At Headley Park Primary School, we teach phonics using a validated programme called Unlocking Letters and Sounds. We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey.
In Reception, children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery and any child who does not meet age related expectations in Year 1 will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to catch up through bespoke 1-1 precision teaching, and segmenting and blending interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact.
Supporting reading and phonics at home
For home reading, children read books so that they can practise and apply reading skills that have been taught at school. Books are very closely matched to a child’s current phonics phase so that each child can achieve success in their reading.
Please read with your child every day to develop their blending, decoding and fluency skills. We ask that you record this in their reading log book by writing a positive comment about your child’s reading.
Here is a video from Caroline Bishop, EYFS phase leader, demonstrating how to support your child with reading at home and showing the importance of re-reading for fluency.
As children progress beyond phase 5 phonics, they move onto our book band scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills and become avid, expert readers.
Phonics Phase 2 actions
You can see a video with an example of the sounds and actions we use in Phase 2 at Headley Park here.
Phonics Phase 3 actions
You can see a video with an example of the sounds and actions we use in Phase 3 at Headley Park here.