Intent of our Phonics Provision
At Whitehouse Community Primary School reading is at the heart of our curriculum. It is therefore our aim to foster and develop a love of reading across the school and we understand that getting children’s early reading experience right is crucial in achieving this. According to the Department of Education (2013):
‘Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.’
With this in mind, we have chosen to follow the Song of Sounds synthetic phonics scheme at Whitehouse Community Primary School. We feel that teaching our children Phonics skills with the help of a song and actions makes their learning more engaging and stimulating, while also giving the children a positive early reading experience.
Implementation of our Phonics Provision
In Reception and KS1 each class is taught Phonics for 20 minutes daily. This session is usually taught at the start of the day and consists of the children singing a song with actions and then learning the individual sounds that make up words. Each week’s learning is broken down into 4 lessons where the children learn new sounds and then a consolidation lesson on a Friday, in which they recap on what they have learnt that week. When children are taught to read through Phonics they are taught that each word is made up of sounds. These sounds are called:
Phonemes- one letter that makes one sound eg. ‘a’ ‘b’ ‘c’
Digraphs- two letters that make one sound eg. ‘sh’ ‘th’ ‘ch’
Trigraphs- three or more letters that make one sound eg. ‘ear’ ‘air’ ‘igh’
Once we have taught the children the initial sounds, we then encourage them to ‘blend’ the sounds together to make a word eg. ‘c’ ‘a’ ‘t’. Children therefore 'decode' words by breaking them down into their sounds rather than having to memorise thousands of words individually. There are some words that the children cannot decode eg. ‘what’, ‘where’ and these words are taught as whole words or as the children know them ‘red words’.
At Whitehouse Community Primary School, we understand that Phonics is not a standalone subject and recognise the importance of creating links between our Phonics sessions and the rest of the curriculum. With this in mind, we endeavor to embed our children’s Phonics skills at every opportunity. When you walk around our school, you will often see children reading in small groups with adults, exciting Phonics displays and hear teachers decoding tricky words for the children while they are teaching. We also take pride in our inclusive approach to learning and ensure that the children who continue to require Phonics support higher up in the school receive the intervention they need.
Impact of our Phonics Provision
Phonics has a tremendous impact on the progress of the children in our school.