At Pyrcroft Grange Primary School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent readers and writing a smooth, progressive process. Phonics is the process that is used to help children break down words into sounds, as well as building letter and word recognition. This can then enable children to read unknown words in the future. Children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words.
Phonics at Pyrcroft Grange Primary School follows the Department of Education approved document “Letters and Sounds”. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from Nursery up to Year 3 as well as allowing children’s listening and speaking skills to develop.
There are six phases within the Letters and Sounds programme:
- Phase 1: Activities are divided into seven aspects: Environmental sounds, Instrumental sounds, Body sounds, Rhythm and Rhyme, Alliteration and finally Oral blending and Segmenting.
- Phase 2: Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting sounds into separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
- Phase3: The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as “ch” “oo” and “th” representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the simple code: one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
- Phase 4: No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent sounds e.g. swim, clap, jump
- Phase 5: Now we move on to the complex code. Children learn more graphemes for phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
- Phase 6: Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters.
In the Early Years learning environment children are exposed to the teaching of phonics through action songs, images, stories and games. When children have reached the appropriate stage on their individual learning journey they are taught phonic sounds through daily, short focussed, fast paced sessions. All members of the school community have high expectations of our children and they are all exposed daily to whole class teaching and this is followed by a carousel of phonic activities closely matched to the ability of each child. This ensures that gaps are closed, consolidation is in place and children are challenged to apply their phonic knowledge.
Teachers use Phonics Play to support their planning and follow a specific structure:
Phonics teaching is supported by the reading material children are exposed to in daily guided reading sessions. We are using Bug Club reading scheme to continue to develop the children’s phonic knowledge and provide opportunities to practice this knowledge with fun and exciting texts at home.
Our phonics curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression and application of phonic knowledge.
Children get a flying start to being able to hear and identify sounds, blend them and use this knowledge to read simple sentences. They are confident to apply their phonic knowledge in a wide range of contexts and other important reading skills are built upon this secure foundation.
Children in Year 1 achieve in line or exceed the national Average in the Phonics Screening Test.