"The more that you read, the more that you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go." - Dr Seuss.
At Holy Family Catholic Primary School our aim when teaching phonics is to promote a love of reading and a desire to discover, with our children becoming confident, fluent readers. We want our children to learn to read effortlessly so that they can concentrate on their understanding and the enjoyment of reading that the exciting world of books offers.
Daily phonics lessons are essential for developing early literacy skills and our children will begin their phonics journey from when they start with us in Nursery (please take a look at our Longterm Plan to see in more detail how the teaching of phonics progresses from Nursery to Year 2). In our school we follow the Pearson Bug Club scheme for teaching phonics.
What is Phonics and why do we teach it?
Listening for sounds (phonemes) within words
Hearing sounds and knowing the letters (graphemes) that represent each sound
Recognising letters and sounds in print
Blending the letters and sounds together to build words when reading
Segmenting the words into letters and sounds for writing
Remembering and learning by sight words that cannot be decoded (Tricky Words and Common Exception Words).
The teaching of phonics includes six Phases (each phase is detailed in the sections below).
Phonics in Nursery
Our children begin their Phonics journey when they arrive with us in Nursery. Our Nursery children are taught Phase 1 Phonics which is essential for exploring and tuning into sounds and is a crucial starting point in a child's journey of learning to read. Phase 1 involves having fun with sounds such as listening to high quality songs, stories, rhymes and poems, experimenting with instruments, exploring the sounds that they hear and make and so much more!
In the Summer term of Nursery, for children that are ready, they may begin Phase 2 Phonics which is when children begin to associate letters with sounds, however, Phase 1 continues to be taught alongside Phase 2 and beyond.
Please see the slides below to find out in more detail what is involved in Phase 1 and 2 Phonics.
Phonics in Reception and Year 1
Throughout Reception and Year 1, our children continue to develop their reading skills. Throughout Reception, we expect our children to move through Phases 2-4 in the Pearson Bug Club scheme and in Year 1 they are taught Phase 5 and 6. The slides below outline what is taught in each of these phases.
Reading Books in Reception and Year 1
In Reception and Year 1, your child will be given reading books to take home. The Bug Club scheme provides a rich variety of both fiction and non-fiction reading books that carefully match the phonics that the children are learning in class to ensure the children are consolidating their learning. The children will also read each week on a 1:1 basis with their teachers in class and, in Year 1, in small guided reading groups.
Alongside the Pearson Bug Club books, we may also provide your child with Oxford Reading Tree books to supplement their reading which, again, will be very carefully chosen to ensure that they match the phonics level your child is working at.
We will always ensure that any reading books your child brings home will only contain spellings of sounds that your child knows and is confident with reading.
We strongly encourage our children to read as much as possible at home using the Bug Club books that they are given. From Reception onwards, we will provide our children with reading books and e-books to read daily both in school and at home. Each child will have a Reading Record in which they are able to record their reading journey.
Alongside their reading books, in Reception and Year 1, your child may also be set some Tricky Words and Common Exception Words to learn to read and spell. These are words that follow irregular rules and must be learnt by sight. Each year group has a set of Common Exception words that they are expected to learn to read and spell. These can be seen in our Longterm Plan.
Year 1 children will also be set some spellings to learn each week linked to their prior phonics learning.
The Phonics Screening Check
In the Summer term of Year 1, children take part in a statutory Phonics Screening Check. The expectation is that children are secure in Phase 5 phonics by the end of Year 1 and this check assesses that children are able to decode words to this level and helps identify any children who may need further support in Year 2. The check is made up of 40 words for children to read and is a fun activity that children complete 1:1 with their teacher.
Phonics in Year 2
In Year 2, it is expected that children are now secure at Phase 5 and 6 phonics, meaning they now have the skills to be fluent readers. The children will continue to revise their learning from Phase 5 and 6 phonics, but the focus in daily lessons now shifts from reading to spelling. They will begin to look at spelling patterns, rules and strategies and apply these in their own writing.
We fully appreciate that some children may not be quite secure at Phase 5 and 6 and not yet have developed the skills to be fluent readers upon entering Year 2. For any children that are not quite ready, Bug Club phonics from previous phases will still be taught in small booster groups to ensure that our children do not move on too quickly with gaps in their learning.
Our Longterm plan outlines the teaching of reading and spelling in Year 2 and has been adapted from the Support for Spelling document.
Reading in Year 2
Children will continue to read in school each week, both individually and in small guided reading groups. For children that have already moved through the Bug Club scheme, they will now be given Oxford Reading Tree books. These books will be very carefully chosen to ensure they match the level your child was reading at when using the Bug Club books. This ensures a smooth transition and allows the child to continue their reading journey at a level of appropriate challenge for them.
The focus of reading in Year 2 will be very much comprehension based, ensuring children show a thorough understanding of what they have read. Children will also continue to develop their fluency and expression skills when reading slightly more challenging books.
As in Reception and Year 1, children are expected to read daily at home throughout Year 2. They will also be given spellings to learn each week and will continue to be set some Tricky Words and Common Exception Words to read and spell.
The full document outlining the 6 Phonics phases is shown below.
Please click here to look at our Long Term plan for Phonics. This shows the progression in Phonics from Nursery through to Year 2.