Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds (phase 2) and progressing through to the most complex (phase 5) – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. Almost all those who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words when reading. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and most importantly to read for enjoyment. Our aim is that pupils at Dunston Primary and Nursery Academy will secure automatic decoding skills and progress from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ for purpose and pleasure.
The phonics scheme used in school is Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Staff follow a well thought out and structured scheme to meet the needs of our pupils in a positive, practical and engaging way. Pupils work in classes in EYFS and in year groups in key stage one. Any pupils that need additional support will be provided with keep up and catch up sessions to ensure that they gain a secure knowledge and understanding to build their foundations for reading.
Children are taught how to:
- Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
- Identify (‘segment’) the sounds that different combinations of letters go together to make - such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’;
- Blend all these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
- Use their phonic knowledge to both read and write words
At the end of each six week block of phonics teaching, children’s knowledge and understanding will be assessed in an informal way to ensure they are on track for taking the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check in June. The Phonics Screening Check is a short, simple assessment to make sure that all pupils have learned phonic decoding to an appropriate standard by the age of 6. All Year 1 pupils in maintained schools, academies and free schools must complete the check.
The phonics check will help teachers identify the children who need extra help so they can receive the support they need to improve their reading skills. These children will then be able to retake the check in Year 2 after receiving additional support.