The systematic teaching of phonics has a very high priority throughout the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and beyond. At St Paul’s, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1. We also value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.
Teachers use Twinkl Phonics, which compliments the order of sounds within 'Letters & Sounds', to help teach the essential skills needed for reading. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage, and KS1. Extra support is provided to those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1 and interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels.
Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered to differentiated groups of learners. Each child is issued with a "Big Cat Phonics" reading book that includes words containing their most recently taught phoneme (and no phoneme that they have not yet been taught). The child reads that book at school to reinforce the learning of their new phoneme, until it has been embedded. This is called their "learning to read book".
Each child also has a second "reading for pleasure book" which usually relates to the phonics phase they have reached, but which may contain phonemes the child has not yet learned and may be a book they have chosen to have read to them. This is a book that they take home to share.
Teachers regularly assess the pupil’s phonics knowledge using phonics assessment and Reading Early Learning Goal (in EYFS). These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning.
The children have reading books which they are encouraged to read regularly at home which match their current phonics level.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.