Teaching of Phonics and Early Reading 

Our Aims: 

At Priory CE Primary School, we believe that reading is a skill which is best taught through planned, systematic phonics lessons. This leads to the enjoyment of all kinds of books, the appreciation of different genres and the ability to access information independently. Through their own reading, we hope that children will develop their individual tastes in literature and be able to understand and justify their own choice of books. We aim to promote a lifelong love of reading, where learners read for pleasure and feel immersed in their literature.  

Our primary aims are: 

-To promote a lifelong love of reading, where learners are full of intellectual curiosity. 

-To develop phonetic skills which lead to blending and reading fluently. 

-To promote confidence and positive attitudes to reading. 

-To promote and encourage good home/school links using a wide range of literature. 

-To equip children with the critical tools they need to be able to analyse what they read. 

-To give children access to a wide range of fiction and information books. 

-To monitor each child’s progress through the use of a range of assessment strategies e.g. Phonics assessment, Benchmark Reading tests, on-going guided reading observations. 

-To support those who are progressing at a different pace in acquiring reading skills through a personalised reading programme. 

Our Approach: 

At Priory CE Primary we follow the Letters and Sounds approach to teaching Phonics, supplemented with additional resources such as Phonics Play, practical resources and Jolly Phonics. Our approach is systematic, consistent and rigorous in order that all children become readers as quickly as possible. 

Phonics sessions take place daily throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1, with transition into Key Stage 2 as needed. 

Pupils are taught in phonics groups, which match their ability, within their year group. Teaching is very precise, in a 4-part lessons and this tailored to the needs of each child. 

The alphabetic code is taught first with children learning new sounds and practising pronouncing and blending these sounds on a daily basis. Simple mnemonics help the children grasp the letter sounds quickly. Following this we match the sounds pupils know to the books they read encouraging confidence as well as a number of other skills such as using initial sounds to identify more difficult words. Additionally, children hear and learn lots of stories in school which helps to increase their story knowledge and vocabulary. 

In the summer term of Year 1 our children take part in the National Phonics Screening Test. Where our children pass this test, they move onto learning spelling rules within Punctuation, Grammar and Spelling (EGPS) in Year 2. Where our children do not pass the phonics screening test or where we have any concerns about their progress or development in reading or any other area of learning, then specific reading and phonics interventions are implemented to help to raise their attainment. The Inclusion Lead and English Lead are available to support staff in planning which interventions are most appropriate to support our children. 

Small group guided reading sessions take place weekly within Reception where targeted teaching takes place. Sessions are planned according to the stage of reading each child in the group and support phonics, sight vocabulary, reading strategies and questions to support comprehension. Our guided reading resources are made up of: phonetically decodable books, Big Cat Phonics and Rigby Stars. Guided reading sessions begin in Nursery once the children are placed on the reading scheme. 

Children in Key Stage 1 and 2 take part in at least two high quality reading lessons per week. These lessons are usually based around the Class Text that the cohort is studying. Reading skills and comprehension are taught and reinforced during these lessons and the whole school use the VIPERS approach to focus the teaching and learning of important skills (Vocabulary, Infer, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence). Regular assessment takes place to help teachers to understand the next steps in learning which the children need to make. 

From Nursery, children are placed on the school reading scheme, Rising Stars, when they are able to demonstrate key Phase 1 phonics skills and have secured the first set of letters. Home- school reading books are a mixture of phonetically decodable books and books to encourage high frequency words. Decodable books are used first to encourage segmenting and blending skills. Once children have gained confidence, in this area they access books containing more high frequency words and phonics which is match to the Phonetic phase in which they are working.  Children are able to change their reading book each day should they wish to do so and are encouraged to change their book once they have read it twice. Support is available to help make choices which would help their progress and attainment in reading.  

Various ‘Curriculum Evenings’ are held throughout the year to offer support and to provide information for parents regarding the ways they can support their child’s reading. 

Priory Phonics Information

If you would like more information about Early Reading and Phonics at Priory, please contact our Key Stage 1 Leader, Mrs A Bloor, via or 01782 233 585. 

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