KS1 Phonics and Reading Scheme Details
At Gloucester Road Primary School we have been using the Sounds-Write approach to teaching phonics since February 2015. Sounds-Write is a quality first phonics programme acknowledged by the DfE as meeting all its criteria for an effective phonics teaching programme. It is an exciting and highly successful approach to the teaching of reading, spelling and writing. Since using this approach we have observed increased concentration and an acceleration of learning.
Sounds-Write is highly effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of the English language. From there, children are taught in small steps how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelt.
Children begin by learning simple alphabet code and then progress through to more complex coding.
The programme teaches the following concepts:
- that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language
- that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters - examples are: s a t, f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t
- that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound 'ae', spelt as in 'name', can be represented as in 'table', in 'rain', in 'eight', in 'play', and so on
- that many spellings can represent more than one sound: can be the sound 'e' in 'head', 'a-e' in 'break', or 'ee' in 'seat'
Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:
- segment, or separate sounds in words
- blend, or push sounds together to form words
- manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words
Phonic Screening Check
In Year 1 pupils sit a Phonic Screening Check in June. The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them.
The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand more about what they have to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of a monster / alien, as if the word were their name (and so your child doesn't think the word is a mistake because it doesn't make sense!).
Since February 2015 we have been using a new Reading Scheme called Project X. All parents have been invited to assemblies which launched the scheme across the school. The scheme is particularly effective in raising standards in Boys reading but at the same time is highly engaging for the girls. Running alongside the scheme in school is a website for families called OWL – on this website parents can access over 200 of the Project X books and a wide variety of reading activities to compliment the books.
The reading scheme also includes early phonics reading books for our children in the foundation stage as emergent readers.
All the books are used in Guided reading sessions with children and we launched this new independent reading scheme in September 2015.
We also use Pie Corbett's Reading Spine to teach whole class guided reading across the school. https://www.scholastic.co.uk/piecorbett/resources
We celebrate home reading with an initiative created by our Year 6 pupils - a Reading Race. Classes compete to read the most each week and the winning class receives a special book in assembly.