Primary National Curriculum 2014: Phonics

‘The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  •   word reading
  •  comprehension (both listening and reading).

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing children's competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.  Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.’

‘The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)

It is essential that teaching develops children's competence in these 2 dimensions. In addition, children should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition.

Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.’

Phonics at Hollington

At Hollington Primary Academy, we believe all children should have the chance to become confident, fluent readers and writers who can enjoy a range of books and texts and communicate effectively in their writing. We know that children need to use their phonological awareness as their primary approach to early reading and spelling and so we place a high importance on them acquiring phonics knowledge, as soon as children start school.

In order to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to begin reading, the Academy uses a systematic synthetic phonics approach throughout Nursery, Reception and Year 1.  Although based on Letters and Sounds, we have adapted our phonics to meet the expectations of the National Curriculum, ensuring that pupils have the necessary speaking and listening skills first before learning the letters or combination of letters used to record sounds. Throughout Reception and Key Stage 1, pupils use phonics based reading books to apply the knowledge learnt in class. There is a continuous focus on phonics knowledge all the way through the Academy as pupils continue to recall their knowledge when reading new words.

We want our children to have high aspirations and not be held back from reading the books and texts that interest them or dissuaded from recording their ideas and using new and exciting vocabulary. We want them to be determined and resilient and to use the strategies that they have learnt to problem solve, independently so that eventually, they can foster a love of reading and writing. Ultimately, we want to begin journeys and open doors so that our children 'Think Big!'

Phonics in Early Years Foundation Stage
In Early Years, children begin by first developing their knowledge in speaking, listening and language as they start to distinguish between and isolate individual sounds. In Reception, children learn the sounds that letters make and that sometimes we can use more than one letter to represent a sound. They use this knowledge to begin reading and writing simple words. Children also learn to read and spell high frequency words and words that do not follow spelling conventions.

Phonics in Key Stage 1
In Year 1, children begin to understand that there are alternative combinations of letters used to represent sounds and in Year 2, children switch to a spelling focus which will include the addition of prefixes and suffixes to create new words.  Children also learn to read and spell high frequency words and words that do not follow spelling conventions.

Phonics in Key Stage 2
In Key Stage 2, phonics will remain the primary approach to reading and spelling new words but discrete teaching will continue as a spelling focus, with references to phonics to support this.