Our Approach to Phonics and Reading
Here at St Francis, we are applying the synthetic phonics approach to phonics teaching, so as to provide a brisk, systematic, rigorous and enjoyable approach to the learning and teaching of the 44 phonemes.
In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, children are predominantly taught through the Read Write Inc Programme, supported by the Letter and Sounds document and various resources that run alongside and complement the Read Write Inc Programme. Children also have the opportunity to read rhymes, sing songs, recite poems, listen to and tell stories, play games and participate in rhyming and rhythmic activities. The children then move through the Sound Sets as described here.
In Key Stage 2, phonics is revisited and revised to assist with blending and segmenting when reading and to support knowledge of spelling rules when writing. This can take place as part of a English session, or as a separate activity. Children who are off track continue to receive intervention targeting the phases and areas of Read Write Inc. where they are struggling.
In the Foundation Stage children’s reading is taught through the phonics activities mentioned above. They experience a variety of text types and are encouraged to understand the elements of a story. Children sequence parts of a shared story and discuss what they know about the characters.
During Key Stage 1 the children are encouraged to form an interest in and take pleasure from a variety of text types. They are taught a range of strategies to decode words, with an emphasis on phonological knowledge and word building skills. They are encouraged to express their opinions about the books they read, giving reasons for their answers and indicate their comprehension of texts through adult questioning and group discussion.
Throughout Key Stage 2 the children will be encouraged to read independently and for the intrinsic enjoyment of reading. They read a range of texts and materials and use their knowledge of words, sentences and texts to form an understanding and make appropriate responses. They have opportunities to read a variety of text types, varying in length, genre and complexity, to provide them with sufficient challenge.
There are a variety of scheme books used at the school including the Oxford Reading Scheme which support and consolidate developing reading skills. Year groups have access to sets of books which challenge and help provide a diverse range of reading. Individual class libraries are well-stocked with books for the children to use.
Children read with an adult regularly. This varies depending upon the age and ability of the child. The types of reading include group reading, guided reading, individual reading and independent reading, as appropriate, depending upon the child, text and learning objectives.
Reading assessments are in the form of external SATs at Years 2 and 6, and internal reading assessments in Years 3, 4 and 5. Teachers make formative and summative assessments of reading based on the age related expectations for each year group.