The children in Key Stage One at St Helen’s receive rigorous and systematic phonics teaching for 20-30 minutes each day. The school follows the Letters and Sounds Programme and sessions are planned by class teachers. Daily sessions take into account the needs of all children ensuring that sessions target children’s current needs. On occasions children in Key Stage Two may need to access additional phonic support and intervention to aid their writing and spelling. The school follows the No Nonsense Spelling and Grammar programmes that provide a rigorous approach to the teaching of spelling.
When children join the school in Reception, parents are invited to a workshop that provides information on the teaching of phonics and strategies that they can use at home to support their child. This forms part of the new parents induction programme offered by the school.
Whilst the school values the importance of phonics as a reading strategy we also acknowledge that this is not the only strategy that should be taught. We believe the teaching of reading should be undertaken in a holistic manner that embraces a wide range of strategies including the use of picture clues, inference and deduction and comprehension skills.
The school aims for the daily phonic sessions to:
- Be taught discreetly on a daily basis.
- Use a multi sensory approach, so that children learn from a range of activities that encompass visual, auditory and kinaesthetic approaches to leaning.
- Support both spelling and reading and allow children to have opportunities to read texts and spell words at their level.
- Ensure that children have opportunities to apply their phonic knowledge
- Build in regular opportunities to assess the children’s knowledge and move their learning forward.
- Teach new high frequency words in the context of a sentence that is meaningful to the children.
All sessions have a three part structure that aims to
1) Recap on the learning from the day before
2) Introduce and practice new skills
3) Apply the new skills learnt in a suitable context.
The following download is a sample phonics plan that covers learning over one week.