‘Literacy is… the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realise his or her full potential.’
‘The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’
At McMillan we are committed to supporting every child to become a successful, confident reader. We believe that high quality, discrete phonics teaching, coupled with a ‘love of reading’ culture that celebrates books and language and developing children’s communication and language, is crucial.
At McMillan we have a whole school approach to teaching phonics to enable our children to be equipped with good phonological awareness so that they are able to access systematic phonics confidently when they start formal schooling. This policy is intended to ensure that there is a consistent and progressive approach to the teaching of phonics throughout the school to ensure that children have developed phonological awareness before they are introduced to letter sounds and for those who have in the last term are introduced to letter sounds using the letters and sounds planning (DFE) . This policy should be read in conjunction with the school’s Reading Policy.
As a school, we teach children phonics using a systematic approach to develop phonological awareness. We are aware reading is developed through many strands, using the model below
Hollie Scarborough (2001)
We want all pupils to begin their journey to read with confidence, develop a love of reading and apply their skills competently to writing. Therefore, we have formulate our approach to reading and writing using an evidence based approach.
We aim to ensure that all pupils:
- Can confidently rhyme and alliterate (however this is not essential before they learn letter sound)
- Have developed phonological awareness
- Can confidently oral blend
- Can Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills for letters and sounds phase 2
- Read common exception words on sight for phase 2
- Understand what they read
- Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words
- Learn letter formation and handwriting skills
We will use the letters and sounds Phase one programme (DFE 2007) to teach children phonological awareness. We will teach these aspects in the following order
Aspect 1 – General sound discrimination – environmental
The aim of this aspect is to raise children’s awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills. Activities suggested in the guidance include going on a listening walk, drumming on different items outside and comparing the sounds, playing a sounds lotto game and making shakers.
Aspect 2 – General sound discrimination – instrumental sounds
This aspect aims to develop children’s awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers. Activities include comparing and matching sound makers, playing instruments alongside a story and making loud and quiet sounds.
Aspect 3 – General sound discrimination – body percussion
The aim of this aspect is to develop children’s awareness of sounds and rhythms. Activities include singing songs and action rhymes, listening to music and developing a sounds vocabulary.
Aspect 4 – Rhythm and rhyme
This aspect aims to develop children’s appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech. Activities include rhyming stories, rhyming bingo, clapping out the syllables in words and odd one out.
Aspect 5 – Alliteration
The focus is on initial sounds of words, with activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.
Aspect 6 – Voice sounds
The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting. Activities include Metal Mike, where children feed pictures of objects into a toy robot’s mouth and the teacher sounds out the name of the object in a robot voice – /c/-/u/-/p/ cup, with the children joining in.
Aspect 7 – Oral blending and segmenting
In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.
To practise oral blending, the teacher could say some sounds, such as /c/-/u/-/p/ and see whether the children can pick out a cup from a group of objects. For segmenting practise, the teacher could hold up an object such as a sock and ask the children which sounds they can hear in the word sock.
The activities introduced in Phase 1 are intended to continue throughout the following phases, as lots of practice is needed before children will become confident in their phonic knowledge and skills.
What you will typically see in class:
- Children will be taught phonics once a week.
- Children will work though the aspects of the programme, following a sequence of teaching, please see Appendix 1,2 and 3
- Fast-paced teaching where progress is easily seen. For example, if children can easily oral blend, we will teach phase 2. If this is not the case, we will revisits oral blending activities to secure oral blending before introducing letter sounds.
- Sessions which include a range of activities enabling children to revise their knowledge, learn new sounds and apply and practise their skills.
- Resources which are appropriate to each group
- When writing sounds on a whiteboard, they will always be modelled by adults
- In continuous provision, staff will model the skills in play which have been explicitly taught
- Activities in play will be planned to enable children to apply learning in play, after being taught the skills
- Staff will model good speaking and listening skills