At Bramley Park Academy our learning is built for purpose. Phonics is an integral skill for early reading and that’s why it is linked across our whole curriculum and school. Our reading and spelling is interlinked and then made explicit in our Literacy lessons to ensure children are using their reading to support their writing. In order to provide a consistent approach of segmenting (writing) and blending (reading), we use the Letters and Sounds framework throughout FS 1/2 and KS1. We also use this to further support children in KS2.
What a good phonics session should include
In our phonics lessons, teachers use AFL to drive standards and attainment for all children. Using Letters and Sounds means that teachers are given every opportunity to teach to the needs of the children in that moment and challenge misconceptions. It also means they are setting high expectations that underpins the whole curriculum – for example challenging children’s spelling and handwriting.
Revisit and Review
We use flashcards to begin every session so that our children are confident with previously taught sounds to use in their writing. Each flashcard helps the children to memorise the sound through repetition. This part of the session is also based on the teacher’s live assessment of the children and what they need in the moment, making it fit for purpose. This is a quick and pacey way to assess children’s knowledge of sounds.
Teaching the new sound
When teaching a new sound, children will say the sound, blend a word with the sound in and then speed read the words. Teachers ensure they are using clear sound discrimination and pronunciation of the sound. This shows children’s ability to orally identify where they can hear the sound and the words you hear it in.
Repetition supports children’s ability to embed and develop a clear understanding of reading the words with the specific sound.
At Bramley Park Academy, we use a mixed method approach of independent, paired and some whole class practising. This includes writing a sentence with the new sound in or reading a sentence/part of a text with the new sound in. These routines help to build a deeper understanding of the sounds the children are learning and apply it across the curriculum.
Children are taught how to use the sounds they have learnt in context. Children can show understanding in a variety of ways, for example writing their own sentence using the sound or spotting the sound across our curriculum. This helps to embed our phonics sessions in every aspect of the day.
In the last 5 – 10 minutes of the session, pupils go on to practice spelling by sounding out the words they are told to spell by their teacher, following the spelling and editing routine. This routine is designed to enable children to hear and identify the correct number of phonemes (sounds) in words and encode them by selecting the corresponding (correct) graphemes. This part of the session means children are given opportunity to practise their pencil control and handwriting, whilst learning how to spell.
In our 30 minute phonics sessions at Bramley Park Academy, you will always see these teaching steps:
Revisit/review (5 minutes)
Teach (5-10 minutes)
Practise (10 minutes)
Spelling (5-10 minutes)