“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” – Victor Hugo
Phonics and reading are core elements of our curriculum at St Peters. We prioritise teaching all children how to read and to foster a love of reading. We follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ synthetic phonics programme throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, to teach the children essential phonic skills that are required to successfully read and spell.
In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 Phonics is taught daily introducing children to letter sounds and teaching blending skills necessary for early reading. We practice and apply these sounds using closely matched phonically decodable captions, sentences and books. Children are grouped according to their phonic knowledge with teachers tracking children's progress as they move through the synthetic phonics programme. Books are chosen by the teacher and contain only sounds and tricky words which the children have been previously taught. These books may be from a scheme such as ‘Big Cats’ or be assigned to your child’s Bug club reading account for them to read at home. Teachers will also systematically teach tricky words and these will be over learnt in school and sent home for spelling to ensure children can read and write them correctly. Children also have opportunity to choose and take home library books and each class has a welcoming book area with a selection of engaging texts for children to enjoy in free reading times.
In Key Stage 2, some children will need to consolidate their phonics knowledge and will continue to have small group phonics input. All children have daily spelling input to continue developing vocabulary. Children continue their journey through book banded books which are levelled and closely matched to their reading ability. Within each stage, there is a range of fiction and non-fiction titles, including stories from different cultures and eras. Class teachers choose the books, as in Key Stage 1, and these are used for home reading and group reading in class until they finish the scheme. The children also have a library book which they choose themselves. Children are also encouraged to 'free read', for pleasure, any books of their own choosing.