Phonics

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Teaching of Phonics and Reading

Our Aims:

At Priory Church Academy 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.

Our primary aims are:

-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 Church Academy we follow the Letters and Sounds approach to teaching Phonics, supplemented with additional resources such as Phonics Bug. 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 in Year 3 as needed.

Pupils are taught in ability groups within their year group. This enables them to be taught according to their phonics/reading level. Teaching is very precise and 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 (GPS) 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 books from our Differentiated Text approach to English, phonetically decodable books 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 Differentiated Text that the class 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 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. Children are able to change their reading book each day should they wish to do so and are encouraged to change their book after each guided/1-1 session if they are less willing to change it themselves.

From September 2018, children in Key Stage 2 will be using Accelerated Reader as their reading scheme. Accelerated Reader begins with all pupils being assessed on a Star Reader test, which is subsequently taken half termly. This test generates unique pupil information about where their strengths and areas for development are in their reading and all pupils are allocated a ZPD range. This range is the Zone of Proximal Development and refers to the levels within the scheme which are most appropriate to support reading development. When each child has read a book on the scheme they have up to 48 hours to complete a Quiz on the book which is comprehension based. Points for quizzes passed are awarded and the child may move to the next book and so on until the next Star Reader test. Where a Quiz is not passed, staff intervene and speak to the child and look together at choosing a book which is more accessible within their ZPD range. The quizzes generate information which can also be used to support each child, whether it is passed or not.

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. If you would like more information about reading and phonics at Priory, please do not hesitate to contact our English Lead, Mrs Woolliscroft, via the school email address or telephone.

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