Phonics Curriculum at North Wootton Academy
The school has chosen not to follow one accredited Phonics scheme but instead research several and integrate the most effective elements of each. This has enabled the school to ensure that it has flexibility in its provision in order to meet the specific needs of our pupils.
The main priority therefore is ensuring that all staff are consistent in teaching our approach rather than following a set scheme.
Here at North Wootton Academy, we aim to create a love for Reading, Writing and Spelling through the consistent approach of Phonics teaching. We want every child to leave the school with the skills of an outstanding reader, writer and speller.
We believe that being able to read and spell are two of the most important skills children will learn during their early education.
The use of Phonics is one of the many skills needed to be able to become a competent reader and writer. Here at North Wootton Academy, we aim to teach high quality Phonics, consistently, to give children the best possible start to their reading and writing journey.
In order for children to be able to read and understand the texts they have read, or had read to them, they must learn to recognise and decode words on the page. Good quality Phonics teaching allows the child to be secure in the skills of word recognition and decoding which allows the child to read fluently.
This will result in children being able to read for pleasure and will allow them to move onto developing higher order reading for meaning skills.
How do we implement Phonics?
Each class in Reception and Key Stage 1 teach Phonics as a discrete lesson every day and includes Phonics as part of the teaching and learning throughout other curriculum subjects. Phonics is taught as a whole class approach to ensure that quality first teaching is accessible to all children. Phonics is also continued in Key Stage 2, where necessary, to support those children who do not yet have the phonic knowledge and skills they need. This is led by a specified member of support staff to ensure that there is a strong continuity into Key Stage 2.
When children enter Reception, they are introduced to Phonics from day 1 with a brief recap on Phase 1 Phonics. From the second full week of school, children begin formal teaching of Phonics beginning with Phase 2 where all children will learn the phonemes for the corresponding grapheme. Initially, children begin with the single sounds before progressing onto digraphs and trigraphs. As they develop through their knowledge and understanding of Phonics, alternative pronunciations and spellings will be introduced in Year 1 before moving onto spelling rules in Year 2.
Children are assessed at the end of each Phase which is then used as the basis for intervention.
Phonics is clearly linked with early reading with children taking home two different reading books: one is based on the GPCs taught in the week and the other one being a colour banded book that provides breadth and exposure to a wider range of words.
Planning of Phonics
The approach itself is in the main a combination of Read, Write Inc (RWI), Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics.
We use the bouncy and stretchy concept to identify phonemes from Read, Write Inc and the phoneme songs from Jolly Phonics as it is believed this multi-sensory approach best supports our learners in knowing and remembering more.
In addition, the lesson sequence each week is heavily influenced by RWI in which pupils are spelling, reading and then writing using the focus phonemes.
Beyond this, the progression through the various stages of phonemes links closely to the Letters and Sounds document with some small exceptions such as the split digraphs.
Phonics planning in Reception focuses on 3 GPCs and 2 tricky/common exception words.
Key Stage 1 focus on a minimum of 2 GPCs a week with at least 2 common exception words a week.
Each daily Phonics lesson follows the same structure and process to improve a child’s long term memory. They do not have to interpret different instructions, instead they just have to complete the task with new Phonics knowledge. In addition, this utilises teaching time as teachers do not have to spend time explaining the process and more time can be given to quality first teaching.
How do we support different learning styles?
If your child is a visual learner, they learn by reading or seeing pictures. They understand and remember things by sight and they can picture what they are learning in their head. They learn best by using methods that are primarily visual. Visual learners like to see what they are learning.
Methods to support visual learners:
- All classes (Reception – Year 6) have a speed sound chart visible in the classroom which displays all of the graphemes being taught and learnt in Phonics.
- Reception and most Key Stage 1 classes have washing lines to display GPCs and the alphabet.
- Flashcards are used on a daily basis to recap previously learnt GPCs.
- Jolly Phonics songs are used in Reception for children to link songs and actions to phonemes.
If your child is an auditory learner, they learn by hearing and listening. They understand and remember things they have heard. Auditory learners store information by the way it sounds, and have an easier time understanding spoken instructions than written ones.
Methods to support auditory learners:
- My Turn, Your Turn is a feature that occurs in every Phonics lesson. The teacher says the phoneme followed by the children. This is during the Phonics recap and main teaching input.
- Jolly Phonics songs are used in Reception for children to link songs to phonemes.
A kinesthetic learner is someone who needs to be actively engaged in their learning. They are 'tactile' learners who use movement, testing, trial and error and a non-traditional learning environment to retain and recall information.
Methods to support kinaesthetic learners:
- Read Write Inc bouncy and stretchy movements are used during every Phonics lesson at least once. All classes recap previously learnt GPCs by taking part in a bouncy and stretchy workout. When new knowledge is introduced to the children, teachers will model a bouncy or stretchy action to link to the phoneme.
- Jolly Phonics actions and songs are also used in Reception for children to use movement and actions to recall phonemes learnt.
- Visuals are always evident in all Phonics lessons.
- Children get the opportunities to learn by trial and error by independent working skills.
