Phonics and Reading
We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.
We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps. After the Autumn term, Year 2 move onto Jane Considine’s The Spelling Approach to continue their phonics and spelling journey. This approach moves the children on to thinking about spelling patterns and making associations with their prior phonics knowledge to become ‘practically perfect’ spellers.
For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression:
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact.
At Hartpury C of E Primary School, we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.
In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars, who worked in partnership with Unlocking Letters and Sounds to ensure complete fidelity to the phonic progression we follow.
Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.
Once a child has developed their reading fluency (usually by the end of KS1) then they move onto Accelerated Reader which assesses their reading and comprehension and offers them books within a selected range best suited to their reading ability. This is regularly monitored and assessed throughout the year to ensure their reading progresses and identify children for target intervention where progress is not being made.
We encourage the children to read at home with an adult every day, as regular reading practice has a noticeable impact on children’s learning across the curriculum. It is also important to discuss what has been read in order to develop your child’s comprehension skills. Children should be encouraged to reflect personally and thoughtfully as they read.
Children are assessed half termly by the class teacher to track their reading progress and ensure they are still reading within a range that is appropriate for them. Each class has its own selection of books as well which are not labelled and this enables children to borrow other books as well which they can share at home alongside their appropriately-matched independent reading book.
Reading is a crucial tool for learning and for life. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learn to read.
In order to develop an enthusiasm reading at Hartpury we have:
- Reading areas in every class with a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books for the children to enjoy exploring in school and allow them to borrow these alongside their reading book to share at home.
- Labelled Accelerated Reader books in the corridor for the children to browse and read matched to their assessed book range (ZPD).
- Online eBook access such Oxford Owl and Epic Books
- Seesaw to keep a record of their reading both at home and in school with the ability to record their actual reading to share with parents and staff too.
- Regular events in school such as World Book Day
- Class teachers reading a class book daily to model and share their love of books and reading as well.