All children at our school have phonics teaching daily, for those working below Step 10; this will be around phonological awareness and is supported within our Speaking and Listening curriculum. Phonological awareness is one of the links between spoken language and learning to decode in Literacy. It means; being able to hear, recognise and play with the sounds of a spoken language.
The foundations for early phonological awareness include being able to listen and discriminate between sounds, to be able to identify words that do and do not rhyme, that do and do not begin or end with the same sound and to understand the concept of syllables within words (Kilpatrick 2015).
Elements of phase one phonics are taught within the Speaking and Listening curriculum alongside other emerging pre reading skills. This continues into our whole school literacy curriculum which is started at step 10.
Children at Step 10 will have access to more formal targets based on book skills, comprehension, and whole word. From step 11 children are then introduced to formal targets linked to early phonological awareness targets linked to phase one phonics. This continues right up to step 15. From Step 15 onwards we introduce phase 2 phonics and adopt a more formal approach to teaching phonics using our bespoke phonics curriculum and follow ‘Time for Phonics’ scheme.
Steps 1-9: Children have access to pre reading activities within our literacy curriculum and focus on early communication skills linked to early phonological awareness within our speaking and listening curriculum. Targets are set from pre reading step descriptors and within our speaking and listening curriculum. Small step targets are then used within the pre reading and speaking and listening planning.
Steps 10: At this step children will be introduced to a more formal approach to teach reading and will work on three areas initially – book skills, comprehension and whole word.
Step 11 – 14: Children continue to work on book skills, comprehension and whole word targets. At this point teachers will have a discussion with our resident speech and language therapists around an appropriate reading route for children. This will be regularly reviewed by the class teacher and speech and language therapist. Children will then work on early phonics targets linked to phase 1. Planning will include an early phonics activity within a structured reading session. Children will have access to Time for Phonics scheme activities linked to phase 1 – digital content, practical activities and e-books. Children will have exposure to first readers books.
Step 15-16: Children continue to work on book skills, comprehension and whole word targets. At this point teachers will again discuss reading routes for the child with speech and language. Children will now access a formal approach to reading at phase 2 then phase 3. Children will have at least three/four separate phonics sessions alongside weekly literacy sessions based on comprehension and book skills. Planning will be separate to planned reading sessions and will follow the scheme Time for Phonics.
Children will have a reading book linked to the sounds they are learning, and this will be sent home and children will be heard reading in school. Our reading scheme is currently Oxford Reading Tree. Children will have access to a formal scheme and targets assessed within our own curriculum to monitor progress.
Time for Phonics – The Orchard school are currently using Time for Phonics as a phonics scheme. This is used in conjunction with our whole school phonics bespoke curriculum.