How do we support SEND children in Phonics?
At North Wootton every teacher is required to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of the children in their class in line with the expectations set out in The Teacher Standards 2012.
In order for this to happen, staff receive training and support to ensure that they provide good wave 1 provision (quality first teaching). They also identify and deliver wave 2 support (short term support interventions) alongside other support staff where appropriate. Wave 3 support (individualized support and interventions for the higher need pupils) is implemented by support staff under the guidance of the class teachers, SENDCo and school Principal. All interventions are monitored for impact with assessments at the beginning and the end of each block of support.
All children take part in the whole class Phonics lesson in order for them to receive quality first teaching from the class teacher. Different learning styles are taken into consideration hence why we use a range of different elements from different schemes.
If a child needs additional support in Phonics knowledge, short term support interventions are put in place to ensure gaps do not form in their Phonics knowledge. These will be SMART targets identified by the teacher in order for the child to achieve and make progress.
As part of our Phonics teaching provision, teachers will use various strategies to adapt access to the curriculum including:
- breaking tasks down into small steps e.g. using post it notes for spelling or for sentence structure.
- using technology to record ideas etc.
- writing frames e.g. phoneme frames with highlighted sound buttons.
How do we measure the impact of our Phonics provision?
The impact of the teaching in Phonics is assessed through the application of the Phonics assessment which are split into the 4 different phases (Phase 2, Phase 3, Phase 4 and Phase 5).
All assessments are judged termly through a data validation process in which data, books and teaching are reviewed by the subject leader and discussed with each teacher to ensure an accuracy in assessment.
All SEND, EAL and pupil premium champions track these cohorts specifically on a half-termly basis and conduct pupil progress reviews twice yearly. With regard to SEND, this may involve the reviewing of their progress on North Wootton SEND Pathway as required for pupils 2 years below the expected level.
Within the EYFS, key milestones have been identified across the year and these are used to assess the children’s progress towards meeting the ELG for writing; this enables the more timely identification of any gaps that need addressing.
In addition to these assessments, all children in Year 1 complete the Statutory Phonics Screening Check in June which is a requirement from the Government. The purpose of the phonics screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard.
The Year 1 phonics screening check is not a formal test, but a way for teachers to ensure that children are making sufficient progress with their phonics skills to read words and that they are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.
The Role of Parents/Carers
In order for our children at North Wootton Academy to be an outstanding reader, writer and speller, we need support from home.
We ask all children to complete reading at home and weekly spellings homework. With our younger children, this requires support from parents/carers.
Our expectation is that the children read at home for at least 10 minutes every day. From Reception, children are provided with banded reading books which match their learnt current Phonics knowledge and development.
Spelling homework is set on Spelling Shed which are linked to the current learning in Phonics which match their newly learnt GPCs.
We also provide our younger children with an online reading platform called Raz Kids.
These resources are available to be printed off to support a child.
Sight Word Flashcards
Rhymes for letter formation – taken from Read Write Inc.
Jolly Phonics Actions and Songs
These are the actions and songs we use in class to support children in linking songs/actions to phonemes and graphemes. Please use these to support your child.
Jolly Phonics Song
Miss Bond’s Phoneme Videos
- Phase 2
- Phase 3
North Wootton Academy Phonics Glossary
As you are aware, vocabulary and language is imperative in a child’s development.
These are the words we use with the children during a Phonics lesson:
A phoneme is the sound that a letter makes e.g. ‘a’ for ant.
A grapheme is the letter we write to represent the phoneme/sound.
Two letters together that make one sound, e.g. ‘ch for chip’.
Three letters together that make one sound, e.g. ‘igh as in night’.
Two vowels together that make one sound, e.g. ‘ai as in rain’.
Two consonants together that make one sound, e.g. ‘ch for chip’.
split vowel digraph
Two vowels that are split apart but still make one sound, e.g. ‘a_e in cake’.
Segmenting is where the word is broken down into the phonemes/sounds.
Blending is where the sounds are joined together to make the word.
Decoding is the process of seeing written words on a page and being able to say them out loud.
Sight words cannot be sounded out easily. They are common words that have complex spellings in them. The children need to be able to read and spell them by remembering what they look like and the spelling pattern.
high frequency words
High frequency words are common words, words that appear very often in written texts. They are a mixture of decodable words (words that can be sounded out) and tricky / exception words (words in which the English spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way, which means the words have to be learned and recognised by sight).
A word made up of a consonant, vowel, consonant e.g. cat.
CCVC—consonant, consonant, vowel, consonant (step, spot). CVVC—consonant, vowel, vowel, consonant (red, sail).
Alphablocks - Information
Alphablocks Videos on Cbeebies
Read with Fonics
Teach your monster to read
Read Write Inc Training Videos
North Wootton Academy Early Literacy Policy
Please take a look at the school’s policy for Early Literacy including Phonics.
If you require any further assistance with the Phonics provision at North Wootton Academy, please do not hesitate to contact the Early Literacy Co-Ordination, Mrs Emma Harley-Bond via the school office on firstname.lastname@example.org.