We have increased the number of sessions that Phonics is taught in KS1 and KS2 to accelerate reading skills due to the potential impact of COVID-19 school closure.
Before phonics begins in nursery, we focus on reading stories and rhymes to children and developing their language. We encourage our children to talk as much as possible throughout the day, and plan in the use of words and phrases to develop their language.
Grammar and vocabulary is taught by orally building sentences throughout the day about their play, stories, objects, pictures, etc.
Before Set One Sounds are taught, teachers model and the children practise saying pure sounds, using Fred talk to orally blend and name the picture cards.
During the Summer term, the teaching of set one sounds begins. The children learn the new sounds, learn to blend and practise forming the letters in the air.
During the first two weeks of Reception (during which there is a staggered entry to start school), there is a focus on listening and attention skills and they play lots of games to support these. The silent signals are introduced: Team Stop, My Turn, Your Turn, Turn to Your Partner, and the 1,2,3 signal. Fred games are played and all of the sound-picture frieze is recapped or introduced. Children also have a baseline phonics assessment.
At the beginning of week 3, the whole class teaching of phonics begins with the children learning m,a,s,d,t. One to one tutoring begins in week 3 too, for those children needing extra support to keep up.
Read Write Inc. Phonics through the day: Fred Talk and pinny time
The teaching of sounds is kept to the phonics lessons to let children enjoy the integrity of each experience. However, we do two important things throughout the day to help teach all children to read sounds and learn to blend quickly:
1. Use Fred Talk and play Fred Talk games
2. Pinny time.
Fred Talk + Speedy Sounds = reading
Use Fred Talk and play Fred Talk games
Speaking like Fred helps children to understand that words are made up of sounds. Teachers and teaching assistants use Fred Talk throughout the day to help children practise blending sounds together. Fred Talk follows a consistent routine:
1. Say the word in sounds as Fred, e.g. c-a-t. Ask children to repeat. Pause to allow children to ‘jump-in’ with the whole word.
2. Say the word in sounds followed by the whole word, e.g. c-a-t, cat. Ask children to repeat.
Pinny time helps children practise reading the sounds taught so far speedily. It is quick and easy to get going, to make sure children ‘keep up, not catch up’.
• Each teacher/TA has their own apron or ‘pinny’ with pockets containing a set of Speed Sounds Cards. During the day, teachers and TAs work with certain children and go through specific sound cards with them, helping them to increase their speed.
Children will be introduced to ‘Ditty books’ when they successfully begin to read single words. The short vowels should be kept short and sharp:
Children use sound-blending (Fred Talk) to read short ditties. They will bring these home once they have read and discussed the book in class. Children will then be challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write short sentences.
Within all the books children will have red and green words to learn to help them to become speedy readers. Red words are words that are not easily decodable and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. Green words are linked to the sounds they have been learning and are easily decodable.
Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter makes.
Once your child has been introduced and taught these words in school we will send them home for you to continue practising with your child.
At Heartwood we:
*Have trained reading teachers leading each phonics group. They work closely with your child and know exactly where their learning is and how to ensure they make progress,
*Assess at least every half a term to ensure that your child is in the correct phonics group, celebrate the progress they have made, identify any difficulties they are having,
*Send home Read Write Inc. books that are directly in line with the phonics that your child is learning. Each book will have been read 3 times at school, working on decoding, prosody and comprehension, before they bring it home to read.
By doing the above we know precisely who needs more support, so do not worry if your child find phonics, or aspects of phonics difficult, as we:
*Speak to parents/carers about how you can support at home,
*Use Pinny time (as described above) to help increase speed and confidence
*Run additional phonics sessions with Mrs Harwood in the afternoons or Miss Sugden in Reception class
*Offer a morning phonics club with Mrs Harwood and Miss Comb
*Are always here to offer support to you and be a listening ear
Click on the links below for more information about how you can help your child with phonics at home.
Reading Leader: Mrs Starman (Deputy Head, Phonics & Reading Lead)
Reading Link Governor: Andrew Walker