At Mount Street Academy we want all our children to become keen, confident and fluent readers. The ability to quickly recognise letters and their associated sounds (phonemes) and blending those phonemes together are the essential skills for beginning to learn to read. Therefore, high quality phonics teaching is a priority in our school. We follow the Letters and Sounds framework. Letters and Sounds is a phonics programme published by the Department of Education and Skills. Phonics is taught discretely every day for a minimum of twenty minutes in all classes. The children quickly pick up the routines as the sessions follow the same format of re-visit, teach, practise and apply.
In Nursery, phonics teaching plays a key part in the development of children’s speaking and listening skills through sound discrimination activities as well as oral blending and segmenting. These sound discrimination activities continue throughout Reception and Key Stage One where we also teach children the skills they need to read and write independently.
In Reception, children are taught 3 new grapheme/phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and one new tricky word per week. Children are taught to sound talk words and blend them together to read. Children follow our phonics mantra “Sound talk. Blend”. When digraphs (two letters making one sound) and trigraphs (three letters making one sound) are introduced, children are taught to search for these first.
As the children move into key stage one they have a strong foundation to build upon (children should enter year one confident in phase 2, 3 and 4). A quick revision of phases 3 and 4 takes place at the beginning of Y1 before children move on to phase 5. The emphasis on blending for reading continues within the phonics session and in the wider curriculum. In Reception and Y1 the children have a separate daily session with a focus on segmenting for writing. A quick revision of phases 5 takes place at the beginning of Y2 before children move on to phase 6 and further phonics and spelling patterns from the National Curriculum.
Information about our phonics
· Once the children can recognise and blend the first few phonemes they will be given a reading book that contains these sounds. This matching of phonic books to sounds that have been learned continues into KS1.
· Each child can change their ‘phonic reader’ up to three times per week.
· The emphasis of our phonics sessions is on blending for reading. However, we recognise that the skill of segmenting needs to happen daily too. Within Reception this happens during continuous provision. In Year 1 there is a daily 10-minute session specifically on segmenting.
· In Reception and Y1 we aim to hear each child read a book matched to their phonic ability a minimum of once a week.
· Children will read as part of a guided group once a fortnight in Reception and once a week in Y1. When appropriate, in Y2, children will move to whole class reading activities.
· Consistency between all classes is key. This includes using the same agreed resources, such as GPC cards and sound mats.
· All displays should show what sounds have been learned and what sounds children are learning that week. Children should be able to talk confidently about their current and previous learning and automatically refer to the display board as a reference.