Phonics teaching at St Joseph’s R.C Primary School
At St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School we believe that the teaching of phonics underpins and is vital in order for children to become competent readers and writers. We aim to provide high quality and systematic synthetic phonic teaching using Pearson’s Phonics Bug scheme of work. Synthetic phonics introduces phonemes individually in a structured and sequenced way, teaching children the relationship between phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters). We teach phonics discreetly and daily at a brisk pace.
In Nursery and throughout the school the children focus on speaking and listening skills and then move onto recognising individual sounds in the spoken word and the correct pronunciation of the sounds; which is key for successful phonics progression.
The children move onto corresponding the sound to the letter/s, this is called GPC-short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a sound to the correct letters. Then orally blending the sounds to make a word e.g s-u-n.
Once the children are skilled at orally blending sounds the children will develop their oral segmenting skills; this is the process of hearing a whole word and then splitting it up into the sounds (phonemes) that make it. Children need to develop this skill before they will be able to segment words to spell them.
The children will then begin blending, this involves looking at a written word, looking at each letter/s (grapheme) and using knowledge of letters and sounds to work out which sound each letter represents and then merging these sounds together to make a word. This is the basis of reading.
The children will then begin segmenting, this involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the sounds that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order. This is the basis of spelling.
Throughout Phonics sessions at St Joseph’s the children will revisit and review the skills, sounds and letters that they have encountered using the Phonics bug program. Here are a few quotes from the children about Phonics Bug:
Children moving into Reception quickly develop their phonic knowledge and begin to read and write words, by blending the sounds together for reading and then segmenting them for writing.
Phase 1-4 focuses on speaking and listening, sounds, and correlation between sounds and letter/s (GPCs) blending and segmenting. By the end of the Reception year children are expected to be at least secure in Phase 3 and by the end of year one to be secure in Phase 5.
In Phase 5 (Year 1) we introduce the idea that some graphemes can be pronounced in more than one way. E.g the ‘ch’ can be pronounced in each of these ways ‘check’, ‘chef’ and ‘school’. The latter stages of Phase 5 are about learning that some sounds have more than one spelling.
Guided reading sessions start in the Spring term using Bug club e-books. This is continued into Year 2 where Phase 5 is revisited and Phase 6 is introduced. All phases are revisited and consolidated where necessary.
In Year 2 the children focus on Phase 6; Subject knowledge. Phase 6 reinforces much of the learning from Phase 5 and begins to explore spelling rules and conventions e.g adding-ing and -ed, prefixes and suffixes etc.
Phonics bug is used throughout the school alongside the Bug club resource. The Bug club has a range of readers which are linked to the Phonic phases and are phonetically based but also includes a small number of context words, to help children read a wider range of stories and fact books. These bug club books are used during Guided reading sessions and are linked to the appropriate phase. Bug club games and activities are carried out in small groups using the laptops during Phonics lessons for consolidation.
Every child’s progress is tracked and monitored to ensure learning is focussed and correctly matched to their needs. This is carried out every six weeks using ‘Prepare and Assess’ on Phonics Bug.
Children in Year one will undertake the Phonics screening check towards the end of the academic year. This assessment is used to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify the children who need extra help and if necessary they can retake the check in Year 2.
Parents are encouraged to support reading at home and children are expected to read daily. All children at St Joseph’s have their own personal account with a username and password recorded on a bookmark. Children can access the Bug club e books which have been allocated by their class teacher ensuring that the book is at the appropriate level for the child. Once children log on to www.activelearnprimary.co.uk they will see a series of tabs at the top of the page. The tab labelled ‘my stuff’ with a red circle and a number in it, is where they will find all the books that have been allocated to them. Under each book is a golden coin with a number in it. The coin represents how many points they can earn for reading that particular book. The points can be spent buying things from ‘my rewards’. The tab ‘my library’ will store all completed books so at any point children can go back to books they have already read.
This is a fun, interactive way of consolidating reading skills learnt at school and collecting rewards to play games in ‘Pupil world’. Further information on Phonics Bug can be found on this website under Curriculum, then Phonics Bug.