At St Matthew’s C of E Primary & Nursery Academy, we believe that being able to read is one of the most important skills children will learn during their early schooling and has far-reaching implications for lifelong confidence and well-being. With this in mind, we put a huge amount of time and resources in to supporting every child to be able to read.
What is Phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and
blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.
Children can then use this knowledge to decode new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.
Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.
Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia.
Our school uses the Government approved programme 'Bug Club Phonics' to deliver a systematic and rigorous approach to phonics.
Children are taught with their peers to ensure they keep pace with the programme of study. When needed, children receive daily, intensive catch-up sessions to ensure every child keeps pace with the learning.
In the Foundation Stage and Year One all children will have a daily phonics lesson followed up by activities, in school and at home, that support and embed the learning of the previously taught sounds. In the Foundation Stage children will be heard read at least twice a week by the teacher and by the teaching assistant. In Year One and beyond this is at least once a week and daily additional reading is in place for those children who need it. Comments about reading will be made in a child’s Reading Record book. This book should come to school daily. In Reception and Year One children will have fully decodable books which children will be abel to use their acquired phonics skills to read. The books that go home with children are for practice and fluency and include sounds that children are familiar with. Parents are encouraged to hear their child read every day if possible and to write in their reading record. Children will be rewarded with certificates as they move through sets of books.
For children in Year Two and KS2 that require additional phonics support, daily additional interventions are in place led by skilled teachers or teaching assistants.
Support for Parents
In September we offer parents a ‘ How to support your child to read’ workshop. In addition we have regular opportunities in the Nursery, Reception and Year One for parents to come and take part in Phonics lessons in class as well as shared reading times. Children will also bring home flashcards and resources to support parents. A log in for all children reading pink-orange banded books is given for Bug Club Phonic E-books. Parents may also wish to subscribe to phonics play , a useful interactive resource we use in school.
Learning Phonics at St Matthew's
This video workshop will help parents to learn how we teach phonics in school and help you to know how to support your children at home.
Getting the best out of Phonics Bug
If you are a parent then check out this video by Miss Olver that explains how you can use Phonics Bug to its full potential.
At St. Matthew's we work with the llsham English hub to further develop our expertise in teaching phonics. Below is some really useful support information and videos for parents about the teaching of phonics and early reading.
At St.Matthew's we teach cursive handwriting to all children. To begin with, for children in Reception we teach children pre-cursive writing where they learn to write the lead in and exit strokes of letters. We refer to this as 'whoosh in' and 'whoosh out' with the children at the beginning and end of each letter. Once children are secure in this we move on to joining the letters together within a word.