At Bowness Primary School Pearson Bug Club is used to teach synthetic phonics as this is closely aligned to Letters and Sounds (DfE approved).
A graduated approach is used and children begin phonics as soon as they enter Reception class. Phonics is taught daily through a systematic approach. Children are taught within their class and any additional support required is delivered in small groups.
The Explicit Teaching of Phonics
In Reception class, children begin by developing an awareness of sounds through stories, rhymes and games. They quickly move on to learn the links between individual letters and their sounds. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words. We start by teaching children to read and blend the first nineteen most common single letter sounds. Once they have conquered this skill, they start reading stories and texts that have words made up of the sounds they know. This means that they can embed and apply their phonic knowledge and start to build their reading fluency. Once secure, children learn a further 25 sounds, mainly made up of two letters, and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment.
Within Early Years and KS1 classes, phonics is taught discreetly in a daily session that lasts approximately 30 minutes. We make sure that pupils read books from the Phonics Bug scheme that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ability to read ‘tricky words’; so they experience early reading success and gain confidence that they are readers.
The use of a synthetic phonics programme gives children a flying start with their reading, writing, and spelling. It is an effective tool to ensure children ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch-up.’ The development of children’s phonic knowledge is embedded to also support a child’s writing skills. With regular assessments, we ensure we meet the needs of all pupils. The progress of each child is closely monitored and tracked and parents/carers are regularly updated in regards to their child’s learning.
Reading at Home
At Bowness Primary School, reading at home is a way to consolidate what has been taught in school. It is not about teaching your child how to read. They are given texts that are 90% decodable that apply the sounds they have already be taught. In Reception and Year 1 each child is allocated three different books:
1. A fully decodable text that applies their sound of the week (with a sticker that says 'I can read this to you')
2. A decodable text to share with an adult. This is a text that is to be adult-led (this book will have a sticker 'Share this book with me')
3. A reading for pleasure book. This will be a book that your child has chosen from the library, it will not be phonetically based, but is there to encourage a love of reading and to widen their breadth of reading.