As a school of opportunity, our aim is for all children to reach their full potentional and become responsible, confident members of society. We recognise that the ability to read is key in achieving this and as a school of reading, we are dedicated to ensuring all children at Our Lady of Victories become life long, confident readers. As a school we believe that this is achievable through a combination of strong, high-quality, discrete synthetic phonics teaching combined with regular, daily opportunities for developing reading skills. The teaching of phonics is a key strategy that is used to help our children to read and spell.
We have chosen to use the validated SSP programme Supersonic Phonic Friends developed by Anna Lucus to deliver the high quality phonics sessions for all children across Early Years and KS1, as it provides exciting, engaging lessons for all children. By using this approach we will ensure that children develop confidence and apply each skill to their own reading and writing.
As the children begin their Supersonic Phonic Friends journey they will meet different characters that have special skills to support them with their phonics progress and with the application of phonics into both reading and writing.
How we teach Phonics at Our Lady of Victories
Supersonic Phonic Friends is a systematic synthetic phonics programme. Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent. Children can then start to read words by blending (synthesising) the sound together to make a word. Children are taught to apply the skill of segmenting (breaking up) words into phonemes to spell and that blending and segmenting is a reversible process. We do this through a 20 minute teaching session per day in Reception and a 30 minute teaching session per day in Years One and Two alongside integrating phonics in cross curricular activities and provision throughout the day. We work through six phases from Nursery to Year Two. Phonics instruction continues in Year Three and beyond for children who have been identified as needing additional phonics teaching.
Firm Foundations in Phonics 1 - This begins in the very early years (Nursery) and never stops! This phase focuses on developing children’s listening, vocabulary and speaking skills. It is divided into 7 aspects: environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body percussion (e.g. clapping and stamping), rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending [https://www.theschoolrun.com/what-is-blending] and segmenting (e.g. hearing that d-o-g makes ‘dog’). These activities are primarily done through provision and daily interactions with children.
The Basics 2 – This phase begins in Reception. This phase teaches children at least one spelling for 18 of the 44 sounds of the English language. Children will use their auditory processing and memory skills from Firm Foundations in Phonics 1 to start to recognise the spellings for the sound and begin to segment and build new words (writing). They will also begin to blend these sounds together for reading. At the end of The Basics 2, children will be able to hear up to 3 sounds in words, recognise spellings and read and write simple CVC words (e.g. cat, tap) with the 18 spellings for sounds. Children will begin to learn high frequency words and tricky words for reading.
The Basics 3 - This phase continues in Reception. The Basics 3 teaches children the spellings for the further 26 of the 44 sounds of the English language including digraphs (two letters that make one sound e.g sh) and trigraphs (three letters that make one sound e.g air). Children will use their auditory processing and memory skills from Firm Foundations in Phonics 1 and their Basics 2 skills to continue to recognise the spellings for the sound and will begin to write and read more complex words including two syllable words. As part of this phase children will continue to learn a selection of high frequency words and tricky words for both reading and writing. The children also begin to learn the letter names. Children should have learnt all 44 phonemes and graphemes by the end of Reception class.
The Basics 4 - This phase is covered in Year One. The Basics 4 teaches children to be able to hear more than 3 sounds in a word. They will continue to embed their mastery of The Basics 1 and 2 spellings for sounds in words and progress to 4, 5 and 6 sounds in a word. Children will learn more complex high frequency words and tricky words for both reading and writing.
The Higher Levels of Phonics 5 - This phase begins in Year 1. This phase teaches children the concept that there is more than one spelling for a sound that they can hear in a word. They will find out all about ‘sounds the same but looks different’ e.g. oi and oy and learn when to choose to use the spelling rules for up to 85 spellings for the 44 sounds of the English Language. They will also learn about ‘looks the same, sounds different’ and ‘switch it’ spelling sounds where one spelling can make up to 2 different sounds in words. Throughout the phase children will continue learning high frequency words and tricky words for both reading and writing.
The overall aim is for children to be ready for the higher level of phonics 6 by the time they leave Year One. This phase is revisited in Year 2.
The Higher Level of Phonics 6 - This phase takes place in Year Two after previous phases are revisited and consolidated. Children apply their phonic knowledge to recognise and spell complex words. This phase has a clear focus on spelling, including tenses, prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters. The children will be able to independently and automatically read and spell an increasing number of high frequency words and tricky words.
Children have the opportunity to practice their reading with books that are carefully aligned to the phonics phase they are learning. Our assessment documents link with the phases and clearly show which decodable books the children should be reading.
By using Supersonic Phonic Friends to deliver high quality, systematic phonics, our aim is for all children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school and begin reading to learn, rather than learning to read. Regular monitoring of phonics and early reading takes place. This is carried out by the Phonics Leads and takes the form of assessments, observations and discussions with staff and children.
At Our Lady of Victories we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our phonics and reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments and can be seen in success across the curriculum as children progress through school.
Phonics in action
The Phonics Screening Check- The Phonics Screening Check is an assessment at the end of Year 1 to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonetic decoding to an appropriate standard. It enables schools to identify children who need additional help, so ensure they are given support to improve their reading skills. Children who do not 'pass' the check in Year 1 are able to retake it in Year 2. It is a Statutory Requirement to carry out the screening check. The check is a short, simple screening check that consists of a list of 40 words and pseudo words (non-words), which the child reads one-to-one with their class teacher. The Phonics Screening Check takes place in June.
Examples of the terms used during phonics teaching
Meet our Supersonic Phonic Friends