Miss Wyles is our Phonics Lead.
At Southmead School, we prioritise the teaching of reading. We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write with fluency and independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. These are the keys to unlocking the rest of the curriculum and also have a huge impact on the children’s self-esteem and future life chances.
We strive to teach every child to read effectively and quickly. We follow the Essential Letters and Sounds ELS validated scheme to teach synthetic phonics*, common exception words, decoding and encoding words. The five phonics phases are covered from Reception to Year 1, followed by a review of phonics at the start of Year 2 and then Decision Spelling Scheme which is begun in Year 2 and continued throughout the rest of the school.
We teach the children to:
- Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- Write clearly, accurately and coherently.
To ensure that children are enthused, engaged and successful lifelong readers and writers we implement the following:
- Daily phonics sessions, where the children review the phonemes they have learned previously; learn new phonemes; improve their ability to segment and blend phonemes and their ability to apply this knowledge to their reading and writing.
- Children learn the 44 common sounds from the English language; they are taught how to blend these sounds to decode words.
- In Reception we continue allowing children to experience Phase 1 which allows children to tune in and become aware of sounds in their environment and sounds they can create themselves using their body and instruments. Phase 1 should start in any nursery or pre-school setting and is continued through Key Stage 1 in order to support children’s listening skills.
- Phase 2 is started in Reception, this teaches children the first 23 phonemes. They will begin to recognise, form and use these sounds in simple consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words. They will begin to read and write simple words and captions. Once they are confident in this, they will begin to read texts that have words made from the sounds they know.
- Once the children are secure in Phase 2, they will move onto Phase 3. They will continue to learn new phonemes, improving their reading fluency and developing a greater writing ability.
- Phase 4 consolidates the phonemes learned by blending adjacent consonants.
- Children have a gentle introduction to Phase 5 at the end of Reception then in Year 1 Phase 5 is the main focus, although intervention and keep up groups are used to fill in any gaps for specific individuals or groups of children.
- In Year 2 Phase 5 is reviewed before moving on to the Decision Spelling scheme.
- In each phase there is a set of Harder to Read and Spell Words HRSW (words which are not phonetically decode-able). Children learn to read and write these words.
- Children are assessed regularly. This informs the teacher's planning and if any interventions are needed.
Through the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.