Phonics is the process children use to segment and blend words when reading and writing. It is the process of understanding phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (written representations) to develop understanding of reading and writing.
At Ashwood Spencer Academy we want every child to be successful, fluent readers and writers and we believe that this is achievable through a combination of strong, high quality, discrete phonics teaching combined with regular, daily opportunities for developing reading skills. The teaching of phonics is a key strategy that is used to help our children to read, write and spell.
At Ashwood Spencer Academy, our aims are:
- To provide consistent, high quality phonics teaching that ensures all children have a strong foundation upon which to tackle the complex processes of reading and writing.
- To ensure that the teaching of synthetic phonics is systematic and progressive throughout the foundation stage, key stage one and key stage two for those children needing interventions to support phonetic knowledge and understanding.
- To ensure that children have sound phonetic knowledge, understanding and skills so that they can decode and segment words confidently and engage with higher order reading and writing skills.
Children in Nursery follow Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds. This focuses on developing children’s listening skills and involves listening to and identifying; environmental sounds, animal sounds, body percussion, instrumental sounds, rhyming, alliteration and oral segmentation. During phase 1, children are taught seven aspects of listening skills in discrete lessons and throughout the curriculum. These are environmental sounds, instrument sounds, body percussion, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting. By the end of this phase, children should be ready for phase 2, as they can hear initial sounds in words, can blend sounds to make words and segment simple words into sounds.
In FS2, phonics is taught through the Jason Wade structure. Children are grouped depending on their phonics knowledge and as they learn to blend they practise blending simple CVC words, then move on to CVCC and CCVC words and eventually learn multisyllabic words. Pupils are assessed for phonic reading books and read books closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge, enabling them to practise at school and at home.
As part of the provision, phonics is embedded into the writing area and the interactive displays. Children can access phonics resources throughout the day.
Key Stage 1
In Year 1, each child receives at least two sessions of Phonics daily at 9:00-9:20 and 10:40-11:00 in a group delivered by teachers or teaching assistants. The groups target the children’s increasing knowledge and consistently recap previous sounds to ensure all graphemes can be recalled quickly and accurately. An additional creative phonics session is delivered in the afternoon to the whole class and children who need extra support receive 1:1 interventions or attend after school phonics club.
In Year 2 pupils who are not yet secure in their knowledge or who did not pass the phonics screening check receive a daily phonics session and a lunchtime phonics session. They will also receive 1:1 interventions to support them individually. Those who are secure have a recap and practise in their daily Sounds and Syllables spelling lesson before moving on to work on spellings.
Key Stage 2
Pupils who still require phonics input in Key Stage 2 are tracked in the same way as Key Stage 1. They have interventions with teaching assistants, teachers or academy angels and also have a phonics refresher in their Sounds and Syllables spelling lesson.
Phonics Lesson Structure
When completing phase 2 – 5, lessons are structured in the following way:
- Revisit: Recap previous sounds and words learned in an active way.
- Teach: Introduce the sound: what kind of sound is it? What shape does my mouth make when I say the sound? What letters make it up? Children to repeat the sound multiple times using my turn, our turn, your turn.
- Practice and apply: Read: blending words containing the sound of the day. Children to use a segmenting and blending technique to read words with the sound in. Use oral blending to support learners who struggle with sound recall as a tool to support learning.
- Practice and apply: Writing: Children to stretch out the word, and segment it back together at different paces to heighten the pronunciation of each individual sound. ‘Chop the word up’ and ‘put it back together’. Children to count the sounds in the word and record the sound bars first. Incorporate into a sentence if children are able to.
- Plenary: Children to read words again before leaving the session.
At Ashwood Spencer we use the ‘Ashwood Spencer Phonics Assessment’ to assess children. Phonics assessment is carried out half-termly with regular reviews of children ensuring children are in the correct group, working within the correct phase. Half-termly phonics trackers are completed by teachers so they know which children require additional support. Furthermore, in Year 1 and for those who did not pass the screening check in Year 2, additional ‘mock screening checks’ are delivered half-termly to help identify specific areas of difficult or gaps for children and groups.
Formal assessments are done by the class teacher at the end of each half term for their own children. Each phonics group is informally assessed by the phonics group leader during a phonics session at the end of each block of sounds.