At Hurworth Primary School, reading is at the heart of the curriculum. Our aim is to teach children to become confident and competent readers by learning how to word read and by developing comprehension skills which they can apply across the curriculum, as well as developing a life-long love of reading for pleasure. Parents are actively encouraged to be involved in their child’s reading journey throughout their time at school.
“Between the ages of four and nine, your child will have to master some 100 phonics rules, learn to recognise 3,000 words with just a glance, and develop a comfortable reading speed approaching 100 words a minute. They must learn to combine words on the page with a half-dozen squiggles called punctuation into something – a voice or image in his mind – that gives back meaning.”
(Paul Kropp, 1996)
The Teaching and Learning of Phonics in EYFS
At Hurworth Primary School, we teach phonics through ‘Jolly Phonics’ and ‘Letters and Sounds’.
‘Jolly Phonics’ is a scheme to teach children to read and write through an early systematic phonics programme (http://jollylearning.co.uk/). We teach the main 42 sounds (phonemes) of English, and the alphabet sounds. Children use their letter sound knowledge to blend sounds to form words and to begin reading.
‘Letters and Sounds’ is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven; it is taught in six phases which are outlined in the table below.
In Foundation Stage, phonics is taught through daily phonics lessons which are short and pacey using a multisensory approach that supports the learning of the phonemes and corresponding graphemes. The children then apply their learning in a meaningful context through a range of carefully planned activities that are matched to their interests and abilities. In addition to this, the children are exposed to a wide range of quality texts that are readily accessible in the learning environment. They enjoy shared reading with an adult and access to the school library.
Once children are confident with Phase 2, they are given a school reading book through which they apply their phonic knowledge and their growing understanding of the layout and features of written texts, as well as starting to develop basic skills in deduction and inference. Children are taught to read on a 1:1 basis by the class teacher who matches the book to the child’s needs and abilities. We use a range of books that support early sight recognition, blending, sentence structure and comprehension.
In Foundation Stage children are also given a ‘Word Box’ to complete, which is linked to the phase they are working in; these are changed when the child is confident with the set. Children are also introduced to tricky and high frequency words.
Children’s progress in developing and applying their phonic knowledge is carefully assessed and monitored. By the end of Foundation Stage, children are expected to achieve Phase 4.
Key Stage One
By the end of Year One, the expectation is for children to be secure in Phase 5. In Year One, the children complete the National Phonics Screening Check – a statutory assessment that was introduced in 2012 for all Year 1 pupils. It comprises a list of 40 real words and nonsense words that assess phonics skills and knowledge learnt through Foundation and year 1. The check is very similar to tasks that the children already complete during phonics lesson.
As soon as the teacher assesses a child to be ready, they are also introduced to guided reading in a small group with an adult. The texts used are closely linked to the phonic stage that the children are working in and the sessions also develop their ability to discuss and analyse a text, using skills such as prediction and developing a growing vocabulary.
This continues in Year 2 as does the phonics teaching. Year two typically addresses Phase 6.
Key Stage Two
As children progress in to Key Stage 2, they revise and consolidate the phonics learnt so far. They also continue with guided reading sessions with the aim of exposing children to a range of texts that are linked to their reading ability but also provide a greater element of challenge and to further develop their comprehension skills in line with the expectations of the National Curriculum. Children continue to have an individual reading book, moving on to free readers when it is assessed as appropriate. In addition, the children share high quality class texts through which the full range of English reading and writing skills are taught, as well as opportunities for reading across the curriculum.