Early Reading and Phonics

Early Reading and Phonics at Wynyard

At Wynyard Church of England Primary School, we endeavour to ensure all children become successful, fluent readers and writers by the end of Key Stage One. We believe children can achieve this through a combination of strong, high quality, discrete phonics lessons combined with daily opportunities for remembering fundamental reading and writing skills.

In school, we teach children to read using the Read Write Inc. phonics programme. This phonics scheme has been designed and scaffolded to support the early reading journey from Early Years to Key Stage 1 for children to have a rooted knowledge of all phonic sounds and continues through to Key Stage 2, where needed. Children are provided with high quality teaching and reading books that help them decode successfully and confidently in order to become fluent readers.

As children progress through the Read Write Inc. programme they will learn three sets of phonic sounds, beginning with alphabet sounds. They will also learn to blend and segment using ‘Fred talk’ for blending and ‘Fred fingers for spelling’.

All trained adults will support children to use their phonic knowledge in everyday life, to enrich their reading for both pleasure and information. To ensure children have the opportunity to practise and apply the phonics they have been taught at school, ‘red’ words are sent home alongside accurately matched phonetically decodable books as well as the Read Write Inc eBook Library. Red words are words often words which children are unable to decode using their phonic skills, e.g. ‘the’, and words which appear frequently in books, e.g. ‘and’.

Children are assessed regularly to ensure they are progressing through the programme at the expected pace. For children who risk falling behind, teachers redeliver the sound/s in smaller groups.

Children at Wynyard Primary are continually supported in order for them to crack the phonics code with confidence and accuracy, offering children a solid base for reading and writing for Key Stage 2 and beyond.

The Phonics Screening Check

The Phonics Screening Check usually takes place at the beginning of June when children are in Year 1. This check consists of 40 words that children have to blend and read. If your child is unsuccessful at passing the phonics screening check in Year 1, they have another opportunity to take the test in Year 2.

What is the phonics screening check?

This is a quick check of how the children have responded to phonics as a strategy for developing their ability to read. It is a statutory requirement, and it involves your child decoding words using only their phonic knowledge. It helps us to confirm whether they have met the expected standard for a child at the end of Year 1.

How does the check work?

  • Your chid is asked to read 40 words aloud to a teacher who is known to them.
  • Your child may have read some of the words before, while others would have been completely new.
  • The check should only take a few minutes to complete; however, there is no time limit.

Meeting the expected standard

The check is scored out of 40 and the pass mark in the past has been out of 32. This can vary year on year.

All children, regardless of their mark, will continue to access phonics learning until the end of Year 2 at least. If your child did not achieve 32 marks or more, they will be given additional support in phonics to help them to improve. The nature of this support will vary depending on how close to the threshold they are.

How can I support my child with phonics?

Early reading can be challenging and children make the best use of their understanding of phonics when they are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading a wide variety of books and other forms of writing. Parents play a very important part in helping with this.

Strategies for supporting your child in reading through phonics:

  • When reading, encourage your child to use ‘Fred talk’ (sound out) unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right, rather than looking at the pictures to guess the word. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word, you can talk about what it means and help him/her to follow the story.
  • Try to make time to read something with your child every day and encourage other family members and friends to do the same. Support your child to blend the sounds together all the way through a word.
  • Keep reading all the time, wherever you are, including the school holidays when children don’t have a home reading book from school. Look for as many opportunities as possible to encourage your child to use the skills they are learning – menus, leaflets, bus timetables and on-screen text can stimulate children to want to practise their phonic knowledge.
  • Word games like ‘I-spy’ can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters as can talking about all the words which surround you, from road signs to shopping lists. If children become aware of the uses of reading, they become much more interested in practising what they know.

To find out how to support your child at home with their phonics at the appropriate phonics stage, please click below on the level your child is working. As always, if you have any questions, please speak to your child’s class teacher.