We teach the children phonics straight away when they join us in Reception. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds (Phonemes) in words and how those sounds can be written down (Graphemes). This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell.
We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters and once they have learnt to blend the phonemes accurately, they start to read with fluency. This is achieved through speedy reading of individual words and repeated reads of their shared reading books. 'Tricky words' such as 'once' 'said' 'the' are not phonetically decodable and these are taught explicitly as part of the reading session.
Children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 are assessed and regrouped every half term to ensure they receive the correct level of support and challenge. If children are not where we would expect them to be at certain points in the year, they will have daily extra phonics practise to secure progress. Children who join the school during the year are assessed in phonics on entry and grouped according to their ability.
Shared Reading forms part of the daily phonics lessons; each child reads in a small group for at least 20 minutes every day, with their reading teacher, using texts linked to the child's phonic ability. Children enjoy one focus text per week with learning activities to support accurate and fluent reading and comprehension. In addition, children take fully decodable reading books home to further practise the skills learnt at school. These books are also matched to each child's phonics ability and are closely monitored by the reading teachers to ensure that children are reading books of an appropriate level. Each child visits the school library every week to select a book of their choice to share at home.