There is a strong emphasis on reading and phonics in Key Stage 1, which gives children the necessary building blocks to become confident and independent learners.
The teaching of phonics consists of 6 phases, with each phase building on skills learned previously. Children are taught systematically, from when they enter the Foundation Stage, where they learn the sounds of the letters, and not the letter names. It is these letter sounds that the children then learn to blend together in order to form short words.
For example, the word ‘dog’ can be formed by blending together its 3 sounds: d-o-g
As the children progress, they begin to learn that 2 and even sometimes 3 letters can also make a single sound and they can then blend these to make longer words;
For example: ‘chick’, is actually only made of 3 sounds: ch-i-ck
At Inkpen, we use a phonics programme called “Letters and Sounds”, which we supplement with 2 other resources, called ‘Jolly Phonics’ and ‘Phonics Play’
Children are taught phonics in short, regular sessions and quickly learn to read and spell words of increasing complexity.
At the same time as the sounds are being introduced, children are also taught to read and spell the “tricky” words, which are words that are unusual and do not follow the phonic patterns
Only when they are ready, do children progress from books without words, to simple stories with words and sounds. It is important to understand that phonics alone do not produce fluent readers. There are many other strategies to help children read that are used in school and that you can also do at home. For example, sharing reading with your child, every day at home. It is essential that children do not feel pressurised if they cannot grasp these aspects of reading straight away. Reading needs to become a pleasure if your child is to become a lifelong reader and take enjoyment from it.
Phonics Screening Check:
The government has introduced a Year 1 ‘Phonics Screening Check’ to ascertain children’s attainment in reading phonetically by the end of Year 1. The check consists of 40 words, 20 of them being real words and 20 of them ‘nonsense’ words that all need to be sounded out by the child.
It is very important that the screening check is not seen as a test and that children are not seen as ‘failing’ if they do not meet the pass mark, which is set very high. The school will ensure that those who do not reach the required level at the end of year 1, receive extra support to help with their phonics after the test and continuing into Year 2.
The results are included in the Year 1 end of year report.
Once reading is established, children are encouraged to read as much and as widely as possible progressing up the school’s banded reading scheme. Each book band contains the whole range of genre with books from published schemes, well known authors and recommended primary book lists.
The most effective way of teaching reading from this point forward, is through small group guided reading sessions, with a member of staff. Your child will therefore read regularly with their class teacher within a guided group. Sometimes it is also necessary for children to have “Catch up” reading sessions, which they will then receive on a 1:1 basis.
Spelling is taught throughout the school in a way that gradually builds upon the skills that the children have already learnt. Spelling patterns are then taught and revisited throughout the school in increasingly complexity.
Writing is taught to the children through units of work that explore a range of different genre, both fiction and non-fiction, which increase in variety as the child progresses up the school. Within writing units, children are given the opportunity to read and analyse good examples of these texts, using them as a basis for their own writing. Also included, on a regular basis, are grammar lessons, where children are taught and given the chance to practise new skills.
“We learn at different paces, but never stop” – quote from Red Kite class