Teaching Phonics in Key Stage One
Our daily phonics sessions in Reception and KS1 are fun, involving lots of speaking, listening and games. The emphasis is on children’s active participation. They learn to use their phonic knowledge for reading and writing activities and in their independent play.
Children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 follow the synthetic phonics approach, using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. It’s an approach to teaching phonics in which individual letters or letter sounds are blended to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words. Children in Reception also use ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions to go with the sounds.
Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell words. They are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’ – you can’t really break the sounds down for such words so it’s better to just ‘recognise’ them.
Phase one will have begun in Nursery. During this phase especially, we plan activities that will help children to listen attentively to sounds around them. We teach a wide range of nursery rhymes and songs and read good books to and with the children. This helps to increase the number of words they know –their vocabulary – and helps them talk confidently about books. The children learn to identify rhyme and alliteration. We aim for the majority of children to have completed Phase 3 phonics by the end of Reception in order that quality teaching of Phase 4 and 5 in Year 1 will prepare them for the Phonics screening at the end of Year 1.
We use a combination of reading schemes including Oxford Reading Tree Project X, Tree Tops and Graphic Novels. These give a variety of fiction and non–fiction books to develop children’s reading range. Children learn to read at different rates and their progress is carefully tracked. In Reception and KS1, Reading TA’s listen to the children read every day.