English and Literacy at The Roebuck School
Phonics is taught in a highly structured programme of daily lessons across FS/KS1 and KS2 in groups differentiated according to children’s phonic awareness and development. The Letters and Sound programme is followed, providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics. This is supplemented by Floppy Phonics, Education City, Espresso and other ICT games.
Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practise together and apply what they have learned.
Phases of the Phonics Programme
Children in Nursery begin with Phase 1 which provides a range of listening activities through play, to develop their listening skills. Progress is tracked at the end of each term. As children move into Reception they continue to build upon the listening activities and are introduced to Phase 2 which marks the start of systematic phonic work. Grapheme-phoneme correspondence is introduced. The process of segmenting whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught writing the letters to encode words. Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then moves on to cover sounds represented by more than one letter, learning one representation for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage just one spelling is given for each phoneme. When children become secure they continue into Phase 4 where they start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants. No new phonemes are introduced at this phase. It is expected that children will enter Phase 5 as they begin year 1, looking at alternative spellings for some phonemes and allowing the children to see the range of ways phonemes can be represented. It is expected that children entering Year 2 will start Phase 6 which develops a variety of spelling strategies including word specific spellings eg see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary. Also the accurate spelling of words containing unusual GPC's eg laughs, two.
The school spelling programs complement the phonics learning from Reception through to the end of KS2. The spelling of high frequency and tricky words are taught continuously throughout the phases.
“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
Children’s progress is continually reviewed to allow for fluid movement between ability groups, and children move phonics group when it is felt necessary to meet their needs. Children are formally assessed at the end of each term.
The national Phonics screening check is performed in June of Year 1. Prior to this, the Year 1 phonics workshop gives parents information about how they can support their children at home with phonics. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who did not meet the required standard for the check in year 1 enter again in year 2 with additional support. As children enter KS2 provision is made for those children still requiring daily phonics.
Children begin reading phonetically decodable books in the Reception Class as soon as they can recognise the first set of sounds in phonics. The books are matched to children’s phonics ability and reading these books supports the development of the children’s skills in learning to decode and blend words.
Children progress through the remainder of their time in Reception, Year One and Year Two working through the reading scheme until they are ready to move onto free choice colour-banded books. They take their books to read at home and this is monitored weekly in class. Guided Reading also takes place in class to teach reading strategies and comprehension skills.
Throughout this process the children are assessed on a regular basis to check their reading ability and to ensure that they are reading the correct stage of books for their ability.
Reading assessments are undertaken on a termly basis, with some pupils being assessed on a half termly basis. These are stage / level based, where pupils read a text independently and then answer appropriate questions orally by the class teacher. Outcomes also guide our guided reading focus.
“Writing is its own reward.”
- Henry Miller
Our Reading aims are:
v To develop phonetic skills which lead to blending and reading accurately and fluently.
v To promote confidence and positive attitudes to reading through access to a wide range of literature.
v To develop their vocabulary and comprehension of what they have read.
v To encourage good home/school partnerships.
v To enable children to analyse what they read and to participate in discussion and debate about texts.
v To monitor each child’s progress through the use of a range of assessment strategies eg Reading Age tests, on-going reading observations, application of Assessment and Progression criteria, as well as the new Curriculum Staged criteria.
v To support those children who require additional support with their reading.
“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”
- Ursula K. Le Guin
Reading in School
Many activities take place which promote pre-reading skills. Children become aware of print in their environment and match pictures and words. Language comprehension is developed by talking and reading to the children. As children gain phonic knowledge they start the process of decoding.
Initially, as children learn to read, they are given a picture book with no words with the intention that they will share the book and take part in a conversation generated by the pictures. Gradually as the children's knowledge of letters and sounds develop they begin to phonetically decode words.
Our reading books are organised into coloured Book Bands .Children are assessed regularly and move onto the next Book Band when their fluency and understanding show that they are ready. Children move through the Book Bands until they reach the required standard to become a Free-Reader, choosing a book to read from our well-stocked school or class libraries. In KS2 there is a greater emphasis on comprehension with most children decoding easily.
Developing Reading for Pleasure
We try to encourage a love of reading by holding book themed days eg Roald Dahl Day and events both as individual classes and across the whole school. eg Reading Challenges such as World Book Day, Readathon and our school Book Fair. We have recently enjoyed visits from story tellers such as Taffy Thomas and Sue Allonby who have brought their stories to life. Sue returned to complete a day course in story telling with Years 5 and 6. A link to Sue and Taffy’s websites can be found below.