Vision for Phonics at Archbishop Benson C of E School
‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13)
‘With fun and learning, hand in hand, all things are possible.’
At Archbishop Primary School, we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme (RWI). Teaching children to read and write independently and as quickly as possible, is essential. These fundamental skills not only hold the key to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances. Using the RWI phonics program we teach children to read and write easily and fluently.
Children throughout Reception and Key stage 1 take part in daily phonics sessions. Children are taught the grapheme-phoneme correspondences in a clear sequence from the simple alphabetic code to phonemes with alternative graphemes. For each phoneme, children are taught to ‘say it’, ‘read it’, ‘write it’, using childfriendly mnemonics and visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities.
Children learn to decode words by identifying the graphemes and blending the phonemes, through the word.
Reception children learn the relationship between phonemes and graphemes practise word blending with magnetic letters, moving onto reading the lively, decodable Ditty Books or Storybooks, matched to phonic ability.
Year 1+ children review and learn new grapheme-phoneme correspondences and apply their increased phonic knowledge to reading the Storybooks and doing writing activities.
Children learn to spell words by segmenting them into phonemes. They learn this is the opposite of blending.
Children learn high frequency words from the earliest stages and how to use knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondences as a first approach to words which are not completely phonically regular.
The phonic knowledge is taught as quickly as possible. Speed Sounds Sets 1 and 2 (Phases 2–4) should be mastered by most children at the end of Reception/Foundation stage. Children continue to apply this knowledge throughout Year 1+ while they are taught Speed Sounds Set 3 (Letters and Sounds Phases 5 and 6).
At the end of Year 1, all children must sit a national phonics test. For children who do not ‘pass’ this phonics test, intervention programmes are put in place and phonics is delivered in small groups to support children.
Key terms we use in our teaching:
A phoneme is a single sound that can be made using more than one letter, e.g. s, k, z, oo, p There are 44 sounds in the English language even though there are only 26 letters.
A grapheme is the written version of a phoneme. We use catchy rhymes to show children how to form their letters (see p.2) e.g. ‘round the apple down the leaf’ for the letter ‘a’. (see below to see how you can help your child practise their letter formation at home)
A split diagraph are two letters that join together to make a single sound but have other letters between them, e.g. cake, cube, mice.