007 2, which meets the core criteria for phonics teaching set out by the Dfe 3. Teachers have worked to provide children with a hands-on, immersive experience into learning phonics, with systematic teaching sessions to ensure all children are applying their knowledge as well as links to other areas of the curriculum.
Teachers in Nursery, Reception and Year 1 follow long term, medium term and weekly plans to ensure phonics is taught in a systematic way to allow children to make progress. The phonics planning gives opportunity for sounds to be revised, new sounds to be taught, children to read and write words and apply their learning through a game or activity. In Year 2, when the majority of pupils are secure in Phase 5, we cover Phase 6 of the programme and look at different spelling patterns.
Welford on Avon uses phonetic reading scheme books and rhymes so pupils practise and develop the ability to segment and blend phoneme/grapheme sounds independently. Children across Nursery, Reception and Year 1 take part in daily 30-minute phonics lessons to help improve word reading, writing and comprehension skills and strategies to engage with texts. Children are assessed as a baseline when they enter Reception and assessed termly against the phases to ensure children continue to make progress. We use Barney’s Bones to set practice at home and at school of the different phonemes and tricky words in each Phase. Other assessment of independent reading and writing also ensures a rounded picture of children’s application of their phonic knowledge.
At the end of Year 1, pupils take a phonics test that consists of the set 1-3 sounds and the inclusion of pseudo words too. Those that didn’t sit or failed the phonics test, have further phonics support in year 2. They are also expected to complete the phonics test in June.
Phonics Continuous Provision
Phonics is seen as one aspect of a rich literacy environment. In Nursery and Reception, a self- access phonics area helps children immerse themselves in the different sounds as well using it in many aspects of their play. Outside, children are encouraged to go on sound or letter hunts, practise writing letters in the sand or making signs using their phonic knowledge for different areas of the provision.
Across Nursery to Year 2, pupils are assessed in phonics. Those that are not making progress have further interventions to help them make accelerated progress in being able to segment and blend confidently. Children with SEN either work in a group or individually, depending on their needs.
Children who do not pass the phonics screening test in Year 1, repeat the test when they are in Year 2. They continue to receive daily phonics sessions that can be specifically tailored to an individual’s needs to help children catch up. This continues through Key Stage 2 where a specifc need is identified and appropriate interventions are planned and monitored by the class teachers.
Below is useful information for phonics: