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Phonics

Intent:

At Gravel Hill Primary School we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle letters and Sounds Revised programme which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

How we teach Phonics:

Nursery:

We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:

  • sharing high-quality stories and poems
  • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
  • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
  • attention to high-quality language.
  • We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.

 

Reception and Y1:

  • We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
  • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
  • Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check.

 

Reading practise Sessions:

  • We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
    • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
    • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge
    • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
  • The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
    • decoding
    • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
  • In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
  • In Year 2, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.

 

How do we assess phonic knowledge?

Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

Assessment for Learning is used:

  • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
  • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.

 Summative assessment for Reception and Year 1 is used:

  • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.

 Placement assessment is used:

  • with any child new to the school in Reception and Year 1 to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.

 

Statutory Assessment:

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

 

Phonics Overview

Reception Phonics Overview

Year 1 Phonics Overview

Additional Phonics Information