Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. They are taught how to:
recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as /sh/ or /oo/; and
blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
At Northern Federation, we believe that the ability to read is fundamental to pupils’ development as independent learners, during their time at school and beyond. Reading is central to our ability to understand, interpret and communicate with each other and the world around us.
We are proud of our consistent whole school approach to the teaching of phonics. We have developed and mapped out the progression of phonics across Early Years, Key Stage 1 and early Key Stage 2, to ensure the effectiveness of the teaching and learning of phonics.
At Northern we use Northern Phonics which outlines systematic teaching of phonics to support children in learning to read and write. It is proven that high quality phonic teaching can substantially reduce the number of children at risk of falling below age-related expectations for reading. Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.
Children begin by recognising and using environmental sounds, rhyme and song to engage in language. As children progress in their phonic knowledge, they will move on from learning letters and the sounds they make (known as graphemes and phonemes), to using and applying their phonic knowledge to segment and blend words for reading and meaning.
This knowledge is progressively applied into writing, with the aim of building confident independent children with the tools they require to access the written world around them.
At Northern we support our children’s journey by drowning them in phonics. Every working wall, poster, scaffold and model uses the same systematic approach to phonics as is shared in a discreet phonics lesson. During teaching, adults use metacognitive modelling of phonic strategies to model decoding of words, adding sound buttons and using cumulative blending.
Children who still need extra support to develop their phonic knowledge across Key 2 are identified and targeted for intervention. There are a range of intervention strategies which teachers will use and the most appropriate one is selected once a child’s needs have been assessed.
Phonics Screening Check
At the end of Year 1 all children will sit a Phonics Screening Check. This is delivered to children 1:1 by Mrs Fullick or their class teacher. Children are given a list of 40 decodable words, some known and some pseudo, to check children’s ability to recognise and blend graphemes. Any children who do not meet the expected standard pass mark will re-sit the screening at the end of Year 2.
Sound mats are used in school to support children in their writing to retrieve known graphemes (the way a sound is written) to use in their own writing. These are organised into sets for teaching from Year R to Year 1.