Phonics, which teaches children to decode words by sounds, is given a high priority at Randwick Primary School. The emphasis in early years teaching is on synthetic phonics, in which words are broken up into the smallest units of sound (phonemes). Children are taught the letters (graphemes) that represent these phonemes and also learn to blend them into words. The aim of phonics teaching is to enable children to become successful readers and spellers – essential skills across the curriculum!
The main focus of phonics teaching is from Foundation Stage up to Year 2. Phonics is taught discreetly within each Key Stage 1 class. The children are grouped appropriately according to their learning stage.
We currently follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme (through Floppy’s Phonics, part of the Oxford Reading Tree programme), which is a nationally recognised scheme. It is split into six ‘phases’:
- Phase 1 – being introduced to sounds through songs and games.
- Phase 2 – learning the first sets of sounds and high frequency/tricky words.
- Phase 3 – learning the first sets of ‘digraphs’ sounds (such as ee, ay, oo).
- Phase 4 – consolidating their knowledge through practising reading and spelling words with the sounds already learnt, often using polysyllabic words.
- Phase 5 – learning the remainder of the sounds in our language.
- Phase 6 – learning spelling rules, such as how prefixes and suffixes change the ‘root’ word. Please see the link for further details and explanation of the above phases. Letters and Sounds – DFES
We assess the children regularly on their progress and reorganise the groups based on this. Therefore, we know that every child is always learning the letters and sounds that are appropriate to their needs.