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Phonics and Early Reading at Crockerne Church of England Primary School
At Crockerne we strive to ensure that all children become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. We believe this is achievable through a combination of high quality, systematic, discrete, interactive and multi-sensory phonics teaching combined with a whole school language approach that promotes a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ culture.
Each class is read to daily. Books are chosen by the teacher linked to their learning, chosen by a child from our class reading areas or brought in from home by a child to share. Story time at Crockerne is a treasured time. Not only are teachers/staff members modelling expression, fluency, etc, we also aim to make it engaging and fun to promote a love of reading. In the Early Years, we use story sacks, masks, puppets, choose children to come up and engage with the book and act it out etc.
Teaching and Learning:
Our children are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop and extend their phonics and early reading skills in and across Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1. It will also be continued into Key Stage 2, where necessary to support those children who do not yet have the phonic knowledge and skills they need.
The school follows the systematic approach laid out in the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document. This is supported by teachers using elements of ‘Jolly Phonics’ and ‘Sound Discovery’ to cater for all children’s needs. In Reception, daily handwriting is also part of phonics lessons.
Lessons: Discrete 20 minute phonics lessons take place daily across Reception and Key Stage 1. Phonics sessions are structured in the same way each day, building consistent and familiar routines. In this way children know what to expect, are aware of expectations and are not distracted in their progress towards the learning intent. They follow the structure of ‘Review, Teach, Practise, Apply and Assess’ to ensure that children are consolidating phonic knowledge and skills over time and that they are able to apply them in context.
Within these sessions, children are also introduced to ‘tricky words’ and aim to read and write the high frequency words for the phonics phase they are working in.
Classes/Groupings: Children in Nursery develop their early reading skills through Phase 1 games, e.g. listening for environmental sounds, learning nursery rhymes, etc. They are also exposed to Phase 2 sounds through jolly phonics songs and engaging resources they can explore and investigate throughout the day.
Children in Reception are taught in their class groups in the first instance. This ensures teachers get to know their own children’s ability’s quickly and daily interventions can be put in place to ensure rapid progress is made. Following the adult input, children then have the opportunity to apply their knowledge during ‘choosing time’. This provides staff with vital assessment opportunities to see the children’s phonics progress whilst the children are engaged in multisensory, fun ‘play’.
In Year 1 and 2, children are taught in groups according to their phonic knowledge which is assessed by the class teacher. As children progress at different rates, these groups are changed regularly. Teachers work with all groups on a rotational basis to ensure all children have access to high quality phonics teaching, multistory approaches and teaching methods.
Resources:The books the children take home are matched to the child’s current reading ability and aim to allow the child to practise sounds they have learnt and therefore increase fluency. We have a range of books including ‘Rising Stars Reading Planet’, ‘Oxford Reading Tree’, ‘Collins Big Cat’, ‘Project X’. We also have ‘Bug Club’ online books that can be accessed at home and in school. These books are changed regularly. Parents are encouraged to fill out a small section in their child’s reading record, outlining their reading experience- did they like the book, were they able to read it fluently, were there any words they found challenging? etc.
Intervention: We have an ‘Instructional Programme’ for phonics and ‘Phonic assessment sheets’ which allow us to track where our children are according to our expectations. This sets a benchmark for coverage and consistency by all staff to ensure that by the end of Year 1 our children meet the Phonics Screening Check standard. Children who require extra support to develop their phonic knowledge across Key Stage 1 and 2 are identified and targeted for intervention, once a child’s needs have been assessed. These sessions can take place 1:1 or in small groups and with the class teacher or a teaching assistant.
Feedback: Children are provided with constructive and timely feedback in lessons. Teachers provide parents with feedback on their child’s progress and achievement at parent’s evening, achievement assemblies and through the end of year report. Here at Crockerne we also promote an open door policy whereby our parents feel comfortable to discuss any concerns and teachers can discuss particular strengths and targets.
Assessment information is also passed onto the next teacher as part of our highly successful transition between year groups and phases.
Assessment is regarded as an integral part of teaching and learning and is a continuous process here at Crockerne. We strive to make our assessment purposeful, allowing us to match the correct level of work to the needs of the pupils, ensuring progress. It is the class teacher’s responsibility to keep track of the progress made by all children in their class, regardless of their phonic group/ reading ability.
Assessment for Learning: We continually assess our pupils and record their progress. Information for assessment is gathered in various ways: by talking to children, asking questions, observing their work, setting specific tasks, etc. Teachers use this assessment information to plan the children’s child’s next steps.
Assessment of Learning: The attainment and progress of children in phonics is assessed regularly across the year, both discretely at the end of each phase or term, through reading and writing tasks set across the curriculum and through formal assessments. At the end of Year 1, children participate in the phonics screening check which assesses their knowledge of grapheme/phoneme correspondence and their skills in blending. This information is submitted to the local authority. Those children who do not pass the phonics screening check are highlighted for further intervention and targeted support before completing the screening check again at the end of Year 2. For children who do not succeed a second time, provision is made for them to receive focused intervention and targeted support in Key Stage 2.