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Discover our useful links and additional resources within this section. If you require any information, please contact our Academy Enquiries email address.

Phonics

Reading is a vital life skill and our biggest priority, secondary only to children’s welfare.

In our academy, we use the DfE accredited, ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ phonics programme to ensure that as many children as possible learn to read well.

Phonics can most easily be described as a code, with letters (graphemes) representing sounds (phonemes). Children ‘crack’ the code by learning to identify the corresponding sounds for each letter or group of letters and then blending those sounds together to make words. With expert teaching and lots of practise, children quickly learn to recognise words and build meaning from them.

From the very first day in Nursery, children are engaged in fun learning activities to help them develop the foundation skills they need to succeed with reading. We call this; ‘Phase One’.

Phase one phonics is all about developing children’s speaking and listening skills and their ability to hear sounds and blend them together. During this phase, we encourage children to listen attentively so that they can reproduce the sounds that they hear accurately. We engage them in conversation so that they are confident when speaking with adults and other children. We introduce them to lots of new words through stories, songs, rhymes and poetry.

Two children sit on a mat reading a book together.

As children move in to Reception, they have a timetabled daily phonics lesson where they are introduced to different graphemes and the various sounds they represent. Children get lots of opportunities to practise what they have been taught throughout the day in planned learning activities and in their play.

As children become more confident, and they begin to blend sounds into words, they will be given a reading book with words constructed from the graphemes they know. Because we only expose them to words that we know they can blend, they quickly see themselves as successful readers. As the saying goes ‘success breeds success’.

We find that this approach helps our children to experience the joy of books and language, whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent, independent readers and writers.

Daily phonics lessons continue in Year 1 for all children and beyond that, where needed. The whole basis of our phonics programme is that we want all children to keep pace with learning; ‘keep up rather than catch-up’. Our teachers are highly skilled. As they are teaching, they are constantly assessing children. This means that children who are struggling can be identified quickly and support put in place immediately. These interventions are short, specific and effective.

 

Supporting Reading at Home

We know that many parents love reading with their children at home. We also know that parents want to see their children doing well.

Our biggest plea is that you don’t try to rush your child too quickly on to the next set of reading books. One of the most important jobs we do, is making sure that your child has a book that is really closely matched to their reading needs.

Moving them on too quickly means introducing them to sounds and words that they have not been taught. They’ll struggle to read the book, lose heart and give up. When a book is well-matched to your child’s needs, they will be able to read every word. They’ll be able to read about 80% of it without having to break the words down into the various sounds before blending, and they will be able to use their phonics to decode the remaining words.

One of the most important ways of supporting your child with reading at home is making sure that you help them to pronounce the sounds correctly. We only use pure sounds (try not to make an ‘uh’ sound at the end).

The following videos will help support you in understanding how the different sounds are pronounced.

ELS Pronunciation - Phase 2
ELS Pronunciation - Phase 3
ELS Pronunciation - Phase 5
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In order that you are best placed to support your child, please find the planned teaching sequence for our phonics programme from phase 2.

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Harder to Read and Spell Words

As you are reading with your child, you may come across some words that your child refers to as ‘harder to read and spell words’.

‘Harder to read and spell words’ (HRS) are words that children will find harder to read and spell, as they will not yet have been taught all the sounds in the words. We have to teach the children these words early on because they appear so often in books and everyday print. As you can see (image below), the list in each phase is short so children quickly learn to recognise and read them.

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4
I
the
no
put
of
is
to
go
into
as
his
he
she
buses
we
me
be
push
was
her
my
you
they
all
are
ball
tall
when
what
said
so
have
were
out
like
some
come
there
little
one
do
children
love
oh
their
people
Mr
Mrs
your
ask
should
would
could
asked
house
mouse
water
want
very
here
sugar
friend
because

Our aim is that all children will be able to read these words by the end of Year 1, so your support is much appreciated. Learning these words will make all the difference to your child’s confidence and success as a reader.

 

Phonics Screening Check

The phonics screening check is a quick and easy way of checking your child’s phonic knowledge. At the beginning of June in Year 1, your child will sit one-to-one with their teacher to undertake the check. Your child will simply be asked to read about 40 real and nonsense words containing the sounds they have been taught. Children in Year 2 will also take the check if they did not achieve the required result in Year 1.

Your child’s results will be included in their end of year report in the summer term.

If your child found the check difficult, please don’t worry. We will support your child with their reading for as long as it takes. Our aim is to make sure that every child in our academy loves reading and can do so confidently.

 

External resources
Teach your monster to read
PhonicsPlay
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