Phonics teaching at Raglan Primary
At Raglan Primary School, our ambition is for every child to read and write with fluency and confidence. We achieve this through a systematic synthetic and consistent approach to phonics with regular engaging, enriching lessons. The phonic and early-reading skills that the children learn from the beginning of EYFS will prepare them for the rest of their lives. Through high-quality phonics lessons, children will be equipped with the skills to decode new words and to read books fluently, with pace and expression.
The teaching of phonics starts in the Nursery with phase 1 activities to develop the essential prerequisite listening skills. These skills are built on in Reception and Key Stage 1 with daily phonics lessons through the Raglan constructed synthetic phonics programme that has a clear order to the teaching of sounds and letter groups as well as the introduction of prescribed tricky words. We ensure that there is full fidelity to our programme across the school. From Reception and across Key Stage 1 phonics is taught in a progressive programme of engaging daily lessons. We ensure that lessons are consistent across classes and key stages so that children are exposed to the same vocabulary, structure and approach during phonics teaching. Lessons are carefully planned and sequenced so that children build on their prior knowledge and skills and can apply what they have learnt to the rest of the curriculum.
Our phonics lessons are accessible to all children to ensure that children make progress and any children who are falling behind are identified quickly and relevant interventions are put into place. During phonics lessons, children are exposed to a wide range of vocabulary. This enables them to develop their understanding and build connections about the world around them.
At Raglan Primary School, phonics is taught with pace and passion. Children learn to read using phonics following the Raglan phonics scheme. This enables them to build fluency when reading aloud. Children are also exposed to a wide range of engaging, enriching reading material, to develop their vocabulary, widen their experiences and excite and inspire our children to become life-long readers.
Phonics lessons are taught every day in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. In each session follows a four-part structure and teaching sequence where the children revisit previous learning, are taught new skills, practise them and then apply what they have learned through reading and writing.
Phonics lessons are accessible to all children and teachers provide support, scaffolding and challenge as required to enable all children to achieve. Some children will also receive additional targeted phonics support to secure their learning. All adults model correct pronunciation to support blending and segmenting.
In our Nursery provision, phase 1 activities develop listening skills and the ability to discriminate between sounds including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting. These activities also form part of focus activities and the continuous provision.
At the start of Reception, children continue to build upon listening activities as they begin phase 2 of Raglan’s phonics scheme and are introduced to grapheme-phoneme correspondences including combinations of two (and later three) letters that make one sound. To embed this knowledge they are taught letter shapes for individual letters and phonics actions for all the phonemes (sounds). Children in the language provision use alternative cued articulation actions to build on and consolidate their Speech and Language Therapy.
Children are taught how to decode and blend to enable them to read new words. They are taught how to form letters correctly and learn to spell through the process of segmenting whole words and by selecting letters to represent those phonemes. Pupils are also taught a range of ‘tricky words’ which cannot be decoded using phonics.
Throughout Year 1 and Year 2, we continue to teach through the Raglan phonics scheme working systematically through the different phases. Children will be introduced to alternate spellings of phonemes they have learnt previously and embed their knowledge of decoding and spelling two and three syllable words. The spelling of tricky words is taught continuously throughout the phases. They will also learn spelling rules for adding a range of suffixes. Some children will receive additional phonics teaching following on-going assessments.
At the early stages of reading development, the children initially use books without text and progress to fully decodable books that are closely matched to the children’s developing phonics knowledge. All children in Reception and Key Stage 1 read as part of an adult-led group at least once a week. During these sessions, the children develop the skills of decoding, prosody (expression) and comprehension. The books are closely matched to the children’s phonic knowledge.
Throughout phonics lessons, children are informally assessed through their verbal and written responses with misconceptions being addressed as they happen. Children identified as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and targeted through planning and interventions as well as quality first teaching in English and Guided Reading sessions.
At the end of each phase, children are informally assessed through activities, group or individual activities in the phonics lesson. If there is a need for more detailed assessment of any children, there are phase assessments which will highlight specific gaps for teachers to address accordingly.
At the end of each half term from Reception through until the end of Year 2 (or when they apply phase 6 for the Language Provision), teachers complete half termly tracking to show the level of phonics the children are independently applying in their reading and writing outside of the phonics lesson.
Our children will make rapid progress from their start point in reading and writing. They will leave EYFS equipped with some of the fundamental skills of learning to read and write and will build on this knowledge throughout Year 1 and Year 2. By the end of Year 1, they should have a secure understanding of the phonic sounds to enable them to achieve highly in their Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. They will be able to decode new words and to read fluently, with pace and expression.
Ultimately, as children become more secure in their phonic knowledge, reading evolves from learning to read, to reading to learn.
Reading at Raglan
At Raglan Primary School, our ambition is that every child becomes a fluent, confident and enthusiastic reader. We provide many opportunities to read a range of texts that develop word reading and comprehension skills, as well as promoting reading for pleasure.
We believe that reading is a key skill for life and that every child should leave Raglan with secure word reading and comprehension skills so they are ready to succeed at secondary school and beyond.
