What is phonics?
The importance of strong phonic knowledge and the application of these skills are recognised and valued at Ropery Walk. These skills are the basis to developing a lifelong engagement with reading and writing.
Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes (pure sounds) that make up each word. Phonics lessons teach children three main things:
- GPCs – grapheme phoneme correspondence. This simply means that children are taught the phonemes and the way that they can be written down.
- Children are taught to blend by saying each sound that makes up a word and then merging them together until they can hear what the word is. This is an essential skill when learning to read as it gives children the skills and knowledge to decode unfamiliar words.
- Children are taught to spell words by segmenting. This is the opposite of blending. Children are taught to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up.
Read Write Inc.
At Ropery Walk, phonics is taught daily to those children in EYFS, Year 1 and as an intervention programme in Year 2. We use a scheme of work called Read Write Inc. which was developed by Ruth Miskin. It is a synthetic phonics programme that aims to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It is a systematic and rigorous approach to teaching phonics with the aim of children becoming fluent readers by the age of seven.
Throughout the programme children work and lessons move at a pace suitable for them. Children are assessed, by the RWI Manager, to ensure progress is being made and can be moved from one group to another. In EYFS, children are split into smaller groups and taught phonics and reading for 30mins per day. In Year 1 children are taught in small, homogenous groups to develop phonics, reading, comprehension and writing skills for an hour each day, following the Read Write Inc. programme.
At the end of Year One all children will take part in a phonics screening check. The children will be asked to read 40 real and nonsense words.
Reading is embedded into our curriculum. Children are provided with engaging texts during English lessons and practise their reading skills across all topic areas. They are taught specific reading skills in a variety of ways and participate in whole class and group Reciprocal reading sessions. In Key Stage 2, children use the Reading Plus programme to improve their fluency and comprehension skills. This can also be accessed at home for further consolidation.
Reading at Home
We expect and encourage children to read to an adult at home on a daily basis. As children move into upper KS2 and become independent readers, they may choose to read to themselves. A reading diary is used as a means of communication between home and school about child’s reading progress and should be signed daily.
Our reading scheme is varied to meet the needs of all pupils and includes both fiction and non fiction texts. To support the application of phonic skills at home, we use Phonics Bug (Pearsons) and Oxford Reading Tree Floppy Phonics for our earliest readers. In Key Stage 1, we use Oxford Reading Tree, Phonics Bug (Pearsons) and Story Chest (Nelson). In Ks2, we use the Oxford Reading Tree reading scheme. These schemes enable us to have a wide and varied genre of books available which meets the needs of the children in our school.
Useful links to support reading and phonics.
- Supporting phonics at home
- Reading at home
- Suggested reading list EYFS
- Suggested reading list KS1
- Suggested reading list Lower KS2
- Suggested reading list Upper KS2
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