At Dudley Wood Primary School, the teaching of phonics is of high priority in the Early Years and Key Stage 1, and provides the foundations of learning to read and write.
Through the teaching and learning of phonics, children learn to hear sounds and to represent them with letters; they learn to segment words into phonemes and to build and blend phonemes into words. The skills of segmenting and blending also supports the children’s spelling ability.
Our phonics teaching and learning is progressive, from Nursery to Year 2. We follow the Department of Education’s document, ‘Letters and Sounds’.
The children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they revise previous learning, are taught new phonemes and graphemes, practise together and apply what they have learnt. The sessions are fun and interactive but follow a specific programme of learning. As well as focusing on phonic knowledge, some words (the common exception words) which are not phonetic are taught and learnt by sight – these are known as the tricky words.
Through Letters and Sounds, the children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more. Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound. Our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
In Reception, they continue to build on their listening skills and are introduced to Phase 2 which marks the start of systematic phonics work, and progress onto Phase 3 when ready.
In Year 1, they continue building on the foundations laid in EYFS; whilst Year 1 generally focus on Phase 4 & 5 of Letters and Sounds, pupils will continue to work on the phase appropriate to their individual ability and need. The children have weekly spellings which are taken from the Phase 2 - 5 tricky words and the common exception words, including days of the week and months of the year, as set out in the National Curriculum.
The Year 1 Phonics Screening Test takes place in the Summer Term.
In Year 2, phonics continues, but now the majority of pupils can segment and blend automatically, the emphasis shifts to focus on spelling rules and patterns (Phase 6). For those pupils still needing support with earlier phonics, there are specific interventions targeted to their individual ability and need. Weekly spellings are sent home – these practise a particular spelling rule, pattern or grapheme. Pupil are encouraged to practise these at home and are tested at the end of the week.
In Years 4 – 6, phonics is no longer taught discretely, but is referred to frequently when reading unfamiliar words and learning and applying spelling rules. For those pupils still needing support with earlier phonics, interventions will be organised.