Daily phonics teaching supports our teaching of reading and of spelling. Although we don’t use a phonics ‘scheme’ as such, the phases of phonics teaching are based on ‘Letters and Sounds’ (see below)
|Phase||Phonic knowledge and skills|
|Phase One (Nursery/Reception)||Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.|
|Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks||Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.|
|Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks||The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.|
|Phase Four (Reception/Year One)||No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.|
|Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)||Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.|
|Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)||Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc|
Teachers use ‘Cued Articulation’ in YR to help children link the ways letter sounds are formed with the sounds themselves. To ensure your child is pronouncing the letter sounds correctly we suggest you look at the You Tube video of Jane Passy showing how Cued Articulation is taught. ‘Phonics Play’, a website which provides interactive games for children, is also used to make phonics teaching more exciting across the school. As well as phonics we teach children how to read and spell ‘tricky words’ which are often the words we use most frequently and aren’t spelt as we would expect, for example the word ‘said’.
Although our core reading books are Oxford Reading Tree, we have many other books, both from a variety of reading schemes and ‘real’ books for children to read in school and at home. As well as 1:1 reading with an adult, children read in small groups with each child reading the same book. In this way school staff can teach a specific skill most effectively. We value the 1:1 time that parents can spend reading with their children, and we expect children to read a minimum of three times a week at home and ideally every day.
Children learn how to write in cursive script from YR and are taught to join their handwriting in Y2. Many children aren’t ready to write with a pencil when they start school so we encourage them to practise their letter shapes by writing in the air or in sand which helps to develop their arm muscles as well as helping them to learn letter shapes.
Regular practising of handwriting throughout years one and two helps children to master the skill of cursive letter formation. Spellings are often practised at the same time as handwriting.
The new national curriculum has an increased focus on the correct use of grammar, and on children knowing the correct terminology for grammatical terms. We teach grammar by using ‘grammar games’ and also during the teaching of reading.
Throughout the school there is a focus on learning maths using practical objects, then pictorial recording before teaching children symbolic recording. We encourage children to explain how they arrived at a specific answer, and compare different ways of calculating to decide which is the most effective. This ‘mathematical reasoning’ is a significant part of the maths curriculum and enables us to find our whether children really understand what they are doing and why. In Years 1 and 2 we follow the National Curriculum 2014, which ensures children have mastered all of the basic mathematical skills and can use them fluently before moving on and working with greater numbers. Throughout Years 1 and 2 the class teachers frequently set additional maths homework which encourages the children to practise the many skills to help them achieve fluency.