Phonics at Queen’s Park School
The main aim of teaching Phonics in a structured format is so that children can move on as soon as possible to reading independently and joyfully. Once they can fluently read, the world of books is open to them for the rest of their lives with all the barriers are removed.
Segmenting and Blending
Fred the Frog plays an important role in our Read Write
Inc lessons. Fred is only able to speak in sounds, not whole
words. We call this Fred Talk.
For example, Fred would say m-a – t we would say mat. Fred talk helps children read unfamiliar words by pronouncing each sound in the word one at a time. Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of letters well. During lessons children are taught to hear sounds and blend them together in sequence to make a word. We start with blending oral sounds, then progress to reading the letters and blending them together to read the word.
The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred.
Order of teaching sounds
At Queen’s Park School we teach the Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds. Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects. Each aspect contains three strands: Tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination), Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) and Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension).
In Reception, children move onto Set 1 Speed Sounds of Read, Write Inc so that they can learn to segment and blend words together.
In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want children to read them effortlessly. Set 1 sounds are the initial letter sounds. They are taught in the following order.
m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk
There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g. ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high.
In Year 1 children move on to Set 2 Speed Sounds. They learn about diagraphs (two letters that make one sound)
When children learn their Set 2 sounds they will learn:
the letters that represent a speed sound e.g. ay
a simple picture prompt linked to the ‘speed sound’ and a short phrase to say e.g. may I play
Every speed sound has a list of green words linked to it, so the children can ‘sound out’ and ‘sound blend’ words containing (Fred Talk) the new speed sound they have just learnt, for example s-p-r-ay = spray.
As Year 1 continues, children move on to learning Set 3 Speed Sounds. When learning their Set 3 speed sounds they will be taught that there are more ways in which the same sounds are written, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea.
The table below shows the sound, the associated phrase and example green words.
Click the link below to hear how to pronounce the sounds correctly.
As soon as children have learnt a few initial letter sounds they begin to learn to blend the sounds together to read real words in a Word Time session. Each word time session involves oral blending of known sounds before they are shown the words written down on green cards. Children practice Fred talking the words until they become able to read them on sight.
Spelling with Fred Fingers
Children are taught to use their fingers to help them write words. The children say the word out loud and break it down into its individual sounds. If a word has 3 sounds children hold up 3 fingers, 4 sounds 4 fingers etc. Children then pinch each finger as they say the sounds needed in the word then they write the letters that represent each sound.
When using Fred Fingers each finger represents one sound. When children reach yellow Read Write Inc storybooks they will begin to learn to trace the letters onto each finger and say the letter names.
Children are taught how to form letters using a handwriting phrase to help. This is linked to the RWI teaching of letter formation. Correct letter formation is ideally taught starting from the end of Nursery and consolidated in Reception and Year 1. Children begin to join their letters in Year 2. Children who are developmentally ready can begin joining in Year 1. Further information in handwriting policy.
Ditty lessons (story books) follow so that children who are becoming excellent at reading single words can be introduced to reading whole sentences. Once children are confident reading the short sentences they are challenged to use their developing phonic knowledge to write a sentence themselves. These books are for children to practice reading and decoding, but they are also important for developing comprehension.
The next stage of the Queen’s Park Phonics scheme is for children to read decodable storybooks that are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge. The storybooks consists of green words linked to the sounds they have been learning, red words (words that are not decodable) and challenge words to extend children’s vocabulary. After children have practiced these words individually they are prepared to see them in context in the story.
Children read one decodable book with their group or Guided Reading group for the week and then take home that same book to read to and with their family over the following week. They may also take home a Reading for Pleasure Book that an adult at home can read to them. These books can either be take from the classroom or from the shared reading shelves in the playground.
Groupings, Assessment and Intervention
Reception children are taught in their class groups. Teachers identify children who are having difficulty each day and target those children for intervention during the afternoon. Immediate intervention ensures that children can keep up with the daily lessons without falling further behind.
Year 1 are set into ability groups so that teachers can assess, challenge and move children on appropriately. Teachers and TAs rotate teaching groups so that children have experience of different class teachers and TAs teaching. Teachers identify children who fall behind and immediate intervention takes place during assembly times the following day.
In Year 1 the children are assessed and then placed into one of four groups so that more focus and attention can be given at the level they are at.
Children are assessed every 6 to 8 weeks using the RWI assessment materials and are moved into new groups for support or challenge as necessary. Children are moved on as soon as possible so that they can be taught at a level that challenges them.
In Reception, children are taught in class groups, with immediate interventions happening in the afternoon. Children are identified in the morning during their phonics session and then teachers or TAs work individually with children for targeted sessions.
Year 1 intervention takes place during morning with targeted children from the previous phonics session. Our lowest 20% of children receive targeted intervention at least three times a week using precision teaching and a practice mat that that is regularly updated by both the teacher and TA. See appendix for the intervention strategies used.
Moving away from decodable books
Once children are able to decode words securely as indicated by the assessment and the ability to read 70 words per minute, they may move on to choosing books to read from either the banded books or the regular book corner.