At Manor Infant School we believe that for all our children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme.
We use Essential Letter and Sounds to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts as soon as the children join us in Reception and follows a very specific sequence that allows the children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. The modelling of these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum is key to allowing the children to succeed. Speaking and Listening skills are crucial for reading and writing in all subjects; we therefore encourage the development of language skills and extension of vocabulary across the school.
How we teach phonics
- In Reception and Year 1, children follow the progression within the Essential Letters and Sounds programme. Phonics is taught daily, with a reading session on a Friday.
- At the beginning of the year, phonics lessons in Reception are 10 minutes long, with daily additional oral blending opportunities. Lessons are increased in length to between 20 and 30 minutes when the children are ready.
- Year 1 lessons are 20-30 minutes long.
- In Year 2, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of ELS through the use of their Enable Intervention, which supports children who may find phonics more challenging to keep up, rather than catch up. As we introduce Essential Letters and Sounds, Year 2 are following the same whole class structure of phonics teaching as Year 1.
Reading practice sessions
- Children in all year groups apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group or individual reading practice session.
- In Year R, the children read individually with a familiar adult. The books the children access are phonetically matched to their stage of learning. The children take home a different text to read with their parent/carer which is also matched to their phonics knowledge.
- In Year 1, these sessions are 25 minutes long and happen everyday. Children read with an adult in small groups at least 2 times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group. The children also take home a different text to read with their parent/carer which is also matched to their phonics knowledge.
- In Year 2, the children read individually with a familiar adult and experience whole class reading sessions. These reading sessions enable ALL pupils to access a high quality text and to build on their wider reading skills, such as inference, retrieval, making links, asking questions and expressing opinions about their reading. The children take home a different text to read with their parent/carer which is also matched to their phonics knowledge.
- The children also have access to the same book on their e - library account the following week, to ensure success is shared with their family.
How do we assess phonic knowledge?
- We use an online tracker to assess both the sounds children know and their ability to blend these sounds in real and alien words.
- Children identified who may be falling behind are immediately identified and ‘Enable’ sessions are put in place – these sessions follow the Essential Letters and Sounds programme.
- In Reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Essential Letters and Sounds assessment tracker.
- In Year 1, children will take the national Phonics Screening Check in the summer term (June).
- Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in the summer tem of Year 2.
- Those children who are in Year 2 this year (2021-2022) did not take their Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 due to the Covid -19 disruption and subsequent Government guidance around National Assessment. These children have therefore taken the check in Autumn term 2021. Any children who did not meet the threshold in the Autumn, will re-sit their Phonics Screening Check in the Summer Term.