At Holy Cross and All Saints we believe every child is a reader and aim to ensure that all our pupils acquire the strong foundations of synthetic phonics upon which to tackle the complex processes of reading and writing.
We use the principles and practice set out in the Letters and Sounds DFE 2007 document, as the basis of all planning and teaching. We provide fun, fast paced and rigorous, high quality, daily phonics sessions which engage all children and ensure that children develop sound phonetic knowledge, understanding and skills so that they can decode words confidently and engage with higher order reading and writing skills. These sessions aim;
- To teach children aural discrimination, phonemic awareness and rhyme to aid reading, writing and spelling development.
- To ensure the teaching of phonics is fun, lively, interactive and investigative.
- To ensure that children know the 44 phonemes within the English language.
- To encourage the use of segmenting and blending so that decoding skills provide a sound foundation for reading, writing and spelling.
- To teach children to recognise the graphemes within words and associate them with the appropriate phoneme when reading.
- To provide children with strategies to identify and decode ‘tricky words.’
- To build self-esteem and instil confidence in children so they can tackle new and unfamiliar words when reading independently and across the curriculum.
Teaching and assessment is systematic and progressive throughout the foundation stage and key stage one and into key stage two for those children needing interventions and further support.
There are 44 Phonemes (sounds) in the English Language, which when combined 'blended', make all the words we hear and use each and every day. These sounds are grouped into 'Phases' and are introduced to the children gradually throughout the Foundation Stage and into Year 1, as it takes time to learn, practice and apply new sounds to speaking, reading and writing. Watch the useful video below to hear and see the sounds in the order they are introduced.
The children progress to Phase 6 in Year 2, where the focus is on developing their knowledge of common spelling patterns, including adding suffixes to familiar words for example;
- adding 'ed' and 'ing' to change the tense of a verb
- changing nouns from singular to plural by adding 's', 'es' or 'ies'
- forming adjectives using a range of suffixes including 'ful' and 'less'
Our Daily Phonics Sessions follow this structure;
Introduction - The teacher will explain to the children what they will be learning today and get them enthusiastic and motivated for the session.
Revisit and review - The children will play a quickfire game to practise something they have learned before and help build their confidence.
Teach - The children will be taught a new phoneme/grapheme or a new skill - this will be taught in a fun multisensory way and may well involve: songs, actions, pictures, puppets, writing giant letters in the air.
Practise - The children play fast, fun games to practise the new thing they have just learned.
Apply - The children will have a quick go at reading or writing sentences that involve the new learning.
Reading with your Child
One of the greatest gifts that you can give to your child is a love of reading. Research has shown that one of the biggest indicators of success in a child’s life is whether or not they have books in the home. As a parent, try to focus on making reading fun and enjoyable rather than skills. There are many, many different things that you can do. Here are just a few:
- Let your child see you reading - This can be a newspaper, magazine, comic, anything you like. This is a powerful message to send to your child so go on, put your feet up for 10 minutes and let them see you enjoying reading.
- Reading to your child - Bedtime is great but any other time is fine too. Even when children are old enough to read by themselves they will still love to hear you read to them.
- Read something with your child - It doesn’t need to be a book. The secret is to find something that your child is desperate to read - comics, magazines, football programmes, newspapers, internet pages, texts, e-mails, catalogues etc. Never underestimate that power of a book that a child really, really wants to read, even if it is too hard for them. If they are very keen to read a particular tricky book then go for it and just help them out when they need it.
- Re-read school reading books and their favourite stories over and over. As they begin to learn the words on each page by sight, they will grow in confidence and fluency and begin to enjoy the stories more.
- Talk about what they are reading - Talk before you start. Talk whilst you are reading. Talk after you have finished. You can still talk about what your child is reading even if they don’t want to actually read with you any more.
- Praise your child - Studies show that children who are given specific support with their reading make much greater progress if they are given lots of praise than if they are given the support alone. It can be hard to stay positive if you are particularly worried about your child’s reading skills or feel that their progress is slower than you would like but confidence and self esteem plays such a big part in early reading. .
- One really effective technique is Paired Reading. To do this you will read a book out loud at the same time as your child. When the child is ready they will give you a subtle signal agreed in advance (tap the book, nudge you - it can be anything but mustn’t disturb the reading). On this signal, you stop reading and the child carries on independently. If they make a mistake or get stuck, give them a moment to correct themselves. If they do, let them carry on. If they don’t then you join back in with them until they next give you the signal.
- Below you find some fun and useful links to help you support your child at home with their phonics.