Quick Links

Useful Links

Cromwell Community College

Phonics

At Cromwell a lifelong love of books is so important. We learn to read, and read to learn. This is easy to say, but how can we teach reading in a way that will inspire our children to be lifelong lovers of literature? It’s simple – we instill a sense of awe and wonder around books and we provide children with memorable experiences which connect learning to read with pleasure.

We use the Story Time Phonics programme as a vehicle to deliver our Phonics teaching. Story Time Phonics is a holistic, whole class approach to learning to read. Its joyful yet systematic approach uses real story books to contextualise the phonemes, ensuring high levels of engagement right from the start.

At the heart of Story Time Phonics we instil a love of books and then contextualise the learning of phonics making learning to read meaningful and memorable.   For an example of some of the engaging videos that children will be using click HERE to see We're Going on a Bear Hunt. 

The document below sets out the Phonics skills progression:

Knowledge & Skills Progression in Phonics

Glossary of Terms your child will use 

 Intent, Implementation & Impact of Phonics

Intent 

At Cromwell Primary Phase, we recognise reading as a key life skill, which underpins access to the rest of the curriculum. We aim for children to read words and simple sentences by the end of Reception, become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1 and develop a lifelong love of reading as they move through school. The systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, using the Story Time Phonics programme, is given a high priority throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1. Children need to learn key phonic knowledge and develop skills in segmenting and blending to complete the phonics check at the end of Year 1 and as part of developing fluency in reading. We also value and encourage pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills – enjoying success and gaining confidence from a positive experience.

  • By the end of Reception, the aim is for all children to have a secure understanding of Phases 2 and 3 in the Story Time Phonics programme and to be able to segment and blend words within these phases, in terms of reading and blending words with graphemes learnt from Phase 3. Children are introduced to the ‘tricky words’ early in the autumn term in Reception and aim to read and write the high frequency words for Phase 2 to 3 before they enter Year 1
  • The aim in Year 1 is to ensure all children are secure with Phase 4 and 5 and are ready for the No Nonsense Spelling programme upon entry into Year 2. We aim for all children to read and write all the common exception words for Year 1.

Implementation 

Through the teaching of phonics following StoryTime Phonics, the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Reception and year 1 and for children in Year 2 and beyond who are not secure in early reading, they will receive targeted phonics intervention. Phonics teaching is systematic, engaging, lively and interactive. Each phonics lesson includes the following elements:

  • Revise (retrieve) – overlearn the previous graphemes and words
  • Teach – introduce a new grapheme/words
  • Practise – develop GPCs (grapheme phoneme correspondences)/read and spell new words
  • Apply – use new graphemes/words in games and activities to secure knowledge
  • Assess – monitor progress within each phase to inform planning

Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them.

In Reception, Phonics is taught through daily whole class teaching input and small group activities. Staff ensure Phonics is an integrated part of all learning in Reception, making links across the Early Years Curriculum as children explore the environment. In Year 1 phonics is taught as a whole class with associated reading and writing activities. Targeted intervention through KS1 for the teaching of phonics is organised into small groups, outside of the phonics lesson, depending on children’s prior phonics knowledge, and looking at where individuals need challenge or support. Where extra intervention is necessary, this is provided for children throughout Key Stage 1 and 2.

Pupils have regular reading sessions with an adult to ensure they are regularly practising and applying their phonics knowledge. This includes extra one-to-one reading for those children who are most vulnerable to enable them to catch up to meet age related expectations.

In the EYFS the continuous provision matches children’s current knowledge and understanding whilst ensuring the children are suitably challenged. Teachers regularly assess children’s phonics knowledge using the phonics assessment grid. These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning. Children have phonically decodable reading books matched to their phonics knowledge which they are encouraged to read regularly at home to ensure fluency in reading is developed. Books are chosen from our reading schemes – Oxford Reading Tree.

If children are not reaching these expectations and keeping up with the pace of our phonics programme, we intervene quickly by giving extra support. We give daily 1:1 catch up support provided by Teaching Assistants. The content of these sessions is determined by on-going gap analyses and our in-depth knowledge of each child. These sessions are additional to our daily phonics sessions.

We build a skilled team who can teach phonics: Every member of our staff delivering phonics understands the Story Time Phonics programme and any training needs are delivered by our Phonics Lead.

Impact

As a result of high-quality phonics provision, children will make good progress from their starting points. Children will be ready for the next stage in their education as they transfer through Early Years, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and beyond into secondary.

Children enjoy listening to adults read and develop a love of reading, gaining satisfaction from their growing success in developing independence and fluency.

Through our detailed phonic programme, children will be equipped with the skills to decode unfamiliar words using strategies that they have been taught in their daily lessons.  This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Hopefully, this leads to a love of reading and children taking pleasure in exploring the rich literary world around them with a firm phonic basis to support them.

We recognise that not all children develop through the phases of phonic and early reading. Careful assessment and observation by the teacher identified gaps in children’s knowledge and skill, so interventions are put in place to close these gaps. Close liaison with families is key to the success of children securing skills in early reading and our detailed notes within reading logs support families to help their children at home.

We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our phonics and reading curriculum goes beyond the results of any statutory assessments and will be seen in success across the curriculum as children progress through school.