Phonics is an important tool to develop reading fluency. The Department for Education National Curriculum for England states that reading helps pupils to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually and socially. An important goal of the curriculum is therefore to enable young learners to become fluent readers. Phonics is an approach to teaching reading, and some aspects of writing, by developing learners’ phonemic awareness. This involves the skills of hearing, identifying and using phonemes or sound patterns in English. The aim is to systematically teach learners the relationship between these sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics emphasises the skills of decoding new words by sounding them out and combining or ‘blending’ the sound-spelling patterns.
Our aim is for all children to leave Nine Mile Ride:
- having made the best possible progress as a result of consistent, Quality First Teaching and (where appropriate) additional interventions to narrow the gaps in children’s learning.
- confident to try new things, experiment with their writing, take risks, and continue to expand their experience of reading.
- reading fluently, with confidence in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
Phonics is taught using the structure of our systematic synthetic programme ‘Little Wandle Letters & Sounds’. This comprehensive programme provides a multisensory approach, using letter frames, flash cards, phonic games and listening activities.
Using the Little Wandle Letters & Sounds lesson structure, each session will follow the same format of introduce, revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. This ensures that children learn new sounds whilst applying taught sounds to their reading of new words. Children work on decoding, segmenting and blending in every lesson. Children are exposed and use the correct subject specific technical vocabulary (such as phoneme, digraph, trigraph). Our lessons are designed to meet the children’s needs based on our on-going phonic assessments. This informs planning and streaming within year groups.
During daily direct teaching sessions, the teacher will provide clear model and pronunciation of sounds, observing and assessing children to ensure those who have a secure understanding are able to move on as well as be aware of those children who need to revisit certain sounds. They will also be addressing misconceptions during the lesson. Children will be active participants in every lesson.
Phonics resources are consistent throughout the school, allowing children to apply their phonic knowledge in all areas of the curriculum. Phonics and word mats support spelling and writing across the curriculum and having access to Phonics displays enables children to apply taught knowledge and skills to decode unfamiliar words in the classroom.
Reading scheme books provide decodable reading material to ensure that, as children move through the early stages of acquiring phonic knowledge and skills, they can practice by reading texts closely matched to their level of phonic attainment. Texts from a range of genres and publishers are matched by phonics phases and colour reading band to ensure children are reading at 90% fluency.
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to
communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
What is the aim of our curriculum for reading?
The national curriculum for reading aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and appreciate our
- rich and varied literary heritage
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading)
Reading at Nine Mile Ride Primary School is taught using a range of approaches that provide an array of opportunities to develop a love of reading that we hope will stay with them for life. This should empower them to succeed in other curriculum areas.
All children will experience:
Direct, focused, high-quality phonics is taught everyday in EYFS and KS1 as a method to teach children to read the sounds in words. It helps children to learn to read quickly and skillfully. Decoding as a method to read unfamiliar words enables children to read with increasing fluency and begin to apply their phonic knowledge to spell words. Additional support and interventions are provided by highly trained teachers and teaching assistants across EYFS & KS1 as well as for those children in KS2 who do not pass the phonics screening and require extra support. Little Wandle Letters and Sounds ‘Keep up’ programme is used across the school providing a high quality and progressive teaching programme.
A range of high-quality texts are available as printed books through the class book shelves, school library and as ebooks through our online Accelerated Reader library, providing a familiarity with choosing both fiction, non-fiction and poetry books as well as an opportunity to choose books to read for pleasure. Texts reflect the interests of the children and our school community, providing diverse and culturally rich texts.
A whole-class reading approach so that all children are immersed in high-quality literature, discussions and reasoning to develop fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, as well as listening to high-quality modelled reading.
A range of question types in the style of VIPERS, using Answer, Prove it, Explain it (APE) or Point, Evidence, Explanation (PEE) in addition to PiXL reading strategies.
We use the book band colour system alongside a combination of reading schemes to support children to progress. Example schemes include: Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Big Cat Collins and phonetically decodable books from the Bug Club range. Children learn to read at different rates. Once they finish the reading scheme, we encourage them to become ‘free readers’ and choose their own books from our extensively stocked school library. Alongside this, we have an extensive range of books matched to the children’s reading levels electronically through our Accelerated Reader and Reading Eggs programme. All books provided include fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range.
For more in depth information on phonics and reading, please have a look at our Curriculum Overview 2021-22 (pdf)