We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.
We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.
For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression: Phonics Teaching and Learning Progression Overview
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.
If you want to support your children with phonics at home, this document, 'Lesson Links' provides you with Youtube video links to help.
These videos are especially important in explaining some of the key terminology:
- Letters & Sounds - Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence Explained
- Letters & Sounds - Phase 2 & 3 Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence Tutorial
- Best Practice for Home Reading
At Vange Primary School we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.
In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics alongside, Rugby Star, Big Collins Cat and Oxford reading Tree to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow.
Once children progress beyond decodable texts, and have a decoding reading age of at least seven years, they move onto our REN Reading Scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers. Through REN Reading, the children explore texts and are asked to complete comprehension quizzes on each book they read. This checks their comprehension and understanding of the text alongside their oral fluency. The link to REN Reading can be found on the children's Google Classroom so they can access comprehension quizzes and electronic texts from home.
Children across all year groups take part in daily whole class guided reading sessions. These lessons focus on the core reading skills that the children will need in order to become fluent, confident readers; they allow the children to develop strong oral responses to a range of comprehension questions.
Throughout the Autumn Term, the children are taught each reading skill in an immersive two week unit. These reading skills are then practised and applied to a variety of texts during the Spring and Summer Terms. Key question stems are used to explore questions relating to each skill. Weekly written comprehension sessions provide an opportunity for the children to formulate written responses.
Reading Progression Overview: This document outlines the learning objectives across the age ranges for the key reading skills.
Expectations at Home
- To read at least five times a week
- To read for at least 15 minutes
- To regularly practise any sounds and common exception words
- To explore unfamiliar vocabulary in books through a dictionary and/or thesaurus
- 15 minutes extra play weekly for children who have read at least five times
- Half termly rewards for improvements in Star Reading Test scores
- Sports club for the two children who have the highest book points totals at the end of each half term
- Loyalty card stamp for every comprehension quiz score of 80% or more - each completed loyalty card goes in a termly raffle for book vouchers
- Raffle entry for every quiz score of 100% - termly raffle for a reading star badge