Phonics at Newlands Primary School
At Newlands we believe that reading has the power to impact across the whole curriculum and therefore the early skills of decoding are the essential stepping stones into reading. We aim to provide pupils with a high-quality, engaging and progressive education in Phonics using the review, teach, practice, apply process to embed learning. We endeavour to equip all children with the skills needed for reading and writing in their early stages of school life.
Our Phonics sessions teach children to speak (using cued articulation), read, write and apply sounds confidently - supporting their progress in every subject, at home and beyond. To ensure we equip all children with these early reading skills, Phonics is taught daily across EYFS, Key Stage 1 and, where necessary, into Key Stage 2. Through structured sessions we aim to provide children with the confidence to apply their phonics knowledge in new situations daily. We aim that all children will pass the Phonics Screening Test before the end of KS1.
At Newlands we use Rocket Phonics, which is a Department for Education validated story-based Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme. This programme is fully decodable and aligned to Letters and Sounds (2007), providing a complete package of resources to teach reading and writing.
Fundamental concepts of Rocket Phonics:
- Phonics is overseen by a dedicated phonics leader.
- Phonics is taught for a minimum of 30 minutes daily.
- All staff are supported with regular phonics professional development training.
- A clear pathway is followed through the alphabetic code.
- Children are not asked to read texts by themselves that they can't yet read.
- The Systematic Synthetic Phonics Teaching Principles (knowledge of the code and the skills of blending, segmenting and handwriting) are taught explicitly
- The Teaching & Learning Cycle (revisit and review, teach, practise, apply) is followed.
- Children are supported to keep up, so they do not need to catch up.
- Phonics is taught at letter-sound, word, sentence and text levels.
- Core phonics provision is distinguished from phonics enrichment activities.
- Teachers have clarity about what, why and how they are teaching.
- Teachers focus on details, such as accurate modelling and pencil hold.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Progress in phonics is continually reviewed through periodic phonic assessments and evidence from their reading and writing. Through these, teachers identify the graphemes that need to be addressed which then informs planning. In June, attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test in Year 1. The national Phonics Screening Check is undertaken to confirm that the children have learned to decode to an age appropriate standard and determines what level of provision they will require the following year.