At Kilburn Infant and Nursery School, we believe in a rigorous approach to the teaching of reading. We aim to develop learners' confidence and enjoyment in reading from the start of their educational journey. We will create fluent, competent readers who will show a good understanding of what they are reading and review the text when something does not make sense. Our mission is that children are able to use their skills to fully involve themselves in our curriculum and then into the wider world, taking with them a lifelong love of reading and books.
Reading and Phonics at KINS
What is phonics?
Phonics is an important tool to develop reading fluency. Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Phonics teaches pupils that letters they see written on a page are part of a code which represents the sounds of spoken language, and provides them with the tools to understand that code. With these skills they develop into fluent readers, who are able to quickly recognise familiar words and to easily sound out new words they encounter.
Phonics allows young readers to develop their reading comprehension. With practice, pupils' decoding skills become so automatic that they are able to concentrate on and easily understand the overall meaning of what they are reading.
Phonics also raises children's phonological awareness. This is the ability to understand how words are formed, and to break them down into individual sounds. For example, if a teacher asks "what are the sounds in the word ball" pupils will answer "b" "aw" and "l". This helps them not only with reading but also with spelling and writing.
Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read.
Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. For example, the sound k can be spelled as c, k, ck or ch.
Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters t, p, a and s, they can start to build up the words: “tap”, “taps”, “pat”, “pats” and “sat”.
From September 2022, we will be teaching phonics using Supersonic Phonic Friends. This programme is a fully systematic phonic approach ranging from the simple to the complex spellings of the alphabetic code. The children will be supported every step of the way by the Supersonic Phonic Friend characters to ensure that they develop confidence and apply each skill to their reading and writing. It was created by Phonics' expert, Anna Lucas and beautifully designed by artist, Fiona Cameron.
Why Supersonic Phonic Friends?
- Full of rhyme and wonderful characters to support the children every step of the way
- Active engagement throughout the lessons
- Physical indoor and outdoor learning opportunities
- Commitment, consistent and creative quality first teaching for all of our children across all of the year groups
- Parent workshops, activities and weekly newsletters to support learning at home
What does Phonics look like across the school?
Every classroom and area where Phonics is taught across our school will have a character display and also a working wall display to support the children's learning.
The programme begins with Firm Foundations in Phonics 1 which is aligned to Phase 1 from Letters and Sounds. It contains seven aspects and these will be taught in Nursery. The focus is on developing general sound discrimination and phonological awareness by wrapping the children in rhyme.
In Reception and Year 1, high quality Phonics is taught daily. In the Summer term, Year 1 children complete a statutory Phonics Screening Assessment. Children who do not meet the expected standard at the end of Year 1, continue to access Phonics lessons in Year 2.
If children are identified within our lowest 20% readers or are on the cusp', they will receive pre-teach and post-teach sessions each day to support their Phonic development.
By Year 2, the majority of children will have completed up to the Higher Level Phonics 5C and 5B, and they will be ready to move onto the statutory spelling programme set out in the National Curriculum. This will still be taught using the Supersonic Phonic Friends approach and characters.
During Phonics lessons children have the opportunity to apply taught sounds through structured reading and writing activities.
To find out more, click on the link below to explore their website and see the attached Supersonic Phonic Friends progression document:
Phonics screening check
During Year One your child will have their ‘Phonics Screening Check’. What exactly is this assessment? When will it happen? And most importantly, how can you help prepare your child for it?
What is the Phonics Screening Check and when will your child be assessed?
The Phonics Screening Check is an assessment to check a child’s ability to read words using phonics rules. This is the school’s first formal way of checking your child’s phonics progress and helps the school show the overall progress of children in Year One. It also helps highlight if any extra support needs to be given.
The test is for all children who are in Year One at school and takes place during the summer term, usually in June.
For children who do not pass the screening check in Year One, they will continue to access daily phonics lessons and will do the screening check again in Year Two.
Do all Year One children have to do the Phonics Screening Check?
The Phonics Screening Check is part of the National Curriculum Assessment Programme and is a compulsory assessment for all children in England. Although compulsory, there may be some exceptions for some children. For example, some children with English as an additional language and/or children who have shown no understanding of grapheme phoneme correspondences, may not have to do the assessment. Ask your child’s teacher for guidance on this if unsure.
How can I help?
Read with your child each day
Read a little bit every day. This should include your child’s reading books, their library book and phonics words that are sent home.
Practise reading out and about
Point out words on signs, magazines, TV programmes, shops etc and help them practise decoding these words too.
Read new books
Choosing new books together can be a great way of finding new words that they might not have read before. This provides a good opportunity for children to practise applying the phonics rules to decode the words correctly.
Phonics is fun! Show them how they can have fun with phonics. Try playing online phonics games to practise their phonics skills regularly. Have a look at the useful links below for some good games to play with your child. A lot of these games can be downloaded as apps onto a tablet.
How do we assess phonic knowledge?
This is currently being reviewed by staff following our Supersonic Phonic Friends training and will be updated before the Summer holiday.
Group reading and whole class reading
This is currently under review following our SSPF training and will be updated before the Summer holiday.
How do we promote reading for pleasure?
- A well planned, progressive, rich variety of books to support our curriculum from Nursery through to Year Two including poetry, books from other cultures, wellbeing books etc (see English Overviews)
- Daily reading for enjoyment in every class
- Story sacks in Nursery
- Inviting books areas
- Author of the half term
- A wide range of books are widely accessible in all areas of our classrooms
- Comics and magazines available in every classroom
- Appealing library books
- Weekly BIG read with parents/carers in Key Stage One
- Story telling baskets in all classrooms
- Whole school celebration of events such as World Book day, National Story Telling day, Poetry day etc
Phonics and reading attainment and progress will be measured regularly through a variety of assessments. This information will be closely monitored.
We measure the impact and success of our reading curriculum by the use of assessment data, data analysis, pupil voice, parent voice, hearing children read, book monitoring, pupil engagement, enthusiasm and confidence in phonics and reading lessons, observations of children around school and their engagement and enthusiasm in things such as library sessions, World Book Day etc.