At Portfields Primary School we follow Letters and Sounds, which is a phonics programme published by the Department for Education in 2007. We are currently researching the new phonics schemes that have been validated by the government, ready to implement one in time for September 22.
Letters and Sounds sets out a detailed and systematic daily programme for teaching phonic skills to our children, from Early Years Foundation Stage to Year 2 and beyond. It contains six phases, which are taught in order, to allow the children to read and write words successfully. Phase one starts in Early Years Foundation Stage and as the children progress and start learning to hear the sounds the words make they move onto the following stages. Our aim is to ensure all children have had the opportunity to have access to all six stages by the end of Year Two. The structured phonic lessons we use are the stepping stones to all children being able to read fluently by the end of Year 6, which is our ultimate aim.
We use this phonics approach to teach children how to decode, segment and blend words so that they can read and write them. Children practise using their skills in their daily 20-30 minute phonics lesson until they reach the end of phase 6. Daily phonics lessons revise sounds previously learnt and then teach the new phoneme (sound) and grapheme (letter). The children practise reading and writing words containing the new grapheme being taught. There are numerous opportunities in their lesson to apply their phonics. This is through games such as ‘reading bingo’, interactive whiteboard games and writing the grapheme in sand/shaving foam. Alongside this, at Portfields Primary School, we use various websites to enhance the teaching and learning in our classroom.
In Year 1 children take the National Phonics Screening Check to test their phonic skills of being able to read phonetically decodable and ‘alien’/nonsense words. This takes place in June and is carried out on a 1:1 basis with a familiar adult. Parents are informed if their child has reached the expected standard or not.