At Wadebridge Primary Academy we believe that the high-quality teaching of phonics is fundamental for children to become competent readers and writers. We strive to teach pupils to read effectively and quickly, using the Twinkl Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme (based on Letters and Sounds) which includes; teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words, as well as spelling, and accurate letter formation.
The programme is sequenced across 6 levels which are progressive in knowledge and the application of skills. We passionately believe that teaching pupils to read and write independently, as quickly as possible, is one of the core purposes of a primary school. The ability to read automatically and fluently not only holds the key to rest of the curriculum but also has a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances.
Using the Twinkl SSP programme we:
• Enable children to learn phonic knowledge and skills with the expectation that they will become fluent readers, having secured word building and recognition skills.
• Are determined that every pupil will learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities.
• Ensure that the pupils are taught high frequency words/common exception/tricky words that do not conform to regular phonic patterns.
• Ensure that pupils have opportunities to read texts and words that are within their phonic capabilities as early as possible
• Encourage the pupils to attempt to spell words for themselves, within the range of their phonic knowledge, by building an individual repertoire and the confidence and strategies to attempt the unfamiliar. Visual aids are used to support the pupils in becoming confident and independent learners.
• Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
• Support pupils in writing clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
• Match the expectations of the English National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals
At Wadebridge Primary Academy, we believe that reading and writing is an essential life skill and we are dedicated to enabling our children to become enthused, engaged and successful lifelong readers and writers. As a school, we show fidelity to the Twinkl programme to ensure that we have a progressive, consistent approach to phonics. As part of this cohesive approach, all staff, pupils and parents work together to use the same terminology and language when talking about Phonics. The Twinkl Phonics Programme offers a coherently planned sequence of lessons that supports the effective teaching of phonics within EYFS, KS1 and, where appropriate, KS2.
How is the Phonics curriculum sequenced?
Level One: Nursery
Throughout Level 1, young learners develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to discriminate between and use auditory, environmental and instrumental sounds. Level 1 is taught in Nursery and runs throughout the teaching of phonics Levels 2-6. Level 1 has 7 key aspects, as shown in the image below.
By the end of Level 1, children will have had opportunities to:
• listen attentively;
• enlarge their vocabulary;
• speak confidently to adults and other children;
• discriminate different sounds including phonemes;
• reproduce audibly the phonemes they hear in words;
• orally segment words into phonemes Level 1 is delivered through:
• Daily opportunities for children to engage with songs, stories and rhymes.
• Daily adult-led speaking and listening activities.
• Continuous provision indoors and outdoors to support children in Phase 1 independently.
• Opportunities to prepare for Level 2. In order for pupils to form letters correctly, fine motor is of high importance. We follow the South Warwickshire OT/physio fine motor programme to support with gross and fine motor. Pupils who have delays in their fine motor are identified and supported in regular, small group adult-led activities.
Levels 2-4: Reception
In Reception, pupils work within Levels 2-4. Here learners are introduced to phonemes/sounds and graphemes/letters systematically. They also learn to develop and apply blending and segmenting skills for reading and writing.
Levels 2-4 are delivered through:
• Daily discrete phonics lessons every day for 20/25 minutes.
• Individual reading with TA and teacher. Assessed by teacher a minimum of every four weeks.
• Weekly guided writing sessions.
• Weekly speech and language and fine motor interventions with TA. We continue to use the South Warwickshire OT/physio fine motor programme
• Phonics sound mats and ‘Learning Together’ sheets for home learning. The ‘streaming’ of Phonics groups takes place depending on the needs of the cohort, following regular assessments.
Level 5: Year One
Within Year One, pupils work within Level 5. The coherently planned sequence of lessons within Level 5 allows opportunities for children to apply their phonics knowledge and skills as the prime approach to reading and spelling. It focuses on phonetically decodable two-syllable and three-syllable words and the alternative ways of pronouncing and representing the long vowel phonemes. Furthermore, pupils will develop their ability to attempt to read and spell increasingly complex words. The Twinkl Phonics Programme intends to not only provide pupils with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding essential for reading and writing, but also, to develop their confidence, resilience and engagement in phonics lessons and a love for reading and writing.
Level 5 is delivered through:
• Daily discrete phonics lessons every day for 25 minutes.
• Additional interventions following regular assessments
• The ‘streaming’ of Phonics groups takes place depending on the needs of the cohort, following regular assessments.
• Guided Reading sessions using books decodable books that match pupils’ abilities. Weekly Phonics home learning
Level 6: Year Two
By Level 6, pupils explore spelling patterns and grammar while also developing a breadth of knowledge, skills and understanding in the recognition and spelling of common exception words.
Level 6 is delivered through:
• Four spelling lessons a week with the explicit teaching of a rule and opportunities to apply the rule.
• Pre and Post testing.
• Weekly spelling home learning.
• Those children who did not pass the phonics screening will have four phonics interventions a week. Those children who did pass the screen but cannot apply the sounds in their spellings also receive Phase 5 spelling interventions.
How are children taught to form their letters?