We believe it is important that reading is inclusive and we ensure that all children develop a love of reading by providing many opportunities for the children to listen to stories, read independently and choose the books they would like to read. The texts they explore in lessons are carefully chosen to ensure they are age-appropriate and engaging, building upon our children’s interests.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, the children learn to read using phonics following the Raglan phonics scheme. Phonics lessons are taught every day. The children have weekly adult-led group reading sessions, in which the children read reading books that match their developing phonic knowledge and practise the skills they have learnt in phonics to secure their fluency. As the children become fluent readers, these guided reading sessions are an opportunity to develop their prosody (expression) and comprehension skills. Through group discussion and questioning, the children are taught how to find information from the text and the key reading comprehension skills; VIPERS: Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Sequence.
In Key Stage 2, after the children have completed the Raglan phonics scheme and become fluent readers, they are taught the key reading comprehension skills as part of our planned reading curriculum. The children have daily whole-class reading lessons, in which the children read and explore a range of high quality, age-appropriate texts. Whole-class reading lessons teach the children how to decipher the text and focus on the VIPERS: Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise. The children have the opportunity to listen to or read the class text and explore a range of questions and activities that develop the key reading skills. At the end of Year 2, the children begin whole-class reading lessons to prepare for the transition to Key Stage 2.
The children in Key Stage 2 also have adult-led group reading sessions with reading books that increase in complexity and match their reading ability. During these sessions, the children develop their word reading, prosody and comprehension skills.
Reading is inclusive and reading lessons are planned so that all children are able to access age-appropriate texts. Teachers target support where necessary, which may involve a greater level of scaffolding or modelling, access to additional support materials or a greater level of challenge.
Some children will also receive targeted phonics support and additional opportunities to read individually with an adult to secure their word reading and comprehension skills.
The texts that the children read and explore in English lessons, whole-class reading lessons and story times have been carefully selected to ensure that all children enjoy a range of text types to successfully navigate reading with confidence. We ensure that the texts increase in complexity as the children move through the school, that they are age-appropriate and ensure a progression in the children’s vocabulary acquisition. The texts have been chosen to engage all children by extending their interests. The texts enhance the wider curriculum, supporting the discussion of feelings and familiar situations, different cultures and current issues and develop the children’s cultural capital by introducing previously unexplored vocabulary, characters, worlds and themes.
The children read a range of reading books that develop their word reading and comprehension skills. The children have the opportunity to read these texts in guided reading sessions and at home. The children choose the reading books which they would like to read at home from a selection that matches their reading ability and we ask that all children read at home most days, but at least three times a week.
In Nursery and at the start of Reception, the children read wordless books that support the children to develop important skills such as holding the book correctly and describing characters, events and settings.
In Reception, once the children have been introduced to letters and the sounds in phonics and in Key Stage 1, the children read a wide-range of phonetically decodable fiction and non-fiction books. These books match the children’s developing phonic knowledge and support the children with sounding out and blending words.
In Key Stage 2 there are extended levels which continue to support reading progression, offering books that match the children’s reading ability and provide challenge as well as adding variety and breadth to the children’s reading.
Reading for Pleasure
Raglan promotes a love of reading within all of our pupils and their families. We believe that reading for pleasure starts with a child’s ability to read fluently so our strong phonics programme is the basis for our aim for our children to enjoy books.
To develop a love for reading we provide many opportunities where pupils can listen to stories or read independently. Every class has their own class library and from Year 1, the children have the opportunity to visit the school library so that all children have access to an exciting range of ‘real’ books to read for pleasure. Every child has the opportunity to discuss, browse and choose books they would love to read from either their class library or the school library. We ask our families to read and enjoy these books together, supporting the children to develop a love of reading by ensuring they see adults reading and enjoying books too.
We also host regular Reading Breakfasts where we invite families into school to share their enjoyment of reading.
Our class texts are carefully chosen stories, poems and non-fiction texts which have been specifically chosen to engage and extend the interests of our children. All of the books shared with the children are age-appropriate and continually updated as new resources are available or recommended. We have an overview of key texts covered across the school but recognise that teachers and pupils in different year groups will have personal preferences, which can be just as inspiring to share.
By the time the children leave Raglan, they will be fluent, confident and enthusiastic readers.
Our children are resilient readers with good reading stamina and they have a genuine love of reading. They leave our school with secure word reading and comprehension skills that enable them to read for knowledge, enjoyment and in a variety of contexts, ensuring that they succeed at secondary school and beyond.
The overwhelming majority of our children leave Raglan as excellent readers, showing at least the expected standard in all reading skills, including fluency and comprehension. The number of children achieving the ‘greater depth’ standard in reading is consistently above the national average. Reading has a very high status within our curriculum and this has had a positive impact on progress across all key stages.
Further details of our systematic approach to teaching reading can be seen in the following documents:
- Phonics Curriculum Content and Progression
- Raglan Primary School Text Overview 2023-2024
- Reception Phonics and Early Reading Parent Workshop 2023
Useful Free Phonics and Reading Websites
Please check with the class teacher which phonics phase your child is learning so you can select the correct one on the website.
- teachyourmonster.org children are given logins from the end of the Autumn Term in Reception so learning is personalised.
- Episodes of ‘Alphablocks’ on BBC iPlayer or YouTubeKids.com
- ‘Mr Thorne’s phonics with Geraldine the Giraffe’ on YouTubeKids.com teaches different phonemes