We know that our children need strong academic foundations in core subjects to enable access to further education / training / the job market when they are older. Success in this subject is promoted through the provision of a broad, balanced and creative curriculum. We aim to provide as many experiences as possible such as school trips which will provide stimuli for creative writing and will develop their speaking and listening skills.
By the time children leave our school, we would expect them to communicate confidently through speaking and listening, reading and writing, with fluency, accuracy and understanding and in a range of situations. We want every child to take pleasure in reading across a range of genres and have a strong motivation to read for a variety of purposes.
Here at St Peter’s CofE Infant School we use the ‘Unlocking Letters and Sounds’ Phonics Scheme which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.
We begin teaching phonics in the first few days of term 1 in the Early Years class and children make rapid progress in their reading journey.
Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences.
Children leave the Early Years class being able to apply the phonemes and digraphs taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words.
By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling.
In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.
For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression overview.
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.
At St Peter’s CofE Infant School we promote a ‘phonics first’ approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books, children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child’s current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading. In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics, to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow.
To further support and enhance the children’s reading experience they also take home our structured reading books. These are in place to promote the children’s love of reading, to support fluency and to aid comprehension skills. These are also closely assessed so the books match the child’s current attainment.