At Prospect Hill Infant and Nursery School phonics is a high priority and we are passionate
about ensuring all children become confident, enthusiastic and life-long readers and writers.
We believe that phonics provides the strong foundations of learning to make the development
into fluent reading and writing easier. Our intention is that, through effective teaching of
systematic phonics, children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend
sounds to read words.
At Prospect Hill Infant and Nursery School, we follow the Letters and Sounds document’s principles and practice across the EYFS and Key Stage One – this is supported by teachers using the planning as provided by LCP Phonics Planning. This structured and thorough approach supports the effective delivery of phonics lessons by catering for all children’s needs. Interventions are based around the use of LCP Phonics planning in order to meet each child’s specific needs.
Our Letters and Sounds sessions occur every day, with no exceptions, as the continuity and pace of the programme is key to accelerating the progress of children’s reading development.
We follow the progression of skills document for phonics which shows how knowledge and skills are built up over time.
Nursery children work on Phase One phonics, which concentrates on developing their speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. As children move into Reception they continue to build on their listening skills and are introduced to Phase 2 which marks the start of systematic phonics work. They have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, practise together and apply what they have learnt. Through Letters and Sounds, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound.
There are six phases within the Letters and Sounds programme: –
Phase 1 – Activities are divided into seven aspects. Environmental Sounds, Instrumental Sounds, Body Sounds, Rhythm and Rhyme, Alliteration, Voice Sounds and finally Oral Blending and Segmenting.
Phase 2 – Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting sounds into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase 3 – The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as “ch”, “oo” and “th” representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase 4 – No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase 5 – Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase 6 – Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.
Children have opportunities to apply their developing phonic knowledge and skills in the context of shared reading and writing across all subjects. For one to one reading, both in class and at home, children have fully decodable books that are closely matched to their developing phonic level. We draw upon Collins Big Cat texts. These reading books are closely matched to our progression document and are grouped accordingly.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers
by the end of Key Stage 1. They develop a confidence and a ‘can-do’ attitude towards reading
and therefore their love of reading is fostered. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school.
Intervention sessions enable a greater proportion of pupils to be on track to meet year group
expectations or, in the case of those working significantly below expectations, to make better
than expected progress. The English subject leader provides an action plan for the subject and
addresses areas for development and improvement annually. Attainment in phonics is measured
by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.