Phonics at The Pines
“At one magical moment in your early childhood, the page of a book – that string of confused, alien ciphers – shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”
Vision and Intent
At the Pines, our vision for phonics is that our youngest children will discover a love of both reading and writing and will be equipped with the skills to become successful readers and writers.
At The Pines, we aim to:
- Equip children with the phonic skills required to become fluent, confident readers who have a genuine love of reading.
- Equip children with the phonic skills required to become successful writers, able to express themselves effectively using print (including the ability to spell at an age appropriate level).
- Ensure that every child achieves their BEST through fun, pacey and carefully planned phonic sessions, meeting the needs of all learners.
- Do everything possible to ensure that no child is 'left behind' in their journey to becoming a reader through high-quality, targeted additional support.
- Apply phonic knowledge in teaching across all aspects of the curriculum.
- Elevate and explicitly teach new vocabulary.
- Empower all staff to teach phonics skilfully and effectively.
Our Place in Our World: Phonics equips children with the skills to read texts from around the world, opening their eyes to places beyond those they are familiar with. It also enables them to spell accurately and communicate effectively with the wider world.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: Phonics equips children with the skills to read and write enabling them to access reading and resources to support physical and mental health.
Learning Skills: In phonics learning across the curriculum, children learn to persevere, make mistakes and learn from them and try spelling new words.
Oracy: In phonics lessons, children learn to articulate clearly and pronounce sounds accurately, giving them some of the key skills to become confident communicators.
Phonics is taught daily in the early years and Year 1. It is also taught at the beginning of Year 2 before children transition to spelling lessons following the National Curriculum. For children in Year 3 who need additional support, phonics is also provided in small groups.
As a school we follow the Government validated Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme, Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised. This scheme sets out a logical progression of grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and phonic skills based on the document Letters and Sounds.
Throughout all phonics lessons there is consistency of structure, visuals, vocabulary and prompts. This reduces cognitive load and enables children to make good progress in phonics.
Reading is closely linked to children's phonic knowledge and all children read Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised phonically decodable books in small groups at school and with their adults at home. These books are directly linked to children's phonic knowledge.
There is a regular and consistent assessment cycle to ensure that gaps in children's phonic knowledge are quickly addressed and to ensure that children are reading phonically decodable books which are at the right level for them.
When teaching phonics, we use technical, subject specific language;
Phoneme - the sound a letter/s make
Grapheme - the way a sound is represented in writing
Digraph - 2 letters that make one sound e.g. sh in shop
Trigraph - 3 letters that make one sound e.g. ear in beard
Split Digraph - where 2 letters make one sound, but a letter is in between them e.g. a-e in cake
Blend - the skill putting sounds together to say a word e.g. c/u/p is cup
Segment - the skill of separating a word into it's separate sounds e.g. pot is p/o/t
Some useful links to support phonics learning at home:
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised for parents - Find out more about the SSP teaching programme we use.
- Children at The Pines School leave KS1 as fluent and confident readers.
- Children view themselves as readers who read both for pleasure and to find out about the world around them. Throughout their time in EYFS and KS1, children access a wide and varied selection of high-quality books which spark their interests and imaginations and inspire them as readers and writers.
- Children view themselves as writers who can confidently have a go at spelling unfamiliar and challenging words.
- They have a growing vocabulary and are interested in new words they come across in their reading. They use new vocabulary in their written work and in their verbal communication.
- Children who find reading and phonics more difficult in the early stages are given timely and effective support to enable them to make good progress.
- All staff understand how to teach phonics using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Scheme, leading to consistency in vocabulary and teaching methods; this reduces children’s cognitive load and allows them to make good progress in their phonics learning.
- Parents and carers regularly engage in reading with children at home to support their learning in school.
- Percentages of children who pass the phonics screening check and who achieve ARE in KS1 Reading SATs assessments increases year on year.
If you have any comments or questions linked to your child's phonics learning, please feel free to get in touch with me, Mrs Taylor (Phonics Lead).