‘We learn to read, so that we can read to learn.’
At Aldermaston CE School, we believe that phonics is a body of knowledge that is necessary for children to learn to read and spell. We aim to give children the best possible start on their reading/writing journey by teaching them the essential phonological/phonemic skills and knowledge to decode and encode (spell) words independently from the outset, children will use phonics as the step up to fluent word recognition. Automatic and effortless reading of all words – decodable and tricky – is the ultimate goal. We recognise that the development of spoken language and the enjoyment and comprehension of quality literature go hand in hand to develop a lifelong love of reading and aim to nurture and develop these attributes alongside the phonics program.
Our policy sets out the means by which we ensure consistency and a systematic approach to the teaching and learning of synthetic phonics, as the prime method by which children learn to read and spell independently, automatically and confidently in the first years of their schooling. It aims to reinforce our high expectations for pupil progress. We follow the structure of a validated DFE SSP scheme, introducing the GPCs (Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence) in the suggested order using the resources from the Twinkl Phonics Programme. This ensures that both the EYFS Early Learning Goals and National Curriculum content are delivered.
Through the teaching of phonics children should:
- Develop listening skills and awareness of sound in the environment.
- Develop vocabulary and ability to identify and recall the difference between sounds.
- Learn the skills of blending and segmenting as a first priority as they are introduced to the GPCs for reading and spelling. This ensures that from the outset children are able to read and spell simple CVC words with the GPCs they know.
- Apply their phonic knowledge in the context of reading and spelling in the wider curriculum and understand how and when to do this.
- Use phonics as their first strategy to decode and encode unknown words, and be reading with increasing fluency, speed and accuracy by the age of 6.
Disadvantaged children and those with SEND are given full access to the curriculum. Teachers use a range of strategies to enable all children to become successful readers, including:
- small group phonics support
- Using a range of activities to ensure children are engaged, motivated and enjoy their learning
- Encouraging the use of resources to support their learning in phonics and early reading and writing
‘When teachers are engaging and motivating, children mirror their teacher’s mood and attitude, pay attention and enjoy learning.’
The Reading Framework – January 2022 DfE
We ensure that children have sufficient opportunities to practice and apply their knowledge in phonics. High quality, targeted activities are designed to enable the children to be successful and recognize that they are learning to read and write.
We ensure all children are participating in the phonics sessions using a variety of techniques including ‘call
and response’, paired and collaborative activities to ensure the time for practice is used effectively.
Phonic sessions have a consistent structure to them, including revisit, direct teaching, practise and apply sections each day during the 20-30 minutes (thus enabling the children to focus on the content of the learning with an expected routine).
Expectations are clear from the start, establishing the early skills in reading; sounding and blending; reading from left to righ;, handling a book correctly; practice in order to gain fluency and writing; sitting at a table to write; using a taught pencil grip to support good posture for writing; focusing on accuracy and letter formation.
Reading books are selected for each children based on their progress through the phonics programme. They are encouraged to read these at home and we aim to read with every child at least once a week, which allows us to assess their progresss and adjust books accordingly. Reading is recorded in a unique way at Aldermaston, giving parents the opportunity to record and comment on a daily basis and for the school to record both 1to1 reading and guided/shared reading sessions in the class.
‘We learn to read, so that we can read to learn.’
At Aldermaston CE School we have a passion to ensure that the culture of reading is embedded and the teaching of reading and spelling is as effective as possible. The impact of our approach is to ensure our children become confident readers and develop a life-time love of reading. To enable this, we have adopted a rigorous and systematic phonics programme that includes structured and accessible resources to ensure all children make sufficient progress and meet or exceed age-related expectations.
We have developed a variety of strategies to engage our families in supporting their child’s reading journey from when they start at the school to when they move on to secondary school.
- Verbal feedback – the vast majority of feedback is in conversation with the pupil, allowing misconceptions to be spotted and effectively addressed at a timely stage
- Teachers gaining feedback from other adults involved with the child – including parents in the Reading Record and adults in school during 1-1 reading sessions
- Assessments from each lesson to inform next step planning
- Half-termly tracker summarises assessments – GPC, Tricky Words, Blending, and Segmenting
- All Year One take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ (those who do not meet the pass mark are tested again in Year Two)
- Assessments from each point to inform next step planning