At Brookdale we recognise the importance of teaching a synthetic phonics programme to build and support children’s speaking and listening skills and to prepare children for learning to read by developing phonic knowledge and skills.
We follow the Letters and Sounds programme which provides a detailed, systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of four with the aim for them to be fluent readers by the age of seven. Children are also taught high frequency words which do not completely follow phonic rules.
There are six overlapping phases taught between F2 and Year 2.
Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes. It is really important for reading and writing that children hear and say phonic sounds accuratley.
Reading books are closely matched to the childrens' increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. We use a range of reading materials to reinforce the Letters and Sounds phases which draw from a range of reading schemes including Bug Club, Alphablocks, All Aboard, Oxford Reading Tree and Collins Big Cats.
All our children from F2 to Year 2 have the opportunity to read books which reflect their interests and reading ability and cover a range of genre’s. As children mature and their reading becomes more independent they can access work by a range of significant authors. All children can take books home from our school library
We also run a Successful Reading programme, with trained adult volunteers, who run a structured support programme in school to support children who need some extra help.
The children write every day, rehearsing out loud what they want to say, before spelling the words using the graphemes and ‘tricky’ words they know.
The children learn correct letter formation which helps them to join letters speedily and legibly later in school.
Children’s composition (ideas, vocabulary and grammar) is developed by drawing on their own experiences and talking about the stories they read.
Teacher’s assess children’s phonic and reading progress regularly. For those children who require extra support specific phonic interventions are put into place to supplement the daily phonics lesson.
The Year 1 phonics screening check is not a formal test, but a way for teachers to ensure that children are making sufficient progress with their phonics skills to read words and that they are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning. Year 1 children usually take the phonics screening check in early June.
Intervention programmes linked to Letters and Sounds are also put into place in Key Stage 2.