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.
As a school we follow ‘Supersonic Phonics Friends’, to support us with the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics. This ensures a consistent approach across early years and Key Stage 1. Super Supersonic Phonic Friends is an enchanted adventure of phonics where along the way children will meet several friendly woodland characters who represent each literacy skill involved. Supported by the children's new 'Supersonic friends' and rhyming captions and phrases, this approach will ensure children develop confidence and apply each skill to their own reading and writing.
'Supersonic Phonic Friends' is a systematic synthetic phonics programme. Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent. Children can then start to read words by blending (synthesising) the sound together to make a word. Children are taught to apply the skill of segmenting (breaking up) words into phonemes to spell and that blending and segmenting is a reversible process. We do this through a 20 minute teaching session per day in Reception and a 30 minute teaching session per day in Years One and Two alongside integrating phonics in cross curricular activities and provision throughout the day. We work through six phases from Nursery to Year Two.
Firm Foundations in Phonics 1 - This begins in the very early years (Nursery) and never stops! This phase focuses on developing children’s listening, vocabulary and speaking skills. It is divided into 7 aspects: environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion (e.g. clapping and stamping), rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting (e.g. hearing that d-o-g makes ‘dog’). These activities are primarily done through provision and daily interactions with children.
The Basics 2 – This phase begins in Reception. This phase teaches children at least one spelling for 18 of the 44 sounds of the English language. Children will use their auditory processing and memory skills from Firm Foundations in Phonics 1 to start to recognise the spellings for the sound and begin to segment and build new words (writing). They will also begin to blend these sounds together for reading. At the end of The Basics 2, children will be able to hear up to 3 sounds in words, recognise spellings and read and write simple CVC words (e.g. cat, tap) with the 18 spellings for sounds. Children will begin to learn high frequency words and tricky words for reading.
The Basics 3 - This phase continues in Reception. The Basics 3 teaches children the spellings for the further 26 of the 44 sounds of the English language including digraphs (two letters that make one sound e.g sh) and trigraphs (three letters that make one sound e.g air). Children will use their auditory processing and memory skills from Firm Foundations in Phonics 1 and their Basics 2 skills to continue to recognise the spellings for the sound and will begin to write and read more complex words including two syllable words. As part of this phase children will continue to learn a selection of high frequency words and tricky words for both reading and writing. The children also begin to learn the letter names. Children should have learnt all 44 phonemes and graphemes by the end of Reception class.
The Basics 4 - This phase is covered in Year 1. The Basics 4 teaches children to be able to hear more than 3 sounds in a word. They will continue to embed their mastery of The Basics 1 and 2 spellings for sounds in words and progress to 4, 5 and 6 sounds in a word. Children will learn more complex high frequency words and tricky words for both reading and writing.
The Higher Levels of Phonics 5 - This phase begins in Year 1. This phase teaches children the concept that there is more than one spelling for a sound that they can hear in a word. They will find out all about ‘sounds the same but looks different’ e.g. oi and oy and learn when to choose to use the spelling rules for up to 85 spellings for the 44 sounds of the English Language. They will also learn about ‘looks the same, sounds different’ and ‘switch it’ spelling sounds where one spelling can make up to 2 different sounds in words. Throughout the phase children will continue learning high frequency words and tricky words for both reading and writing.
The overall aim is for children to be ready for the higher level of phonics 6 by the time they leave Year 1. This phase is revisited in Year 2.
The Higher Level of Phonics 6 - This phase takes place in Year 2 after previous phases are revisited and consolidated. Children apply their phonic knowledge to recognise and spell complex words. This phase has a clear focus on spelling, including tenses, prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters. The children will be able to independently and automatically read and spell an increasing number of high frequency words and tricky words.
Children have the opportunity to practice their reading with books that are carefully aligned to the phonics phase they are learning.
Reading books are matched the the phonic knowledge of each child. We use Big Cat Phonics Books, which build on sounds that have previously been taught. They are read in a sequential order so that previous learning is constantly re-visited as new learning is introduced.
By using 'Supersonic Phonic Friends' to deliver high quality, systematic phonics, our aim is for all children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school and begin reading to learn, rather than learning to read. They develop a confidence and a ‘can-do’ attitude towards reading and therefore their love of reading is fostered.
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.