Our Phonics Scheme
We currently follow Letters and Sounds. However we are also currently looking into new schemes, now that Letters and Sounds is being replaced. We will now be looking into Government Validated Schemes.
We use a Review, Teach, Practise, Apply model
Phonics is taught daily first thing in the morning (when possible) as the prime learning approach.
Children are taught in groups keeping age related progress in mind. Phonics interventions also take place. This is mainly to tackle phonics check gaps. In Year 2 children also have interventions for those who did not pass the phonics check in Year 1.
Review: revising previous taught sounds/phases so the children have constant contact.
Teach: The teaching of new sounds which is modelled the teacher explicitly in a ‘my turn’ fashion. Sounds displayed and taught visually, kinaesthetically and auditory. Blending and segmenting orally and in reading and writing. Counting phonemes is taught explicitly.
Practise: The children have chance to practise blending/segmenting through written work, games etc. This is guided by the teacher and misconceptions tackled.
Apply: The children have chance to practise the skill of blending and segmenting on their own with teacher feedback. This might be sorting words, blending in pairs, writing sentences, composing sentences.
Each session the teacher will model/share/independently write a sentence either orally or written. ‘Kung Fu Punctuation’ is used to encourage kinaesthetic learning. Lessons are structured, pacey and specific, but also with an element of fun.
Teachers and children use the following sound buttons and symbols.
- The Jolly Phonics rhymes and actions are used within sessions.
- Structured lessons where sounds, tricky, common and high frequency words are re visited.
- Children are encouraged to count phonemes out loud in order to help with segmenting.
- Children are encouraged to spot patterns.
- Extensive word lists are encouraged so children are widening their vocabulary.
- Meanings of new words are explained and put into different contexts.
- Children will construct sentences orally and in written form.
- Children are also encouraged to be kinaesthetic using Kung Fu punctuation.
- Children are encouraged to use sound mats during all lessons to assist their phonics.
- Children are also encouraged to be and use peer mentors to assist with phonics.
- Children who are struggling with phonics in Year 1 and 2 are paired with children who have a strong phonic skill. They are sat nearer the front in lessons.
- Progression and structure is adapted as seen fit.
- Reception - embedding Phase 2/3/4.
- Year 1 Revision of Phase 3, 4 and 5 alternative sounds. (e.g. split digraphs)
- Year 2 Quick revision of 3 and 4 with a focus on segmenting and onto Phase 5 alternatives, all the ways of spelling a sound. Phase 6 (SPAG: spelling grammar and punctuation) runs alongside.
- Some children will receive extra phonics support if this is needed.
Whole word approach
Occasionally children do not find phonics a helpful way of learning how to read or spell. Staff at Westdale are trained in a whole word approach which can assist children who find this way easier. Teachers will talk to individual parents about this.
- Children are baselined and then assessed in F2 on a termly basis to show their knowledge of letters and sounds.
- Children are assessed in F2 during the end of the summer term in their blending skills for Phase 3 and 4.
- Children are assessed in Year 1 each term and their phonics check results tracked.
- In Year 2 children who did not pass the phonics check are assessed each term and their phonics results tracked.
- Children are assessed constantly on their blending and segmenting skills to find gaps in their understanding.
- Children are also assessed through observation and through looking in books/work analysis to see how they are applying these skills.
- Children’s written work and their reading are also assessed against national standards to make sure that they are applying this knowledge.
What do we do if a child is not progressing?
We would do some or all of the following (in the most appropriate order for the child)
- Provide appropriate support which may include 1:1 interventions, groups or class support.
- Contact parents and offer suggestions for support and other strategies at home.
- Use specialist reading books to support phonics progression.
- Our Reading Army will read extra times with the child.
- Teachers are responsible for monitoring their class phonics progression.
- CLT and the English Lead are responsible for overseeing the action plan that monitors the above.
- Learning walks and book analysis also monitor the delivery of phonics.
- NQT’s are given CPD and monitored closely in the first term to ensure their phonics skills are developing at a rapid pace and the children are receiving a quality first teach.
Phonics across the curriculum
- Phonics is embedded right across the curriculum and is a focus for curriculum leaders across all areas. We have entitled this ‘Sneaky phonics’ so making sure that we emphasise the skills of phonics in everything we do.
- This means that high expectations of phonics are expected across all areas of learning.
- Teachers teach the skills of phonics across all areas of the curriculum, blending and segmenting. Children are shown these skills explicitly so they are linking their phonics across the curriculum, practising their skills and using their knowledge of phonics.
- Reading strategies are promoted across the curriculum.
- Phonics is picked up during verbal feedback and practised on the spot. Eg. spotting a digraph, blending, segmenting to spell.