At Treales CE Primary School, we use a systematic approach to the teaching of synthetic phonics to enable children to develop secure reading and spelling skills. It is proven that high quality phonics teaching is ‘the best route for children to become fluent and independent readers (through) securing phonics as the prime approach to decoding unfamiliar words’ (L&S Notes of Guidance).
A strong emphasis on high quality teaching of phonics can substantially reduce the number of children at risk of falling below age-related expectations for reading. Treales’ follows a systematic, synthetic phonics planning programme using the Letters and Sounds approach titled Red Rose Letters and Sounds.
This planning programme has been developed, continuously evaluated and refined over several years, using the expertise of effective classroom practitioners and phonics experts at Lancashire Professional Development Service, in order to provide a tightly focused systematic approach to planning and teaching phonics.
The programme includes planning from Phase Two to Phase Five with specific daily sessions and a very rigorous approach to meet, and exceed, expectations based on the Early Learning Goals and the National Curriculum for Year One.
Red Rose Phonics planning is adapted daily to meet specific needs. This sequence sets out clear expectations of pupils’ progress in phonics term by term. It is to be used as a tool for informing all teaching of phonics including in whole class sessions, interventions and 1:1 reading. The sequence sets out the pace that we expect a typical child to progress through the phonics programme. This pace can be adapted/reduced for high attaining children, with those children who are not on track receiving interventions to enable them to catch up with their peers.
Each teacher uses Phonics Tracker to support teacher’s ongoing assessments and identify gaps and where targeted teaching is needed. Whole class phonics teaching will follow the suggested four-part structure of Revisit and Review – Teach – Practise –Apply as suggested from Letters and Sounds. At Treales, using a multi-sensory approach and through ‘quality first teaching’, ‘children’s acquisition of speaking and listening skills, and phonic knowledge and skills are greatly enhanced.’
Children have opportunities to apply their phonic knowledge using phonetically decodable books from various reading schemes. The sequence of reading books shows a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge. Once the children are secure with the new content that has been taught, they are able to read the books from that set of reading books to develop their fluency.
Our schools agreed approach to the teaching of common exception words is that children are encouraged to use their knowledge of synthetic phonics as much as possible to work out how to read unknown words aloud. The bits of a word that are 'tricky' and do not directly correspond to known grapheme/phoneme correspondence are identified and discussed as a teaching point. Within this sequence, we have identified where we expect ‘tricky’ words and decodable high frequency words to be taught. This includes the decodable high frequency word list from Letters and Sounds (which makes up the 100 high frequency word list), alongside the National Curriculum Common Exception Words.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.