Phonics

At Greyfriars Academy reading is recognised as a key life skill and of paramount importance to academic success. We strive to ensure all children become enthusiastic, motivated and life-long readers and writers with a love of literature and an enjoyment of reading for pleasure. We enable the development of children’s confidence in reading and writing by exposing them to a wide variety of genres, text types and reading and writing experiences. This supports them to develop the necessary skills to accurately decode words in order to be able to read fluently with a good comprehension.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage One (KS1), there is a greater emphasis on phonics; this is then applied throughout the rest of the school to consolidate what has been learnt. This is not to say Phonics teaching is restricted to this these key stages. We use the same support for children in their later stages of schooling or for children who speak English as an additional language.

We use the sequence Teach, Review, Practise and Apply for new sounds (phonemes) alongside Phonics Bug resources to promote consistency of our teaching. This is underpinned by the Department of Education approved document ‘Letters and Sounds’ which allows our Phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from our Reception to Year 2.

Phase 1 lays the foundations for more discrete Phonics teaching 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. Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience. They are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same phoneme.  However, we recognise Phasing as a non-linear process with skill from Phase 1 being regularly interwoven throughout the children’s reading curriculum and continuous provision learning.

We believe that Phonics is crucial to provide the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier in all subject areas. Through Phonics, our children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend phonemes to read words.

In Key Stage 2 children are guided through appropriate incrementally book banded reading material. They are then encouraged to choose ‘free reading’ books from either the class, or school, library. Children are also allowed to borrow books to take home: either to read to someone at home or to be read to by someone at home. This encourages reading enjoyment and the sharing of books with adults and siblings. 

Across the school we have daily guided reading sessions where we use echo and performance reading of texts followed by interrogation of the text. We are currently using VIPERS guided reading materials which focuses on improving reading fluency, the acquisition of high level vocabulary and questioning using the 6 assessment foci from the National Curriculum.

In each year group we also have a set of age appropriate books that the teacher reads to the class on a regular basis. This teacher modelling of texts gives the children a model of how to read using expression, intonation and awareness of punctuation.

Where appropriate children receive extra support within, or outside the classroom from either the class teacher or teaching support to ensure all children achieve.

Below are videos introducing ‘Tricky Words’. These are words which children cannot segment using phonics. Therefore, children need to be able to read these words by sight and be able to write them quickly to prevent them losing the flow of their amazing ideas in writing.

phonics progression map