Phonics is a systematic approach to learning to read, write and spell. At Gladstone Primary School children are taught phonics as soon as they start in our Nursery. Phonics is taught every day in discreet lessons in ability groups. These skills are then applied in other lessons across the curriculum and taught alongside the other important skills of learning to read.
At Gladstone Primary School we don’t use a specific scheme to teach phonics. We teach what we think the children need and we are always looking to help the children progress by identifying their next stages in learning. Our staff are highly skilled in the teaching of Phonics. Our commitment to the teaching of phonics is reflected in our recent Year 1 Phonics Screening Check results (June 2014), where 80% of our Year 1 children reached the expected level, which is above the national average.
We believe reading is very important at our school and the support from parents is invaluable. Our Home/School reading system is very flexible. We always take the needs of the children into account and ensure that books are always linked to the children’s stage of phonic development. This ensures that current teaching in school can be reinforced at home. Children also have key tricky words to learn and spellings linked to their current Phonic teaching.
Early Stages of Reading
In Nursery some children start with non-worded books which are all from the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme to encourage language skills, vocabulary and book handling skills. When the children are confident with these important skills with words and letters are introduced.
As children become more confident in using their phonics and reading tricky words they gradually move onto reading more challenging texts, continuing to practice their phonics, decoding skills, and comprehension skills.
Our home reading books are wide ranging and all have a phonic focus. Dandelion Launchers by Phonic Books are read regularly by the children, and these are supplemented with Oxford Reading Tree Songbirds. We also use Jolly Phonics Phonic Books to extend and develop phonemes taught in sets/groups.
Progression in Reading
Rigby books also supplement our Oxford Reading Tree Phonics and Fireflies are used for guided reading at both FS and KS1.
To extend fluency at the end of each phase children are given an additional book to practice all sounds known from Read, Write Inc and Ragtime Rhymes.
When each phase is completed and the children are confident to blend a good range of phonemes at Phase 5 children move on to read books from The Oxford Reading Tree . Our Foundation Stage Manager has linked bands to the Dandelion books.
For our more able readers we use The Accelerated Reading Program to give the children a greater breadth and independence in their reading. This is very successful and something that the children find very motivating.
All children also have the opportunity to share a book of their choice from the class library to share at home with an adult. The children chose this book themselves and can change this at least once a week.
Reading Workshops for Parents
Throughout the Year we offer workshops for parents where they can learn about the teaching of reading and phonics and, in turn, feel more confident to support their children at home. Our next workshops will be taking place in the Spring Term.