In levels 2-6 of the scheme, letter formation is embedded into every lesson. As pupils are introduced to each letter of the alphabet in levels 2 and 3, an opportunity to practice letter formation is built into the teach section.
down the teaspoon and under the teacup, then across the top
How are pupils grouped?
Pupils will progress through their phonics journey at different rates, therefore it is important that they work at a level that is appropriate for them. Prior learning needs to be secured before any new learning is introduced. Moving on too quickly, without securing prior learning, will allow knowledge and skills gaps to form and can cause problems later on. Therefore, assessments are used to ensure that all pupils are grouped and placed appropriately. Teachers make these decisions based on formal assessments (Twinkl assessments and Phonics Screening Check resources) and informal observation. Pupils who are making good progress can continue to move on and those who are not making good progress can be given additional support and interventions.
Formative assessments ensure that learners have a broad understanding of a range of sounds and phonic concepts. We use assessments to tell us what the pupils can do and know along with the sounds and concepts that need embedding further. Assessments take place regularly to ensure that teachers have a good understanding of the needs of their learners. Progress and next steps are tracked carefully. We use the following Twinkl assessments:
In addition to the Twinkl resources, teachers also used previous Phonics Screening Check materials to identify strengths and gaps in learning.
How are resources used to support teaching and learning?
Mnemonics, Actions and Songs
To create as many multisensory hooks as possible for pupils learning new grapheme phoneme correspondences, Twinkl Phonics uses a set of mnemonics, actions and songs that link to each sound within Levels 2 and 3.
All of these actions, songs and mnemonics are shared with parents at each stage of the pupils’ learning journey. They are available on our school website too.
Consistent, Effective Phonics Displays
Learning the language of Phonics can be tricky, therefore we ensure that vocabulary and resources are used across the school consistently to support learning effectively. Learning is supported through the consistent use of resources such as:
How do reading books support the teaching of Phonics?
In order to apply their decoding and comprehension reading skills, it is important that pupils have plenty of opportunities to read texts that are fully decodable at the phonics level they are working within. At Wadebridge Primary pupils take home three reading books each week. These books are:
Depending on the age and stage of each pupil and their next step, additional resources may be sent home. For example, in Reception, Phase 2 and 3 words are often sent home to build up a pupil’s segmenting and blending confidence.
How are the lowest 20% of pupils supported?
Regular assessment takes place to ensure the early identification of pupils who may need additional support, either through interventions or quality first teaching within daily lessons. We have many different highly structured interventions in place to support children at different stages of their Phonics journey. For example BLAST is used in EYFS, Nessy is used for pupils in years 2-6 and a range of other Twinkl interventions are used to help pupils recap and relearn missing GPCs, develop their segmenting and blending skills and become confident in reading and spelling tricky words.
We take these steps to support learners:
• Build a clear picture by thinking about what assessments are telling us, in order to identify the barrier to learning. For example, if the pupils reversing the digraphs, are they unable to hear the sounds in order to blend them etc.
• Consider reasons for slower progress by using observations and assessments to identify any SEND opportunities and sharing these with our SENDCo.
• Liaising with other adults (teaching staff and parents) so that everyone is aware of the children’s barriers, next steps and the support they need.
• Making reasonable adjustments within the daily lessons such as being close to a supportive adult, having additional resources and prompts etc.
• Making time for additional input and revisiting specific phonics skills through small group interventions or one to one intervention.
• Practising Phonics skills as regularly as possible throughout the day, for example reading a sound before lining up etc.
How are Parents and Carers involved?
Parents and carers are invaluable allies in helping to support learning, especially if they use the same techniques and strategies at home. Therefore, with each new sound or spelling rule taught, a sheet is sent home to parents which include the picture, mnemonic, song and example words. Throughout EYFS and KS1, teachers deliver work shops and information sessions to help support their child’s phonics and reading progress.
How are staff trained to deliver Phonics effectively?
Staff receive regular training to support their understanding of our approach to Phonics, along with strategies for delivery and assessment. Year group and whole school workshops take place throughout the school year to support this professional development. Teacher and TAs communicate daily about the needs of the children in their groups and classes. Phonics observations and coaching sessions take place to support the improvement of teaching and learning. CPD is responsive to the needs of the staff.
Our aim is for all pupils, including the weakest readers, to make sufficient progress to meet or exceed age related expectations and to ensure that pupils are familiar with and enjoy listening to a wide range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction books.
Through the implementation of our phonics curriculum, we aim to achieve four targets:
• A minimum of 75% of pupils will be secure in Phase 1 phonics when they leave Nursery.
• A minimum of 75% of pupils will leave Reception working within Phase 3. This could result in 75% of children securing the ELG in Reading.
• We will meet a minimum of National Expectations for passing our Phonics Screening Check.
• Those who are retaking the Phonics Screening Check in Year 2 will achieve a minimum of 91%.
By developing these firm foundations through our four key targets, it supports us to have high expectations of pupils’ phonics learning. This enables them to leave Wadebridge Primary Academy being competent readers.
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