At Flora Gardens we use Read Write Inc which is supplemented by Espresso, enabling us to best meet the needs of our children.
Flora Gardens uses Read Write Inc as our chosen validated Phonics scheme which is supplemented by the use of Espresso sound videos. We provide fidelity to our scheme by using consistent teaching strategies across the whole school. We encourage children to apply their phonic knowledge and skills when decoding unfamiliar words. This is supported through the use of ‘phoneme fingers’ which are consistently used from Reception to Year 2 in whole class sessions, as well as into KS2 for phonics interventions. Children use their fingers to identify and count the amount of phonemes, then snap their fingers together to blend the word.
At Flora Gardens, we teach phonemes in a systematic and synthetic way which can be seen in our phonics trajectory. Grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught daily in a clearly defined, incremental sequence. Teaching of phonics begins from day one in Nursery with phase 1, and continues into Reception and Key Stage 1 where phonics then evolves into spelling patterns and fluency. Phonics continues into Key Stage 2 for those who are not yet fluent readers and need extra support and interventions.
We begin by teaching singular phonemes such as S, A, T, P, I, N; before moving on to digraphs and trigraphs when children have a solid phonics knowledge and skill set. We provide a structured route, as set out in our trajectory which prepares children to pass the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, as well as decoding words by the end of Key Stage 1. The Year 2 Phonics Screening Test which was administered in December 2021 had an 82% pass rate. The four children who did not pass were two new joiners with EAL, and two SEN students who have made progress but at smaller increments.
During phonics lessons, children are taught to read printed words by identifying and blending individual phonemes from left to right. They are also taught the skill of segmenting spoken words into their constituent phonemes for spelling. This is supported through the use of ‘phoneme fingers’, allowing children to confidently read and spell words. Throughout the lessons, children are provided with opportunities to read and write a range of words where they are required to practice and apply the known phoneme-grapheme correspondences, this includes writing sounds, words and sentences. As well as being able to read and write words which can be decoded aloud, children are also taught to read and write ‘tricky words’. This is done through the use of flashcards and songs and they are introduced gradually throughout our trajectory.
Starting in Nursery, our pupils are taught the correct formation of letters through the use of Read Write Inc formation rhymes such as ‘around the apple, down the leaf’, and ‘Maisy mountain mountain’. Children are also taught the corresponding capital letter, and are encouraged to use these in sentence writing, from Reception. Joined hand writing begins in Year 2 when children are confident writers and have a proven correct pencil grip.
From the beginning of Reception, children are taught the clear routine and structure for their phonics lessons and therefore know exactly what to expect i.e. ‘revisit, teach, practice, apply’. This consistency prevents lost learning time spent explaining new activities and sessions remain interesting and engaging for the children with a clear purpose of learning phonics. It is because our children are so familiar with their phonics routine that the lessons were easily adaptable for online teaching during recent lockdowns. Children were still taught phonemes as per our trajectory and were comfortable continuing with the same lesson structure, i.e. revisit, teach, practice and apply, enabling them to still make progress whilst at home. This was taught through online live lessons in EYFS and KS1, as well as interventions across KS2.
When designing our Phonics and Reading curriculum, we chose Read Write Inc due to the multisensory approach it provides. Auditory, visual and kinaesthetic reading activities allow whole brain learning, consequently developing stronger literacy skills. Our children at Flora Gardens benefit from a multisensory approach due to 70% of our children speaking English as an additional language, and 24% of pupils having a special educational need. We also decided to supplement the scheme with Espresso sound videos which are used daily in our lessons and allow children to hear the correct enunciation of each phoneme, as well as the correct mouth, tongue and teeth placements. This is particularly useful for our EAL and SEN students and complements our teaching well.
We also chose to use Read Write Inc because of the reading texts which accompany the scheme. The books are full decodable for the children to read throughout every stage of our phonics programme. Children start reading ‘Sound Blending’ books when they have learnt the first six phonemes. These books allow children to practice their segmenting and blending skills both at home, during interventions and throughout free flow. Books then progress through the phases up to phase 5 when children are becoming more fluent readers. As all Read Write Inc books are fully decodable, children are able to use strategies they have been taught in lessons such as blending and segmenting, with support from phoneme fingers. Children are only moved on to higher levelled books when they have required the correct grapheme-phoneme correspondence needed to be able to decode each book.
Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 are assessed every half term, as well as formatively during each lesson. This allows us to identify those children who are at risk of falling behind, and not quite keeping up with the phoneme correspondence as set out in our trajectory. Once these children are identified, teachers and additional adults are able to implement further support during lessons, as well as additional interventions to help close the gaps.
