The Teaching of Phonics at St John’s C of E Academy
Teaching of Phonics
Phonics in Reception is taught using mainly the Floppy’s Phonics programme scheme, which runs alongside the Letters and Sounds Framework. We also use the Jolly Phonics actions which help the children to remember the sounds that they are learning. Phonics is taught on a daily basis and is structured in the following way; Review, Teach, Practise, Apply. During the year, the children will learn all sounds and tricky words across Phases 2 and 3.
Structure of the Session
Review – We start each session with a review of all sounds learnt so far. As the children learn more and more sounds we turn this into a timed flashcard game in which the children have to say each sound and do the actions within the time limit allowed (usually 2 minutes). This is a fun way for the children to learn and enables them to feel confident with their sounds. After the flashcards, we review the sound learnt in the previous session and the children can offer some words, which contain that sound.
Teach – This is where we introduce the new sound along with the action. I also introduce the letter name at this stage and talk about how it has a name just like us. We encourage the children to say both the sound and it’s letter name but reinforce that we only hear the sound each letter makes within words.
Practise – We use the Floppy’s phonics programme to practise the new sound. The children have to find words in the picture which contains the new sound and these are marked with a sound button to help the children to identify the words. After correctly finding the words and hearing the word through the sound button, I then encourage the children to tell me where in the word they can hear the sound; at the start, in the middle or at the end of the words.
Apply – This is a chance for the children to use what they have learnt in the phonics session and apply it in their reading or writing. We do this by encouraging the children to either read some words using the Floppy’s Phonics programme or read a sentence (if at this stage) on the board.
They can also draw and label some pictures using the new sound or write some simple sentences containing the new sound learnt.
We use the Floppy’s Phonics flashcards daily. We also have a Phonics Frieze above the board which the children use whenever they need. In the Literacy area, there are Phonics sound mats (Phase 2 & 3), letters to draw around, stencils, Floppy Phonics sound books which run alongside the programme and key words/tricky words available to copy. There are also some phonics games available in the Literacy cupboard outside the classroom.
We continually assess the children throughout the year on their phonic knowledge. When the children start in Reception we do a baseline assessment of their prior phonic knowledge (if any). We also carry out some activities from Phase 1 to ensure their knowledge of sound discrimination is embedded. We then assess their phonic knowledge during the session through means of observation. At the end of the phase I carry out a more formal assessment of all the sounds and tricky words learnt as well as some words to segment and blend and a sentence to read. This is to determine what stage the children are at and how best we can meet their needs.
Teaching of Phonics
Phonics in Year One is taught following the Letters and Sounds Programme and normally begins at Phase 4. Throughout the year, the children continue to use the Jolly Phonics actions taught in Reception to support them, however most children tend to come away from this by the end of the year. Phonics is taught daily and is split into two sessions; a revision session and a session where the children are taught a new sound and have the opportunity to apply their reading and writing skills to a short activity.
Structure of session
Revision session (10 minutes) – During this session the flashcards are used and the children recall all sounds previously learnt, using the actions to support them. Resources are also accessed via the Phonics Play website (www.phonicsplay.co.uk) to support the children in their recall of High Frequency words.
Teaching of New Sound (10-15 minutes) – During this session the children are taught a new sound and ‘tricky’ word which is displayed on our ‘Class sound wall’. The children are then given a short activity where they are given the opportunity to practise and apply their newly acquired phonic knowledge.
We use a number of resources to support the teaching of phonics in Year One. The Floppy’s Phonics flashcards are used daily for revision purposes and are also displayed within the classroom for the children to refer to. We also have a phonics resource cupboard which holds numerous games and resources for each phase which supports small group teaching and intervention sessions. In addition to this, we use a number of online resources and games which support the teaching of phonics such as; Phonics Play and BBC Bitesize Literacy, and allow the children to apply their phonic knowledge to reading and writing activities.
The children’s phonic knowledge is assessed at various stages throughout the year. During the first week of year one we assess the children’s ability to recall sounds from phase 2 and 3. This information allows us to identify children who may require additional support through small group teaching. The children also participate in a mock Phonics Screening Assessment after Christmas, which again identifies children who may require additional support through small group interventions.
The children receive weekly spellings to practise at home consisting of six high frequency words per week. They then have a short spelling test the following week on these words.