At Timothy Hackworth Primary School, we use the Phonics scheme ‘ELS’ – Essential Letters and Sounds.
Our reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree. Our children read books from this scheme which are carefully matched to their phonics levels.
This should be read in conjunction with the CRC and Respectful Relationships Policy, our English, Spelling and Handwriting Policies.
All policy and practice in Timothy Hackworth Primary School respects children’s dignity.
Phonics at Timothy Hackworth Primary School
As we are a Gold Level Rights Respecting School, our whole curriculum is shaped by our vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background or ability and additional needs, to flourish and to become the very best that they can be.
We value reading as a key life skill and we are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We give all children the opportunity to enter the magical worlds that books open up to them. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop their own love of genres and authors, whilst reviewing their books objectively. This enhances a deep love of literature across a range of cultures and styles.
We are passionate about ensuring that all children become confident and enthusiastic readers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning, allowing children to progress and to become fluent readers.
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Children need to be taught the key skills of segmenting and blending and to be equipped with the knowledge that enables them to successfully decode words with efficiency, fluency and accuracy.
We strive to ensure that our pupils have the opportunity to demonstrate resilience, resourcefulness, reflectiveness and reciprocity and have the ambition to be successful learners.
We use the Department for Education approved programme, ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ for our teaching of phonics. We believe that phonics teaching should be systematic, discrete, interactive, engaging and consistent. Our phonics teaching reflects the ‘Revisit, Teach, Practise and Apply’ method. Phonics is taught in short, briskly paced sessions and then applied to reading and writing in a meaningful context. Children are then given time to further apply their phonics, to carefully matched texts that they can reread, and subsequently, develop their fluency.
Two Year Olds
Two Year Old children experience a range of language and phonological awareness activities on a daily basis. Practitioners focus upon the Prime Areas of Communication and Language, Physical Development, and Personal, Social and Emotional Development; these are the foundations of Literacy, including phonics. Planned activities, resources and interactions with adults focus upon developing children’s speech, language, and communication skills, including auditory discrimination, receptive language and listening and attention.
Nursery follow Phase 1, which focuses upon the skills of tuning into sounds (auditory discrimination), listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing), and talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension). The learning in Phase 1 is mainly adult-led, although children have opportunities to further develop skills through a wide variety of experiences, including through supportive play and as part of the continuous provision. By the time children leave Nursery, they have experienced all Aspects of Phase 1.
Aspect 1: Environmental Sounds
General sound discrimination – environmental sounds.
To develop children’s listening skills and awareness of sounds in the environment.
Aspect 2: General sound discrimination – Instrumental Sounds
To experience and develop awareness of sounds made with instruments and noise-makers.
Aspect 3: General sound discrimination – Body Percussion
To develop an awareness of sounds and rhythms.
Aspect 4: Rhythm and Rhyme
To experience and appreciate rhythm and rhyme, and to develop an awareness of rhythm and rhyme in speech.
Aspect 5: Alliteration
To develop an understanding of alliteration.
Aspect 6: Voice Sounds
To distinguish between the differences in vocal sounds, including oral blending and segmenting.
Aspect 7: Oral Blending and Segmenting
To develop oral blending and segmenting of sounds in words.
There is no expectation for children in Phase 1 to be introduced to letters (graphemes), however, practitioners do respond to children’s interests and comments about letters and words in print, and strive to create a print rich environment of displays, signs, books and labels.
In Reception, children continue to build on their listening skills and are introduced to Phase 2, which marks the start of systematic phonics learning. They have discrete, daily phonics sessions following the Essential Letters and Sounds programme. They revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, then practise and apply what they have learnt. The continuous provision matches the pupils’ current knowledge and understanding, whilst ensuring they are suitably challenged.
The purpose of this phase is to teach at least 19 graphemes with their corresponding phonemes. Children will learn to read and spell VC and CVC words using the skills of blending and segmenting. During this phase, they are introduced to reading two-syllable words and simple captions. They will also learn to read some ‘harder to read and spell’ words. Sound Books are sent home weekly so that children can further practise their new letters and sounds, ‘harder to read and spell’ words and key words. Children also take an Oxford Reading Tree book home from our reading scheme. This book is matched to their phonic ability to develop their fluency.
Following Phase 2, children enter Phase 3, where they are taught another 25 graphemes, most of them comprising of two letters (e.g. oa), so that children can represent an increasing number of phonemes with their corresponding graphemes. Children also continue to practise CVC blending and segmentation in this phase, and will apply their knowledge of blending and segmenting to the reading and spelling of simple two-syllable words and captions that have been dictated. They will also learn letter names during this phase, learn to read some more ‘harder to read and spell’ words, and begin to learn to spell some of these words.
Our expectations, as part of the Essential Letters and Sounds programme, are that children will have completed Phase 4 by the end of Reception, and will have had an introduction to Phase 5, for reading. The purpose of Phase 4 is to consolidate children’s knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words. The coverage of Phase 5, taught in Reception, will introduce a further 20 new grapheme-phoneme correspondences with alternative graphemes for known phonemes.
Children who require extra support will take part in phonics interventions to ensure that they are confident with the phonics skills taught.
At the beginning of Year 1, prior learning from Reception in Phases 3 and 4, and coverage so far from Phase 5, is revisited. The children will then move onto the remaining objectives for Phase 5.
Children in Year 1 have access to high quality daily phonics sessions which continue to follow the Essential Letters and Sounds programme. Through this programme, the children learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these, and where relevant, for the graphemes they already know. They apply what they have learned in ELS Phonics Workbooks containing blending for reading, segmenting for spelling, sentence writing and reading and spelling of ‘harder to read and spell’ words.
Each week, children are given an Oxford Reading Tree book containing the phonemes/graphemes taught from the previous week. There is an additional afternoon phonics session where the children are given time to reread this book to develop fluency. Also, during this additional afternoon session, the children revisit known GPCs, ‘harder to read and spell’ words, and segment words, using the phonemes/graphemes taught that morning.
Children practise recognising ‘Alien’ or pseudo words in readiness for the Phonic Screening Check later in Year 1, and to give them the confidence to read words. In addition to the book that they are reading at school, children also take an Oxford Reading Tree book home for further practise of their phonic skills.
To support the children who are struggling to retain taught GPCs, or who need help with blending, afternoon 1:1 interventions take place.
Children with gaps from earlier phases access teacher intervention during the afternoon phonics sessions.
Children in Year 2 have access to a high quality daily phonics lesson. Children begin Year 2 consolidating earlier phases to reinforce prior learning and to ensure fluency. Identified access children targeted phonics interventions.
Key Stage 2
Children in Key Stage 2, who have not reached a proficient level in phoneme-grapheme correspondence application, are given access to a daily phonics session.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, children will become fluent, thereby proficient in phonics by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their reading fluency, stamina and comprehension as they move through the school.
Phonics Screening Check results at the end of Year 1 will demonstrate the phonic ability of the children in Year 1.