Learning to read is fundamental to accessing and making good progress across wider National Curriculum as well as leading independent and successful lives beyond school. For this reason, it is given the highest priority in our curriculum and school. Research has demonstrated that a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme is the most effective way for children to achieve early success in reading (and writing), building confidence and a sense of achievement and allowing progress through the skills towards reading fluency. We have daily phonics sessions throughout Reception and Year 1 following the Oxford Owl Floppy Phonics synthetic phonics programme, this programme develops children’s phonics skills quickly, and includes a range of opportunities for repeated practice to embed learning quickly. The programme allows children to learn the formation of their letters within the phonics lesson and to further understand the grapheme phoneme correspondence key to reading and writing.
Practice and Implementation
Phonics teaching starts as soon as children enter Reception and builds progressively from phase to phase with half termly assessments. Our reading scheme is matched to our phonics programme with decodable practice books for reading in school and at home. Parents are given access to our online lessons on the Oxford Owl website where they can also find a wide range of online texts and support materials. We have high expectations of reading development for all children, including those with SEND, disadvantaged pupils, those who are learning English as an additional language. Children who may need enhanced or extended provision are given further support, including the Oxford Owl Project X intervention programme. The focus of our phonics and early reading curriculum, including 1:1 reading time and small group reading, is to develop pupil’s early reading skills rapidly, to support their growing phonic knowledge, develop comprehension skills and ensure that all children are fluent and confident readers as they enter the wider curriculum demands of KS2. Strengthening the knowledge and skills of the early reader, developing fluency and reading for pleasure is embedded in all other areas of the curriculum and throughout our day to day practice.
- Daily phonics sessions taught by class teachers in Reception and Year 1, following the progression, resources and routines of The Floppy Phonics Programme. Planned and spontaneous opportunities are provided for practice of new GPCs throughout the day and week and to apply knowledge in reading and writing.
- CPD in phonics and early reading is a priority with all staff trained in the Floppy Phonics SSP, including KS2 teachers and support staff. Training is delivered through in-school training and one-to-one support sessions led by the reading leader and use of the Oxford Owl training materials.
- Pupils reading books are closely matched to their phonics knowledge and the sounds they have learnt in school. Books are read in school weekly and also sent home for further practice. There is a clear focus on developing fluency and pupils are expected to re-read the text at least three times.
- Reading sessions and interventions are delivered by trained staff with regular reviews to guide practice and create next steps.
- End of half term phonics assessments carried out by class teachers allow staff to monitor progress and plan provision. Formative assessment also takes place and allows teachers to provide immediate support as well and to revisit misconceptions quickly.
- Engagement with parents is central to progress in reading. We are keen to help them to support early reading at home (reading diaries, Reception induction meeting and Reception and Year 1 parent workshops, information leaflets, access to Floppy Phonics online as well as Oxford Owl texts and support materials). Class Dojo class announcements keep parents up to date with the Phonics Books we are learning.
- Extra reading time with trained teaching assistants is for targeted children to prioritise all children with regular reading 1:1 either at home or at school.
- Phonics support is continued, where needed, in KS2 for those who have just joined our school or those who need additional support with decoding using the Project X programme in order that all children become fluent.
- Phonics activities to support reading, writing and spelling are given as weekly homework.