At Regent Farm First School, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that a consistent approach to phonics provides the building blocks to reading, which once mastered ensures children become successful readers who develop a lifelong love of reading. Through the systematic approach to phonics all children are taught the skills to break down words into sounds, as well as letter and word recognition. Children use these skills to blend words to enable them to read and segment to support spelling. We value reading as a key life skill therefore the teaching of phonics is of high priority.
At Regent Farm First School we use the Read Write Inc programme of study for children in Reception to Year 2. Specific phonics lessons take place daily for children within this age range as well as intervention programmes for children in Key Stage 2. Phonics sessions also take place in Nursery with the aim to attune children to the sounds around them, and preparing them for oral blending and segmenting skills.
Read Write Inc uses a system of ‘green words’ and ‘red words’ to help children understand how to read and spell words. ‘Green words’ are words which can be phonetically decoded using known sounds, eg. Sh-o-p. ‘Red words’ are common exception words which cannot be decoded, eg ‘was’. Children are introduced to this concept in Reception and it is used consistently across the school up to Year 4.
Daily phonics sessions follow a set structure designed to enable children to learn the relationship between phonemes or letter sounds and the written grapheme, which represent them. There is focused time for children to gain this understanding at sound level, word level and sentence level. Children in Reception to Year 2 are taught in groups for phonics, this is informed by regular assessments which highlight target children. Groupings are fluid to ensure children are always accessing the correct provision for their stage of development and careful thought is put into the placement of adults within these groupings. Assessments are completed each half term using Phonics Tracker for children in Reception and Year 1 and for those children in Year 2 who did not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1. Once children are confidently recognising all the sounds and able to read these in words, the focus moves to when to apply these when spelling new and unfamiliar words. With sessions based around alternative digraphs for different sounds.
We value the importance of the ability to transfer the skills taught in phonics sessions to other areas of the curriculum. Therefore, where appropriate, sounds are displayed within the classroom, either on walls or as sound mats which children can access independently and Read Write Inc books are used for children’s individual reading book to ensure they able to decode the words, therefore matching their reading ability.