Here at The Lancaster School, we believe there is no greater skill that we can teach a child than how to read fluently and for enjoyment, thus opening a world of endless learning possibilities and academic success. We understand that if children have a positive start with early reading and phonics it will have endless benefits across all areas of learning. Numerous studies have shown when children learn to read at an early age, they have greater general knowledge, expand their vocabulary, become more fluent readers, develop problem solving skills, grow in self-confidence and flourish with creativity and their imagination.
At The Lancaster School Phonics is taught though a highly structured programme of daily lessons across FS/KS1 using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised phonics programme.
This programme sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills. Children begin with Letters and Sounds phase 1 in Nursery and progress through to phase 6 in Year 2. The phonics curriculum aims to support children and help them to access the phonics screening test in Year 1, or Year 2 if needed.
All pupils are entitled to a high-quality phonics curriculum, which is adapted and tailored to meet the needs of all individuals. Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practice together and apply what they have learned.
We provide daily phonics sessions which allow pupils to develop and enhance their segmenting and blending skills in order to become fluent and confident readers. Children have daily phonics sessions in small, differentiated groups. They participate in a range of activities to help to develop their reading, writing and spelling, each tailored to their needs. The phonics groups are reviewed each half term to ensure children are being challenged and are reaching their full potential, as well as identifying any children who many need additional phonics support. Any child who needs extra support will engage with individual or group keep-up daily lessons.
Phases of the Phonics Programme
Children in Reception are introduced to Phase 2. This marks the start of systematic phonic work and grapheme-phoneme correspondence is introduced. The process of segmenting and blending whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught. At this point the Letters and Sounds Flash card resources are used to enable children to form a concrete image of how to write letters. During this phase the children are also introduced to reading and spelling common and tricky words. Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then moves on to cover phonemes represented by more than one letter, learning one grapheme for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage just one spelling is given for each phoneme. The reading and spelling of high frequency and tricky words continues to be taught. When children become secure, they continue into Phase 4 where they start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants. No new phonemes are introduced at this phase.
It is expected that children will enter Phase 5 as they begin year 1, broadening their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant.
Children entering Year 2 will start Phase 6 which develops a variety of spelling strategies including word specific spellings e.g. see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary. Also the accurate spelling of words containing unusual GPC's.
Reading books are fully phonetically decodable and linked to the phonics phase the child is on so their learning is practised and reinforced at home. Children keep their book until they become fluent in reading it. Our reading books are organised into Phonics Phases. Children move through the Book Phases until they reach the required standard to become a Free-Reader, choosing a book to read from our class libraries. Children are able to take an additional book home, which encourages them to read for pleasure.
The Phonics Screening Check
The National Phonics Screening Check is performed in June of Year 1. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who did not meet the required standard for the check in year 1 enter again in year 2 with additional support.