Subject Lead: Mrs Fox
"Phonics is an approach to teaching some aspects of literacy, by developing pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the relationship between written symbols and sounds. This involves the skills of hearing, identifying and using the patterns of sounds or phonemes to read written language. The aim is to systematically teach pupils the relationship between these sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics emphasises the skills of decoding new words by sounding them out and combining or ‘blending’ the sound-spelling patterns"
Education Endowment Foundation
At St. Joseph’s we strive to ensure that all children have a secure understanding of and have undergone a full synthetic systematic Phonics program by the end of Year 1 and will be able to obtain a pass mark on the Phonics Screening check (administered in June). The children will be ready to access the spelling program (Scode) when they start in Year 2. Teachers use the Little Wandle Phonics teaching scheme which focuses on sounds, spelling rules and ‘tricky words’.
How Phonics is taught:
All children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 receive daily phonics sessions that follow the Little Wandle scheme of teaching and progression. Identified children also receive additional keep up and catch-up sessions throughout the day to support their learning. These take place across both phases and are carried out by both Teachers and Teaching Assistants. All staff have completed the accredited Little Wandle training. Little Wandle is a complete package that supports the children in not only their Phonics sessions but also the Guided Reading sessions.
The sessions consist of revisit, teach, practice, and apply sections which follow the old Letters and Sounds sequence. All resources and planning are provided. Teachers and other staff all have access to the Little Wandle online training videos which guide you through the various parts of a phonics sessions. Prompt cards and planning support documents are also included.
How Phonics is assessed:
Phonics is assessed half-termly using the Little Wandle assessment sheets; these give a clear indication as to which children are missing specific sounds or are still working on the different skills that are needed to decode and segment sounds within words. These identified children then make up the ‘catch up’ group that then receive regular phonics intervention sessions to help fill the gaps. Children are also assessed within the daily phonics sessions by the adults in the room. These are the children that will take part in the keep up session that day.
How you can help at home:
Children in Reception and KS1 will bring home Phonics (or spelling) homework each week. It is important that you take the time to look at the work as it will give you an idea of the sessions that the children have covered in class that week. Sounds and words can be practiced by saying them out loud, writing them down and then writing and reading the sounds within words.
The Guided Reading books that the children use in school are the same ones that your child will bring home on a weekly basis. It is important that the children get to read these books again at home to practice their Phonics skills. Advice and support on how to pronounce the sounds can be found here: https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/resources/for-parents
How we can help at school:
If you have any questions about the teaching of Phonics or have a concern for you child regarding their Phonics skills and/or knowledge, please don't hesitate to ask any of the EYFS or KS1 team who will be happy to help.
If your child is in KS2 and has been identified as needing Phonics teaching and interventions, please speak to their class teacher. All children in the school requiring any form of Phonics teaching are taught and supported by the Little Wandle Scheme.