Reading & Phonics
What is Phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read. Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.
Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. For example, the sound k can be spelled as c, k, ck or ch.
Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters t, p, a and s, they can start to build up the words: “tap”, “taps”, “pat”, “pats” and “sat”.
How we teach phonics and early reading at Thrybergh Primary
We teach phonics and early reading using the new updated FFT’s Success for All Phonics programme, which is a complete Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme validated by the DfE.
FFT’s Success for All Phonics gives children a daily phonics and reading lessons from EYFS to the end of Year 1. The daily lessons cover all the main Grapheme–Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) and Common Exception Words (CEWs) to provide children with the phonic knowledge and skills required for success in becoming a fluent and accurate reader by the end of KS1.
The programme introduces phonics and its application to early reading in a carefully sequenced and progressive way: moving from developing phonological awareness through rhyme, to introducing Grapheme–Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) in order, through a six-phased progression. Children will learn the skills of blending and segmenting as new GPCs are introduced, reinforcing them throughout the programme. The programme also teaches children to read common exception words (CEWs). These are words which cannot be decoded phonetically and have to be recognised on sight. The programme aims to build confident readers through the consistent, systematic, and daily teaching of the Success for All Phonics programme with accompanying Shared Readers. Our aim is for children to become fluent, confident readers by the end of Key Stage 1.
The programme provides pacey and active lessons that balance short inputs of direct teaching with immediate whole-class response and engagement. The multisensory lessons engage all children in a variety of activities designed to support learning in fun and memorable ways. Activities include: saying the Alphabet Chant with actions, responding to questions either chorally or with their Talk Partner, and/or actively reading with their partner, and writing in the air or on their partner’s back. Lessons also link pictures and mnemonics to support the learning and recall of each GPC.
The phonics programme provides texts called Shared Readers, which are exactly aligned to the phonics that is being taught. The children are motivated to apply their new learning in a meaningful way. The reading lessons develop a separate, but linked, approach to the teaching of reading comprehension during the shared reading lessons.
Children will take home the book they have read in class, so that they can continue to practise it and get to the stage where they can read it automatically, no longer needing to sound the words out.
All lessons are underpinned with cooperative Learning techniques in which learning skills are developed by teachers explicitly modelling behaviours for learning. Teachers use positive feedback to help children to understand when they meet expectations and for motivation. This approach encourages children to work together in supportive peer partnerships (and teams when in Year 1).
Within the scope of the programme, dedicated time is planned in for review and consolidation of skills to ensure that children do not fall behind.
The programme plans in frequent and comprehensive formative and summative assessment opportunities to inform teaching and ensure that children’s progress is closely monitored. This enables early identification of children who may need additional support.
The programme provides comprehensive lesson planning and resources, as well as training and ongoing support, from the FFT/SfA team. Monitoring of the programme, and further support for the teaching team, is offered by the school Phonics Lead and the English Lead.
For more information about how your child is taught phonics and how you can help them, please see their class teacher.
For more information about the SfA phonics programme, please follow this link: https://fft.org.uk/phonics/
Information for Parents
More about Success for All
What is Success For All?
Success for All is a whole school improvement programme that is helping us to:
- Improve teaching and learning – focusing on literacy
- Enable children to maximise progress and to become highly-skilled, independent learners.
- Secure sustainable improvement
Success for All is an evidence-based school improvement strategy. It is used to embed a consistent and dynamic approach to teaching and learning known as co-operative learning. Co-operative Learning is the bedrock of the entire programme. Used effectively, it will result in children who feel safe, relaxed and happy at school and who willingly work hard because they want to do well and make progress.
Co-operative Learning is based on five Co-operative Learning Behaviours that are explicitly modelled throughout school from Foundation Stage to Year 6 so that children develop excellent behaviour for learning. Positive feedback motivates children to consistently embed the strategies. In this way, Foundation children learn how to behave and learn and by Year 6 children have highly developed meta-cognitive skills.
The SFA programme is broken down into 4 main components:
Curiosity Corner- Foundation Stage 1
Curiosity Corner provides the structure in which young children thrive. Curiosity themes introduce children to a wide range of explicitly taught concepts and linked vocabulary. The programme includes short whole-class teaching sessions introducing the theme, maths concepts, rhymes/phonemic awareness, and theme related texts. High quality continuous provision activities enable children to engage in exploratory learning, consolidating and developing skills.
Kinder Corner- Foundations Stage 2
Kinder Corner’s fortnightly themes introduce a wide range of engaging, exciting concepts (e.g. day and night are the result of the earth orbiting the sun). Themes build knowledge and vocabulary essential for successful comprehension in Key Stages 1 and 2. The programme covers all areas of the curriculum. The day is structured to ensure that children gain the many skills required to be ‘school ready’. Children thoroughly enjoy the structure, pace, clarity and challenge of the programme. Children have an opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills through a range of structured and unstructured ‘Learning Labs’ (our term for continuous provision) that ‘scream the theme’ to consolidate understanding of concepts and associated vocabulary.
Roots offers daily lessons in reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Roots is based on years of evidence-based practice and research that explicitly links synthetic phonics sounds and skills to children’s reading and writing tasks. Children are given a ‘jump start’ in letter sound correspondence and blending, which forms the basis for sentence-level reading and spelling. Children in Roots receive targeted phonics instruction; individual and partner reading; a guided story session with their teacher, and a writing task designed to showcase their understanding of genre and grammar
Wings offers daily lessons in reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar. It supports and challenges both basic and more competent readers to develop their skills through reading a wide range of carefully selected texts. The Wings curriculum is based entirely around real books by famous authors with over 100+ units ranging from one to four weeks long in a wide variety of genres from fiction to non-fiction, poetry to plays, classical extracts to digital e-texts. Children read the entire book and complete a weekly writing tasks matched to the book’s genre and grammar focus. Wings supports teachers in developing essential KS2 literacy skills such as inference, deduction, summarisation, prediction and questioning. The programme also comes with Extended Writing Modules and Grammar for Editing manuals designed to teach classes how to write across all the major genres and edit their work accordingly.
The Curiosity and Kinder programme runs for the full day, covering all areas of the curriculum. Children accessing Roots and Wings have a 90 minute SfA session every day.