Teaching of Phonics and Reading in the Early Years and Key Stage 1

The Teaching of Phonics

Children are taught to read in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 using a resource called ‘Letters and Sounds’.  Phonics sessions take place daily in the Foundation Stage and in Key Stage 1 with a new sound introduced each day.  As children learn these sounds, they develop the skills to blend the sounds together to read words and to segment the sounds to spell or write words.

At St Elizabeth’s we use the ‘Jolly Phonics’ programme to supplement our teaching.  The children learn actions and songs that correspond with a sound.  The children learn single sounds in a particular order first. The first sounds taught are s, a, t, p because these sounds can be arranged to make simple words such as sat, tap, pat etc.… The children are given words in word boxes to take home and are encouraged to read these using the skill of blending.

Once single letter sounds have been learned the children are introduced to sounds that are made up of two letters such as sh, th, oa, ee etc.…

The children are taught the main 42 sounds of English in Reception, as well as alphabet letter names. In Year 1 and Year 2 children are taught alternative spellings to previously learned sounds.

This structured approach is suited to the Foundation Stage and to Key Stage 1 and can be tailored to the needs of individual children.

The Teaching of Reading

Initially, children are encouraged to behave like a reader – holding the book correctly, turning the pages and telling the story in their own words.

When a child can recognise a number of sounds and is beginning to blend these sounds to read words, they are given a reading book.  Initially they will require help to blend the sounds in a word together, but most pick up the skill quite quickly.

Some words cannot be segmented using phonics, so we also teach children to learn a number of words by sight.

We teach reading though using phonetically plausible (containing words that can be sounded out using phonics) reading books, and we supplement these with other books such as Oxford Reading Tree books.

We also teach reading through weekly guided reading sessions. The children read together in small groups with an adult.  They discuss the text in detail, sharing ideas and answering retrieval and inference questions based on what they have read.

Hearing children read independently at school occurs at least once a week in all Key Stage 1 classes.  We actively encourage parents and carers to read with and to their children every day.

As the children progress through Year 1 and Year 2 a wide range of story books and longer books with chapters is introduced, as appropriate. Children who are new to English have access to a wide selection of picture books, with and without text, to support their acquisition of relevant vocabulary.  We also encourage children with English as an additional language to read and enjoy books and stories in their home language, as well as in English.