At Kensworth C of E Primary School we aim to develop the full potential of all our pupils as confident, literate readers and writers. If children are to develop as competent readers and writers, it is vitally important that they have a secure understanding of the letter sounds and spelling system of the English language. Phonic skills need to be developed in a systematic way, based on a staged approach.
THE PRINCIPLES OF THE LETTERS AND SOUNDS PROGRAMME
At our school we follow Letters and Sounds from Foundation Stage, through KS1 and into KS2 if appropriate. The programme focuses on securing word recognition skills, essential for children to decode (read) and encode (spell) words accurately and language comprehension. We deliver Letters and Sounds teaching through the Phonics Play programme (www.phonicsplay.co.uk) and also support the children to develop their skills through activities on Active Learn Primary (an ICT program).
The Phonics Play programme is carefully structured into developmental phases. The sessions are delivered to ensure participation and engagement resulting in high-quality phonic work on a daily basis to help practitioners and teachers ensure that by the end of Key Stage 1 children develop fluent word reading skills and good foundations in spelling.
PROGRESSION AND DELIVERY
The pace at which it is suggested the children progress through the programme should be taken as a guide rather than applied rigidly. Using reliable assessments of children’s developing knowledge and skills, practitioners and teachers will need to judge the rate at which their children are able to progress through the programme and adapt the pace accordingly.
TRACKING AND ASSESSMENT
All pupils are assessed at appropriate intervals (termly) as they progress. During daily sessions of phonics there are also opportunities for practitioners to regularly assess children’s understanding. Outside the discrete daily phonics sessions there are opportunities to observe the application of phonic skills, e.g. during guided/shared reading.
Regular monitoring of the assessment outcomes allows teachers and practitioners to ensure that all children are making expected progress, including children in the most vulnerable groups. This information is also used to identify children who are not making expected progress and therefore, early intervention can be put in place.
YEAR 1 SCREENING CHECK
During the Summer term every Year 1 child will take part in the Government Phonics Screening Check. This is a check which involves children in reading 40 decodable words using their phonic knowledge. The 40 words will include some nonsense words in order to ensure use of phonics as opposed to sight recognition of words. This is a progress check to identify those children not at the expected level in their reading. The results will be reported to parents. Children will be rechecked in Year 2 if they do not reach the expected level. Any child working below the level of the screen check may be dis-applied, with the acknowledgment of the parent/carer.
Through careful monitoring and tracking, practitioners are able to identify children who are not making the expected progress and therefore need intervention to catch up. Depending on the needs of individuals, this may include additional individual or small group tutoring before the lesson or after the main lesson; one to one work with a trained practitioner or extra support for a child or small group of children within a lesson. It is important that children who are struggling to learn to read not only catch up with their peers, but also to continue to make progress.
PHONICS IN KS2
If children in Key Stage 2 experience difficulty in reading and/or writing because they have missed, or misunderstood, a crucial phase of systematic phonics teaching, additional resources can, and will be, used to support them.