At Even Swindon Primary School, we are phonologists.
We believe that a well-rounded reading curriculum will provide children with a key life skill that underpins access to the rest of the curriculum. We have therefore chosen to follow the DfE validated, systematic, synthetic phonics programme Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) This programme provides a consistent approach to teaching phonics across the school.
We have carefully chosen our Phonics curriculum so that children are able to read words and simple sentences by the end of Reception, become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1 and develop a lifelong love of reading as they move through school. The systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, using the Essential Letters and Sounds Phonics programme, is given a high priority throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1.
We strive to inspire and encourage pupils to read with confidence, fluency and enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.
- All children across Reception and KS1 take part in whole class, daily lessons and will get the same high-quality first teaching every lesson, every day. Through the daily teaching of Phonics following the Essential Letters and Sounds phonics programme, the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading.
- Each lesson is broken down into these following elements:
– Review – overlearn the previous graphemes and words
– Teach – introduce a new grapheme/words
– Practise – develop GPCs (grapheme phoneme correspondences)/read new words
– Apply – use new graphemes/words in games and activities to secure knowledge
– Review – monitor progress within each phase to inform planning
- At Even Swindon, we use the ELS scheme to teach Phonics using a simple but consistent approach. Our children experience the same classroom routines, resources and terminology used within each lesson to ensure all learners are able to access the phonics learning and children know what to expect in each phonics lesson. The scheme outlines a term by term progression that enables children to reach the highest standards of which they are capable.
- As well as using assessment for learning daily through the review element of the lesson, the children are assessed termly using the ELS online assessment tool. These regular assessments identify gaps in learning and allow teachers to put into place appropriate interventions.
- ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective. These include oral blending, GPC recognition and blending for reading.
- Pupils have regular reading sessions with an adult to ensure they are regularly practising and applying their phonics knowledge. This includes extra one-to-one reading for those children who are most vulnerable to enable them to catch up to meet age related expectations. In the EYFS the continuous provision matches children’s current knowledge and understanding whilst ensuring the children are suitably challenged.
- In Reception and KS1, the children will have guided and independent phonically decodable reading books, that match closely to their phonics knowledge. Children are given physical and digital copies of these books that they read multiple times, at home, over the week. It is important that children read texts several times so they have the greatest opportunity to read with fluency.
- In our Nursery, the teachers teach phonics using the three to four word reading statements in the development matters. It is planned and taught to the whole class using the four-part lesson elements in line as the rest of the school.
- We provide phonics and reading workshops as well as video sessions for parents so they can support their children in phonics and use the correct terminology with their children at home. All staff are fully trained on the ELS scheme before teaching it, to ensure consistency and staff adhere to the ELS system, using the same terminology. Throughout the year, staff meetings provide opportunities for continued professional development as well as bespoke training with regards to the teaching of ELS.
We believe high quality learning in phonics has been achieved when pupils are able to read by identifying the phonemes and graphemes within words and using these to read words. Children will experience the joy of books and language, whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers.
This will be evident through children applying their knowledge of phonics to tackle unfamiliar words that they might discover. Children will become confident, fluent readers through the daily teaching of phonics which impacts all areas of our curriculum.
The impact of our phonics curriculum will be overseen by the subject leaders through learning walks, team-teaching, pupil and staff voice and termly data analysis.