Phonics at The Meadows
As of October 2021, we will no longer be using the Letters and Sounds programme to teach Phonics within school. We have recently invested in a new systematic, synthetic phonics programme called 'Rocket Phonics'. This new resource has been written by phonics experts and will support us in teaching our pupils with their early reading and writing skills. Pupils will be given full online access to the programme which will enable teachers to assign eBooks. The eBooks will then be able to be read at school or home on any internet-enabled device.
This reading dog relates entirely to learning to decode a text with the use of Phonics. The aim of the Letters and Sounds programme is to ensure the automatic
reading of all words – decodable and tricky - to allow children to access a broad range of texts.
So... what exactly is phonics?
They are taught GPCs. This stands for grapheme phoneme correspondences. This simply means that they are taught all the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.
Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read.
Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.
What makes Phonics tricky?
So why bother learning Phonics?
Rocket Phonics Progression
reading the words automatically if they are very familiar;
decoding them quickly and silently because their sounding and blending routine is
now well established;
decoding them aloud.
Children’s spelling should be phonemically accurate, although it may still be a little unconventional at times. Spelling usually lags behind reading, as it is harder. During this phase, children become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.
How is Phonics taught at The Meadows?
Phonics sessions are snappy and engaging. They include a range of resources such as games, songs and actions. Children, very quickly, learn a range of actions to help them to decode a text. Phonics is taught as soon as the children enter Reception. Each session follows the same consistent format:
Recently and previously learned phoneme-grapheme correspondences, blending and segmenting skills as appropriate
New phoneme-grapheme correspondences; skills of blending and segmenting; tricky words
New phoneme – grapheme correspondences; skills of blending and segmenting
New knowledge and skills while reading/writing
At The Meadows, home learning in terms of reading is a way to consolidate what has been taught in school. It is not about teaching your child how to read. They are given texts that are 90% decodable that apply the sounds they have already be taught. Each child is allocated three different books:
1. A fully decodable text that applies their sound of the week (with a sticker that says 'I can read this to you')
2. A decodable text to share with an adult. This is a text that is to be adult-led (this book will have a sticker 'Share this book with me')
3. A reading for pleasure book. This may be a book that the children can read independently. It will not be phonetically based, but is there to encourage a love of reading and to widen their breadth of reading.