Statement of Intent
At Greenlands Community Primary School, we are proud to offer the children a text rich learning environment where creativity and imagination can be fuelled. When our pupils leave Greenlands, we intend them to be passionate readers, who read fluently and widely and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read. We intend to mould our children to become writers who can adapt their language and style for a range of contexts and re-read, edit and improve their own writing. We aim to expose the pupils to a wide range of vocabulary so that they are able to decipher new words and use them when speaking and writing in both formal and informal contexts. At Greenlands, we set high expectations for all of our children to take pride in their work while encouraging their imaginations to flourish. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where creativity is pivotal, and provide opportunities to engage learning and celebrate the individual skills of our pupils, recognising everyone as unique with their own aspirations, talents and dreams.
Throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, children take part in daily 20 minute phonics sessions. Our daily phonics lessons follow the guidance set out in the Letters and Sounds phonics resource, which was published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read and write by developing their phonic knowledge. All children have the opportunity to revisit previous learning, practise and apply new skills in structured and engaging ways.
The Letters and Sounds programme sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by the age of seven.
What are the phonics phases?
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).
Phase 2 begins with children being introduced to individual letters and their sounds; sets of letters are taught each week in the sequence advised by the Letters and Sounds programme. As soon as each set of letters is introduced, children are encouraged to use their knowledge of the letter sounds to blend and sound out words. They will also learn to segment the words. Children focus on CVC words (consonant – vowel – consonant). ‘Cat’, for instance, is an example of a CVC word.
Over the twelve weeks which Phase 3 is expected to last, 25 new graphemes are introduced. During Phase 3, children will also learn the letter names, although they will continue to use the sounds when decoding words.
In Phase 4, no new graphemes are introduced. The main aim of this phase is to consolidate the children’s knowledge and to help them learn to read and spell words which have adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and milk. Compound words are also introduced to children in this phase. Compound words are two single words which, when placed together, make a new word. Examples of compound words include ‘starfish’, ‘butterfly’ and ‘bathroom’.
In Phase Five, children will learn alternative ways for spelling sounds they have previously learned. For example, they already know ‘ai’ as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ‘ay’ as in day and ‘a-e’ as in make. We refer to the latter as a ‘split digraph’.
Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ‘ea’ in tea, head and break.
At the start of Phase Six of Letters and Sounds, children will have already learnt the most frequently occurring grapheme–phoneme correspondences (GPCs) in the English language. They will be able to read many familiar words automatically. When they come across unfamiliar words they will in many cases be able to decode them quickly and quietly using their well-developed sounding and blending skills. With more complex unfamiliar words they will often be able to decode them by sounding them out.
At this stage children should be able to spell words phonemically although not always correctly. In Phase Six the main aim is for children to become more fluent readers and more accurate spellers.
Fast Track Phonics
Fast Track Phonics has been devised by the Lancashire Literacy Team to support children in Year 2 who did not achieve the expected level in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. It is intended to close gaps in learning and run in addition to quality daily phonics teaching. Fast Track Phonics is a programme may also be used with children in other year groups who we feel would benefit from the programme.
For further information or to access free resources and games to help your child at home, visit www.letters-and-sounds.com
From the moment the children join Greenlands Community Primary School, they are encouraged to write for a range of reasons and audiences. At all times we aim to ensure that they have authentic reasons for writing and understand the importance of this skill.
Within each year group the children are taught the skills to write clearly, accurately and coherently for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
There is an emphasis on developing the pupils’ competence in spelling, handwriting, composition, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation which they are encouraged to apply to different types of writing.
Children have regular handwriting sessions and are taught to use a legible, cursive style. At the beginning of term, a handwriting baseline assessment is carried out with pupils’ achievements celebrated in handwriting assemblies across the year.
Our aim at Greenlands is to teach the children to develop a range of personal strategies for learning spellings, and for checking and proofreading spellings in their own writing.
We teach spelling to the National Curriculum requirements which enable pupils to:
- develop a range of personal strategies for learning new and irregular words.
- develop a range of personal strategies for spelling at the point of writing composition.
- develop a range of strategies for checking and proofreading spellings after writing.
- use further prefixes and suffixes and understand the guidance for adding them.
- spell some words with ‘silent’ letters.
- continue to distinguish between homophones and other words which are often confused.
- use knowledge of morphology and etymology in spelling and understand that the spelling of some words needs to be learnt specifically.
- use dictionaries to check the spelling and meaning of words.
- use the first three or four letters of a word to check spelling, meaning or both of these in a dictionary.
- use a thesaurus.
- proofread for spelling errors.
We are committed to the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language. This underpins the development of reading and writing. We encourage children to express opinions and present ideas in both formal and informal situations. Drama, role play, discussion and debate bring language to life and are important in teaching self- expression.