In Key Stage 2, the lowest 20% of readers are also assessed half termly. These are tracked using our whole school grid and inputted in their current phase. Children are then matched up with other children who are working at similar abilities and placed into streamed interventions. These interventions are run by additional adults who know the children’s ability well; two or three times a week. These interventions follow the revisit, teach, practice, and apply approach. Evidence from recent assessments of these children show that children progressed to the next phase, and sometimes two phases in just one half-term. This shows the impact of the quality of phonics teaching the children are receiving from our additional adults.
Additional adults, as well as teachers, receive CPD training from the Phonics Lead at least once a term. These high quality sessions ensure that staff have the correct knowledge to support the effective delivery of our bespoke, blended scheme. This includes using the correct terminology, the revisit, teach, practice, apply structure, the supporting techniques such as phoneme fingers, and the appropriate use of resources such as Espresso sound videos and Read Write Inc flashcards, formation rhymes and reading books. Read Write Inc training videos are also available on the SharePoint for adults to revisit when needed.
Quality assurance monitoring by the Phonics Lead ensures class teachers are delivering outstanding phonics lessons and additional adults are delivering outstanding interventions. We have also encouraged and facilitated a coaching CPD model within Phonics, encouraging Additional Adults and Class teachers to work together to share good practice and model Phonics lessons to colleagues.
Flora Gardens uses Read Write Inc which is supplemented by Espresso, enabling us to best meet the needs of our children.
At Flora Gardens Primary School, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. In order for this to happen, children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending.
Starting in the Foundation Stage, we place a high priority on the systematic teaching of phonics which continues into Key Stage 1 and beyond. We use Read Write Inc validated Phonics scheme which is supplemented by the use of Espresso sound videos, enabling us to best meet the needs of our children. This ensures our children are taught to read and write effectively and quickly, whilst also developing the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.
Through the teaching of phonics, children are taught the essential skills needed for reading and writing. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Phase 1 phonics begins in Nursery and as children move into Reception they continue to build on their listening skills and are introduced to Phase 2. Phonics is taught discretely, following the ‘Revisit, Teach, Practise, Apply’ format which we have found to be highly effective. Children revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, practise together and apply what they have learnt, giving teachers opportunities to assess the learning. These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps or misconceptions. Extra support is provided for children across all years who are working below the expected level, as well as planned interventions to the children in Year 2 who did not pass the phonics screening in Year 1. As well as whole class phonics lessons, pupils also have regular reading sessions with an adult to ensure they are practicing and applying their phonics skills. Children take home books weekly including phonics books matched to their ability and sound knowledge, as well as books for pleasure.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is that our children will become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing comprehension skills and fluency as their journey through Flora Gardens continues. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
By the end of Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) :
Word Reading ELG: Children at the expected level of development will:
- Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs;
- Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending;
- Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words.
Writing ELG: Children at the expected level of development will:
- Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed;
- Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters;
- Write simple phrases and sentences that can be ready by others.
By the end of Years 1 children should be able to:
- apply phonic knowledge and skill as the prime approach to reading unfamiliar words that are not completely decodable;
- read many frequently-encountered words automatically
- read phonically decodable three-syllable words
- read a range of age-appropriate texts fluently
- demonstrate understanding of age-appropriate texts
- read decodable words that end –s, –es, -ing, -ed, -er, -est
- say the correct sound to grapheme for all the 40+ phonemes up to Stage 5
By the end of Year 2 children should be able to:
- read accurately most words of two or more syllables.
- read most words containing common suffixes.
Phonics screening check
Schools are required to assess children’s phonic skills at the end of Year 1.
- The phonics screening check is a statutory assessment that was introduced in 2012 for all children in Year 1.
- It will take place in early June.
- It comprises of a list of 40 words (20 real and 20 nonsense).
- Expectation from the Government is that pupils should achieve at least 32 out of 40 to reach the expected level. The pass mark varies year on year.
- The check will take up to fifteen minutes per pupil and will be conducted by the class teacher.
- Children who do not achieve the expected level at the end of Year 1 will retake the screening in Year 2.
How Parents Can Help
Read to and with your child as often as possible. Talk about words, letters, and sounds in the house and when you are out and about. Make letters in fun ways such as in clay, play dough, or sand and talk about the sound each letter makes and the sounds they make when they are combined. Make an appointment with your child’s teacher to discuss other ways to help your child learn phonics.
Phonics forms the language we speak, read and write. Language is made up of words. Words are made up of sounds (phonemes). When we write, we use written symbols (graphemes) to represent the sounds. These graphemes may be single letters or combinations of letters such as sh, oy and igh. The 26 letters of the alphabet create 44 phonemes and 144 letter combinations. Follow the video to hear the phonemes children use when they are reading.
Further Support And Useful Weblinks
Below are links to some online resources that you may find useful at home.