At OLSA, we believe reading is fundamental to education. Proficiency in reading, writing and spoken language is vital for pupils’ success. We believe that all children can learn to read, regardless of their needs, background, or ability, and we aim to ensure that we achieve this.
Our phonics scheme is progressive and ensures all children are actively involved in their own learning. We follow the six phases of the Letters and Sounds scheme which provides for coherent, well planned and sequenced lessons that build upon prior learning. We embed phonetic development through our 100% decodable book range of Bug Club Phonics.
All children in EYFS are introduced to reading through of phonics programme of Letters and Sounds. Children begin phase 1 where they are provided with books to fire their imagination – allowing them to enjoy and share books from an early age. This helps the children develop routines to learn 'back and forth' talk to enable better language acquisition. Most texts are image based so it allows for excellent discussion opportunities and prediction skills. They are allowed this period of time to develop their speaking and listening skills before moving into phase 2. Throughout each phase, vocabulary remains at the heart. Children develop a love of words and begin to attach meaning as they progress through school.
In EYFS, our children work within phases 2-4. Here learners are introduced to phonemes/sounds and graphemes/letters systematically. They also learn to develop and apply blending and segmenting skills for reading and writing. In order to progress children through to become competent and confident readers, we apply the revisit, review, teach, practise and apply principles. Through regular revision of previous learning, children can build upon their knowledge to learn new sounds following the same format.
Direct teaching of phonics occurs daily from the start of reception. Within each session, children are also introduced to the correct letter formation which is displayed around the class. In reception, print is used. Phonics sessions also allow for children to be given tasks that allow them to practise and apply what they have learned through reading and writing. This is formatively assessed through each session through the use of 'show me whiteboards' and through their written pieces at the end of the session.
The organisation of the books match the order in which the phonics programme is set. We currently use bug club phonics as our 100% fully decodable set of books. Children are monitored on their fluency through key worker activities and accurate decoding of texts must be assured before a child moves on to read a new book.
Within phase 2, children will begin to develop their understanding that the sounds they have been exploring come in written form. By the end of EYFS, we aim to ensure that all children are secure within Phase 3 sounds and working into phase 4 which focuses upon blending and segmenting the words.
By using an systematic, synthetic phonics programme, we are helping children to read quickly and skilfully. They identify the different letter sounds and blend to make words so reading becomes automatic.
Alongside regular phonics session, we value the importance of high quality story time. High quality stories are selected that capture the children's imagination and we ensure that they are relevant to the children in order for them to draw simple similarities and differences to their own experiences. We provide teachers with the time to re-read stories to enable greater discussions with the children to assist their familiarity and understanding. We have a wide range of books available for the children to access both in class and within the library area to further promote that love of reading. Intertwined within these sessions are regular opportunities to engage within poetry, rhyme and song.
We aim to ensure that children 'keep up not catch up.' Through high quality teaching we reduce the likelihood that children may need extra support. Those that do require support are identified within the session and prompt intervention is provided through a well-trained adult.
To ensure that children develop confidence and achievement within phonics, a 100% decodable book based upon the sounds learned in class, will be sent home with the children in KS1 each Friday. Alongside this will be a worksheet for them to practise and apply the sounds taught further. The book and sheet must be returned the following Thursday. Children will also receive a 'pleasure' read based upon their current book band level to provide for further engagement, challenge and to promote a love of reading.