At Maple we believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing accessible for all pupils. Through engaging, high quality daily phonics teaching children participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs.
Through phonics, children learn to sound out and blend words for reading as well as segment words to support spelling and early writing. Our aim is for every child to learn to read as well as being able to read to learn. Children leaving Maple will identify themselves as readers who know their phonic sounds, tricky words and are confident to attempt to read unfamiliar words using the skills they have developed during their time in our infant school.
We teach phonics through ‘Letters and Sounds’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’. Teachers at Maple carefully plan exciting, engaging phonics sessions which children enjoy taking part in to develop their confidence in phonological awareness for reading and writing. Phonics sessions in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are daily and follow a set structure which consists of four parts:
Revisit- Where sounds that have already been taught are practised.
Teach- New sound, focus sound or learning focus is introduced.
Practise- An opportunity to investigate the focus, through games, writing, reading or quality first teaching.
Apply- Children have clear opportunities to demonstrate and apply their knowledge and understanding.
Phonics teaching is organised into phases and Nursery begin their journey to becoming a reader by learning Phase One phonics, focusing on the key aspects within Phase 1. These are:
Body percussion (e.g. clapping and stamping)
Rhythm and rhyme
Oral blending and segmenting (e.g. hearing that p-a-n makes 'pan')
As the children begin Reception they revisit Phase 1 phonics and learn the initial sounds in Phase 2 and 3. Children quickly become confident in using the correct technical language to describe sounds such as digraph, trigraph and phoneme. The Reception team ensure children are familiar with the first 6 sounds in Phase 2 before the children receive their first reading book. This developmental milestone is celebrated and we ensure that the first attempt at reading is a wholly positive experience where they as young children feel a sense of pride in being able to decode their very first book! We continue to feel great privilege in being able to share this amazing moment with all of our children in Reception. We ensure that high quality, decodable texts are available for all children, that link closely to their own individual stage of their phonics and reading journey.
At Maple we use the following reading schemes to support this:
Big Cat Phonics books
Jelly and Bean books
Once confident in the initial sounds the Reception children learn the digraphs in Phase 3. Children have opportunities to access high quality phonics provision within the Reception setting and their love for reading and phonics begins to grow. Reception children are taught all of the sounds in Phase 2 and Phase 3 and these are revisited regularly through a variety of high quality, engaging sessions using games, writing and reading.
The children enjoy learning to read the Phase 2 and 3 tricky words and begin to write these with increasing confidence. Some children in Reception will begin to read the Phase 4 tricky words where appropriate. Children complete their time in the Early Years Foundation Stage as readers who are able to use phonics to decode unfamiliar words as well as reading some common irregular words (tricky words). Children are able to talk about what they have read and enjoy sharing their love for books with familiar adults. We aim for all children in Reception to leave our Early Years Foundation Stage with a ‘spark’ for reading and a clear love for stories and an appetite for discovering new books that can be read to them.
As children begin Key Stage One in Year 1 they revisit the Phase 2 and Phase 3 sounds taught in Reception before beginning Phase 4 phonics. Once confident in Phase 4 phonics the children begin to learn through Phase 5 phonics. The children in Year 1 become familiar with reading and writing the Year 1 common exception words and leave Year 1 as confident readers who know how to use their knowledge to decode unfamiliar words and read the alternative pronunciations of sounds in shorter and longer words.
In Year 2 pupils consolidate their understanding of Phase 5 phonics and move on to learning Phase 6 phonics. Teachers think of interesting, creative ways of approaching spelling rules, grammar and alternative pronunciations encouraging children to have fun and take risks in their own reading and writing.
We know that phonics plays a vital role in children becoming fluent, confident and able readers. As a team we are committed to ensuring high quality, targeted interventions take place from Nursery to Year 2 to support pupils who need some additional phonics time to support their personalised reading journey. As pupils leave us in Year 2 to begin their time in Key Stage Two we want them to leave Maple as confident readers who have developed their own skillset to improve and tackle the next stage in their learning. They will feel empowered to use their learning in phonics and early reading to approach unfamiliar, challenging texts which they can confidently discuss with their peers and adults.