Our daily phonics sessions in Reception and KS1 are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.
Children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. It’s an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. Children in Reception also use ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions to go with the sounds.
Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. There are no big leaps in learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual or that children have not yet been taught. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.
Rhyme and alliteration is really important ,we use it as a focus for some of our warm up activities in Literacy as well as using books to illustrate it.
We have just bought the Pearson reading scheme, which we use alongside a range of guided reading books and the free choice class library books. The school has just received their order for a school library and will be looking at ways that both children and parents can work together to ensure children are getting a broad experience of books. Reading books are sent home, we try and reflect the phonics stage the children are at, so that reading is consolidating the learning that goes on in school.