Our Phonics Teaching
At Charlton Kings Infants School, we place phonics as one of our highest priorities within our curriculum. We aim to ensure that every child will establish a secure phonological understanding which allows them to become competent and independent when reading and writing. Within our phonics provision, we ensure there is scope to reinforce learning for those children requiring additional support as well as identifying ways to further challenge those children who are excelling.
Our phonics programme
We follow the 'Phonics International' teaching sequence, focusing on teaching both the basic and complex codes at each appropriate stage. We have ensured that review and consolidation of all graphemes taught previously is built into our programme as we believe that this is important at the start of each new school year. We have carefully structured our approach to ensure that where graphemes are best taught together, this is done, in order to facilitate rapid progress. Our phonics programme is also based firmly upon actions and mnemonics to engage our young children. Within phonic lessons, children are taught whole class recognition and application of phoneme/grapheme correspondence. They are provided with rich and multiple opportunities to apply this learning through both adult led and child led learning opportunities throughout our curriculum and ‘Continuous Provision’. We ensure that immediate intervention is provided for pupils who are not making expected progress in phonics in order to ensure that all children progress quickly through our robust phonics programme.
In Kindergarten, children are given access to Letters and Sounds phase 1 activities through both planned group work and ‘in the moment’ interactions with children. We ensure that development of children’s oracy skills are a key priority through the provision of high quality language and interaction opportunities. Children are introduced to letter sounds through daily interactions and play based learning opportunities and encouraged to orally blend and segment sounds in words during daily provision and practice.
As children progress into the Reception year, we continue to build on key oracy skills to enable every child to progress in phonics and fully access our engaging curriculum. These include rhyming, spotting alliteration and oral segmenting and blending. Year R teachers plan and deliver a systematic phonics programme following the school’s teaching sequence. Phonics is taught daily and each lesson follows a clear structure providing opportunities to revisit and review, teach, practise and apply as a whole class. This learning is reinforced during both child initiated and adult led learning opportunities within our ‘Continuous Provision’.
An emphasis on daily phonics teaching supports children’s understanding that letters represent sounds in spoken words in order to support their decoding of the printed word. Children are given decodable reading books as soon as they start school. These are aligned precisely to our phonic teaching programme and the children’s developing phonic knowledge and application.
Key Stage One
We continue to build on developing children’s key oracy skills in order to support their ongoing progress in phonics and their access to our rich and engaging curriculum. Key Stage One teachers continue to plan and deliver a systematic phonics scheme following the school’s teaching sequence. Phonics is taught daily and each lesson follows a clear structure providing opportunities to revisit and review, teach, practise and apply as a whole class, with key learning reinforced during independent work. This ensures consistency across classes as well as providing children with a clear structure to follow. The first term of each year is a chance to secure the phonics taught in the previous year, ensuring a secure knowledge for children. For children where this knowledge is already secure, they are taught to apply this knowledge through a range of challenging activities. Teachers use all independent reading and writing opportunities across the curriculum and within our ‘Continuous Provision’ as valuable opportunities to further teach and consolidate a secure phonic understanding.
During the Summer term in Year 1, all children take part in the phonics screening check. The purpose of this is to confirm that they have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. Any children who do not reach the national agreed standard will be given extra support in Year 2 to ensure they improve their decoding skills. Those children will then have the opportunity to retake the phonics screening check during the Summer term in Year 2.
Children continue to be given and select from a wide range of rich reading resources that are aligned to our teaching sequence and the children’s phonic knowledge and application. Once children are secure with the complex code, they are increasingly encouraged to select texts from a given range and to read and re-read texts in order to develop confidence and fluency.
Children complete phonics practice in school and then take these sheets home to share with their parents/carers. There are opportunities for further revision at home on the reverse of their sheet which children are encouraged to complete. Children take common exception word cards (learnt during daily phonic lessons) home to practise recognition of these more challenging words. In addition, children and their parents are provided with a weekly phonics video to reinforce key learning at home, through our virtual learning platform.
Key Stage One:
The children take their phonics work home on a daily basis to share with their families and consolidate their learning. Alongside the phonics sheets taken home, children are encouraged to practise spelling common exception words. In school, these are incorporated into phonics lessons each day. Parents and carers are provided with complete lists of all the words children are required to read and spell by the end of each school year, but are encouraged to focus on each term’s words. In addition, children and their parents are provided with a weekly phonics video to reinforce key learning from school at home, through our virtual learning platform.
Additional support for vulnerable learners
Consistent scaffolds, such as sound cards and phonic displays/working walls can be found within all learning environments to reinforce teaching and support children’s learning. Daily and weekly phonics assessments quickly identify those children who require additional support to catch up quickly.
In all year groups, identified vulnerable learners take part in precision monitoring which provides focused intervention to support with grapheme recognition. Certain children complete interventions such as Dancing Bears and Apples and Pears in addition to daily Quality First Teaching and learning opportunities in order to ensure accelerated progress. The progress these children make is regularly monitored by teachers to ensure the most effective intervention and accelerated progress for each child. Teachers also liaise and work closely with parents to ensure secure learning and accelerated progress for all pupils.
For some children, it may be appropriate to investigate whether there are any specific learning difficulties which are barriers to them accessing the learning. Children may be identified through conversations with parents and outside agencies and a graduated approach to meeting that child’s individual needs will be initiated (see our SEND school offer on our website); https://www.ckis.org.uk/attachments/download.asp?file=1667&type=pdf
We will work closely with specialist support and training for staff from appropriate agencies (eg Educational Psychologist) to ensure that appropriate intervention and support is in place for these children and communicated effectively with parents and carers.
Training for staff:
At the start of each school year, staff who are new to the school or new to a year group are given training on the teaching of phonics by the English Lead.
Important information regarding the teaching and assessing of phonics learning is disseminated to all staff through regular updates and refresher training throughout the year.