Oversight: Mrs Hunt
Subject leaders: Mrs Whiteside and Mrs Perkins
At Northlands, we understand the crucial importance that phonics plays in the development of pupils' learning. We believe in a consistent approach to make sure that pupils (and through our workshops, our parents) are given the skills they need to become fluent readers before they reach Key Stage 2. We seek to ensure that no pupils fall behind, and that all children who do not pass their Phonics Screening Tests have regular interventions, which are intended to help them catch up their learning and enable them to get back on track.
At Northlands we use Read, Write Inc to deliver our phonics lessons. We chose this scheme because of its reputation for achieving results, as well as for its interactivity and fun. Through regular monitoring, we ensure that Phonics is taught consistently and stays true to the Read, Write Inc scheme. We have 5 phonics groups from Year R to Year 2, which allow for pupils to access the learning they need with the correct amount of stretch and support. The groups are fluid, enabling pupils to move when needed, and not just at assessment points. We are also well aware that a precursor to success in phonics is a good grasp of the English language.
In addition, since Northlands has a higher than average proportion of children who speak English as an additional language, we have introduced Flash Academy to support learners in gaining greater proficiency with reading, writing, speaking and listening in English, whatever their starting point.
As a result of our consistent whole school approach to the teaching of phonics, if you were to walk into one of our phonics lessons, you would see that all pupils are familiar with the structures and routines (e.g. My Turn, Your Turn). Pupils are confident with the subject materials and understand what they are learning. Progress in Year R is excellent and the majority of pupils in Year 1 and 2 make at least good or better progress. Our latest Ofsted notes that, 'Reading is at the heart of the curriculum. From the very start of Reception, staff teach phonics well. This continues throughout Years 1 and 2. This is a result of effective whole school training.' Ofsted November 2019.
We all know how confusing it can be for parents when helping your child to learn at home:
'Am I teaching the right method? Is it different to what is taught at school?'
This is why we have held a range of support workshops, including a reading workshop designed to support parents with early reading, and particularly the-sometimes-confusing world of phonics. Our workshops were well attended and feedback from parents was great! We also have a detailed tutorial video on our website to support parents, carers and indeed school reading volunteers in understanding our approach to RWI phonics. The video demonstrates how to use your child's home reading materials most effectively to support their learning.
Supporting Early Reading at Home
In this video, Mrs Smith demonstrates how to share books with children in Reception, Key Stage One or who maybe in the early stages of learning to read. It is a really useful guide on how to share books with your child, support them with challenges and feedback about their home reading to their class teacher. Please click the following link to access our Early Reading Video.