“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 Peter's. We prioritise teaching all children to read and aim to foster a love of books and reading in all children. We are ambitious for all children in the school and challenge all to achieve. Our Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme is organised in a sequence that develops progressively – deepening pupils’ understanding and skill levels within Reading and Writing, while ensuring that phonemes and graphemes become embedded in the long-term memory.
Focused phonics sessions in Reception and Key Stage 1 take place daily. In these sessions, children develop a knowledge of phonemes and graphemes alongside developing the skills of segmenting and blending words. Children are grouped according to their phonic knowledge with teachers tracking children's progress as they move through the progression of sounds. Teachers also systematically teach tricky words, with these being over learnt in school and sent home for spelling to ensure children can read and write them correctly.
In school, children read from books containing the sounds and tricky words they know drawn from a progressive reading scheme. Pupils supplement learning in school by taking phonically decodable books home to further develop their reading skills. They select their home reading books from books chosen by the teacher which contain only sounds and tricky words the children have been previously taught. These books may be from a scheme such as ‘Big Cat’ or can be assigned on the child’s Bug Club reading account.
Children who finish Key Stage 1 and need further consolidation of their phonics learning will continue to have small group phonics input in Key Stage 2 lead by experienced teaching staff. Children have reading books closely aligned to their phonic knowledge and are chosen by the children from a selection given to them by their teacher.
Across the school, careful interventions are planned to support children who are making the slowest progress. These take the form of additional 1:1 reading with an adult, precision teaching sessions and small group phonics work.
As a school, we have a deep focus on the importance of reading for both enjoyment and purpose; pupils are given ample opportunities to develop competence through a balance of variety and repetition. Adults share a wide range of quality books and texts in classrooms on a daily basis. In addition, all children have access to the well-stocked school library, and each class has a welcoming book area with a selection of engaging texts for children to enjoy in free reading times.