Phonics and Early Reading

Curriculum Statement: Our curriculum is very closely linked to our vision “Be Courageous. Be Strong. Do Everything with love.” and this is at the centre of our curriculum design. As a school with a fluctuating cohort and large differences in numbers within each year group, our curriculum overview links to our class structure with subject specific focus and emphasis on skills progression. This approach ensures high expectations and outcomes that challenge and develop every child’s personal skillset. It is vital to us that our children have an inclusive curriculum that celebrates diversity and ‘brings the world to Warton’.

Intent: The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. At Warton Nethersole’s we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of Year 1. We value reading for pleasure and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment. We recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.

Phonics is a high priority in our school and is the first lesson taught each day in Reception and KS1. The structure of each lesson is the same throughout the phases:

Let’s Recap (Revisit & Review)

Let’s Learn (Teach)

Let’s Work (Practise and Apply)

Let’s Check (Apply)

There are different foci for the five lessons across the week; blending, segmenting, consolidation and common exception words.

All of our staff, including KS2 staff, have been trained in phonics and in our phonics programme so that phonics strategies and principles can be used when teaching reading and spelling in KS2.

Implementation: Through the Rocket Phonics programme our children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. Phonics is taught daily to all children in the  Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception), and KS1 (Year 1 and Year 2). Extra support is provided to those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1 and interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels. Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds, or phonemes, and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in a whole class format because it enables staff to ensure application across subjects embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers. Pupils have regular reading sessions with an adult; every Reception and KS1 child is heard at least once a week. We ensure the pupils are regularly practising and applying their phonics knowledge. In the EYFS the continuous provision matches the pupil’s current knowledge and understanding whilst ensuring the children are suitably challenged. Teachers regularly assess the pupil’s phonics knowledge using the Rocket Phonics assessments. These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning. The children have Rocket Phonics reading books which they are encouraged to read each week at home; these books match the new phonemes that have been taught that week. We develop our teaching of Phonics through regular teaching coaching and CPD. We offer a range of parent information sessions and workshops linked to Phonics so that parents know what to expect and best to support their children at home.

Impact– Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. In KS2 our children move from daily phonics lessons to daily active reading lessons unless they are working at pre-key-stage. Our aim is that all children are ready to access active reading from the start of Year 3.