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Maple Court Academy

Phonics


Phonics, Spelling and Grammar
A secure knowledge and understanding of spelling and grammar is a vital part of improving children’s speaking, reading and writing. Phonics is at the core of our reading and writing. EYFS and KS1 have a daily phonics session with KS2 children also focussing on phonics in their spelling lessons and in their reading and writing. All children have spellings to learn at home and they then work on applying these to their work in school. We teach the children various strategies to help them to improve their spelling. Grammar is explicitly taught as well as being a vital part of everyday teaching and learning. Handwriting is taught through the pen pals handwriting scheme and is expected to be of a high standard across the children’s work.

Phonic Knowledge and Skills
There are six overlapping phases. The information below is a summary based on the letters and sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. For more detailed information, visit the letters and sounds website.

Phase One (Nursery/Reception) Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, ll have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five (Throughout Year 1) Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond) Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

Reading Skills:

Reading
We are building a community of readers. We teach the skills needed to read fluently and for meaning through a combination of phonics lessons and activities, guided reading sessions and follow-up tasks, bug club and by hearing pupils read their individual reading book. We ensure that the two dimensions of word reading and comprehension are taught to enable children to reach their full reading potential. In EYFS and KS1 children have reading books which are phonics based. Rigorous assessment systems are a central driver to ensure children make accelerated progress. Every child has access to the library and can choose books to read for pleasure. Every classroom has a reading celebration area.

Why is reading so Important?
Reading is a vital skill for all children to learn. It allows them to access information needed in all areas of the curriculum at the Academy, helping them to achieve in all subjects. Reading is also a lifelong skill which the children will use in their everyday lives, opening up the doorway to learning and exploring the world in which we live. It increases confidence and is enjoyable. Here at Maple Court we believe that helping children to make progress in their reading is most successful when done in partnership between home and the Academy.

How do we teach children to read?
We strongly promote the use of phonics as the primary method for teaching reading. For children to be able to decode new and unfamiliar words and read them accurately they need to be able to segment and blend the phonemes (sounds) in the words. These skills are taught in letters and sounds sessions daily in EYFS and Key Stage 1. Letters and sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills to enable children to become fluent readers by age seven. However, learning to decode continues to be taught throughout the Academy during daily phonics and spelling lessons.

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