What is Phonics?


Phonic teaching is a vital part of English.

At Worsthorne Primary School, we aim to teach children fluent word reading skills and provide a good foundation in spelling from the earliest opportunity. Phonics is taught daily to all children in EYFS (Reception) and Key Stage One. We use the Letters and Sounds programme to teach children letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sound. In EYFS we sometimes use actions to help us remember these sounds. Letters and sounds is organised into six Phonic phases which a child progresses through as their reading ability improves. Phases 1-4 are usually taught in Reception, Phase 5 in Year 1 and Phase 6 in Year 2 however this can fluctuate depending on progress and teachers adapt accordingly.

Sessions are lively, fast-paced, and fun. In a session, children are taught either phonemes/ digraphs/ trigraphs, high frequency and/or tricky words and these are consolidated through reading and writing. There is an emphasis on paired work and lots of opportunities to speak and listen, as well as to read and write the sounds.

At the end of Year 1 children have to take the national Phonics Check which tests children’s phonic knowledge. Here, they are required to read real and non-sense words, applying the skills they have learnt. Ideally children will have completed and consolidated Phase 5 during Year 1 and Phase 6 during Year 2, so that they can focus more on higher-level comprehension using increasingly challenging texts. Any child that does not complete the phonics programme will continue learning phonics throughout Year 3/4 during interventions.

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Teaching a child to read is vital. We use a range of strategies, in addition to phonics, such as a variety of decoding methods, teaching high frequency words through sight recognition, discussion through picture books and quality class texts. Reading Volunteers enhance our reading provision every week hearing our children read.

Throughout all classes, reading is taught through a carousel of activities. These activities include reading with a teacher or teaching assistant and written activities. Children have focussed guided reading sessions each week and are expected to complete one written activity in that time.

One to one reading occurs in Reception and vulnerable readers are identified in each class to ensure reading progression and a love of reading. During the reading sessions, there is an emphasis on vocabulary, the retrieval of facts and inference. Novels are used to teach reading as well as a range of non-fiction texts. These texts are carefully chosen to ensure that there is progression and challenge across the school.

At Worsthorne, we aim to develop a love of reading, so children are encouraged to read for pleasure at home and school. Teachers read a variety of high-quality texts to the children on a regular basis. We currently use a range of different reading schemes to meet the interests and individual need of each and every child. The reading schemes we use for home reading are Rising stars and bug club. We also use Collins big cat schemes for Guided Reading throughout the school.