At Phoenix Arch we view phonics as a fundamental foundation for reading and writing. We provide timetabled sessions across the school following the national ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme. These are delivered at a developmentally appropriate level for children whether they are in the Early Years Foundation Stage or Key Stage 2, and the programme is differentiated on an individual basis. This ensures that pupils are secure with all of the 44 phoneme sounds used in English before moving onto the later phases, where they learn alternative spellings and pronunciations for these sounds.
The teaching of phonics is a high priority in the school and all teachers are trained in how best to deliver highly structured and enjoyable sessions. Children have the opportunity to review previous sounds as well as learn new ones in their discrete phonics sessions, but are also encouraged to apply what they have learnt across the curriculum in all reading and writing activities. Alongside the formal teaching of Phonics, children also have access to a language rich environment where they are able to apply their decoding skills and develop language comprehension in order to ‘read’.
As well as teaching technical skills we develop reading for pleasure through offering daily reading experiences including one to one reading of real books. The technical skills are critical for fluency but they are not everything –it is about reading for meaning, insight and pleasure.
Pupils choose their reading books from a range of reading schemes as well as real books. All books have been graded into levels and pupils have a reading book which is at an instructional level which supports reading their reading development. Pupils may also choose additional books of their choice to read for pleasure; these can be at any level and may require adult support to read. In this way pupils develop a love of reading and have ownership of what they read.
A ‘running reading’ record is one of the tools used to assess the pupil’s instructional level.
Instructional level = just the right amount of challenge where pupils can still gain meaning and develop.
Easy = no challenge for reading skill but valuable for developing self- confidence and fluency.
Hard = too much challenge where meaning can be lost in independent reading but can be enjoyed and shared with an adult.
A child has daily opportunities to read across the curriculum as well as reading for pleasure. Children read with an adult daily and progress is recorded in their reading record.
100% of pupils leaving our school are able to read for meaning, insight and pleasure.