Phonics Intent Statement
At Westover, the teaching of reading and writing is at the heart of what we do. We give high priority to the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics as the building blocks of reading and writing.
Oral blending/segmenting is prioritised as a precursor to reading and writing. Our children are taught the key skills of blending to be able to read widely and with enjoyment. Segmenting words allows children to develop into independent writers, who can express themselves confidently and with joy. We also place importance in the recognition of exception words.
We want our children to become literacy-competent so that they can succeed throughout their education and beyond that into the wider world. We are dedicated to enabling our children to become lifelong learners and confident and enthusiastic readers and writers.
Phonics Implementation Statement
Phonics is taught daily in Years R – 3. We follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme which teaches the phonemes in a set order and how to blend to read before segmenting to spell. When we first teach the phonemes we use Jolly Phonics, which includes a short song, action and story to help the children remember their grapheme and phoneme correspondences.
Alongside the skills of blending (putting sounds together to read) and segmenting (breaking words down to spell them), the children are also taught common exception words that cannot be sounded out, such as 'was' or 'me'. We call these words 'tricky words'. When we teach tricky words, we identify what makes them tricky and which bits do we need to remember when we read and write it.
We have a clear progression for teaching, working through ‘phases’, which show which phonemes and graphemes must be taught and which tricky words. Year R begins with a review of Phase 1 and progresses to Phase 4. In Year 1, children learn the phonemes in Phase 5 and begin to learn common spelling patters and rules. In Years 2 and 3 the main focus is learning different spelling strategies as well as continuing to review what has been taught before.
Staff use a common planning format to plan a 5-part lesson:
setting the climate: are we ready to learn?
review: up to 8 sounds that have been previously taught
teach: following our phonics progression plan
practise: beginning with blending to read and then segmenting to spell
apply: independently writing/reading words and sentences
On Monday tricky words are taught and then reinforced during the week in both phonics and literacy lessons. From Tuesday to Friday we teach 4 new sounds.
We immerse children in a language rich culture, full of stories, rhymes and letter sounds. Teaching is multi-sensory, using real objects to identify key sounds and using cards and magnetic letters too. Online resources are used where they enhance the learning too. All our teachers use the same terminology when teaching phonics to ensure consistency and clarity.
The National Phonics Screen is taken by all children in Year 1 during June. Children who did not take the test or did not pass the test in Year 1 take it again in Year 2. The check is carried out by a familiar adult and checks if the children can read 40 different words that are both real and ‘alien’. We introduce the idea of alien words towards the end of Year R.
Children in KS2 who are still unable to read, write and apply KS1 phonics have targeted support, either in the form of 1:1 support or small group work. They also take home reading books with their targeted graphemes for practice in applying what they have learned.
We assess children in phonics during the lesson in order to adjust teaching or put in place some extra lessons. Children are more formally checked against each phase with a gap analysis which supports planning for need.
Our reading books have been catalogued to match the phonics being taught and follow a colour banded system. Children take home books which use graphemes and tricky words that they have been taught and can apply. Reading at home is about practising not teaching and enables children to build up fluency with regular repetition.
Useful Websites to Support Your Child at Home
A video that goes through each sound and it’s pronunciation:
Games to play: