Early Reading and Phonics at Hob Hill
At Hob Hill Primary School, children learn in a stimulating, language-rich environment; they are actively encouraged to enjoy books, and are motivated to want to read independently from an early age. We believe that pupils should be taught to read effectively for different purposes, acquire key phonics skills and understand the rules governing the structure of language.
Reading is initially taught alongside the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ phonics programme. This Systematic Synthetic Phonics scheme has been validated by the Department of Education. As part of their learning, the children are taught to:
- discriminate between different sounds in words;
- learn grapheme (letter) and phoneme (letter sound) correspondence (GPC);
- read words by sounding out and blending their separate parts;
- recognise on sight vocabulary identified as ‘ tricky words’.
Phonics in Nursery
Initially, phonics teaching begins in our nursery and concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase Two (in Reception). The emphasis during this initial phase is for children to become attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.
Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects:
Aspect 1 – Environmental Sounds
The aim of this aspect is to raise children’s awareness of the sounds around them and to develop their listening skills. Activities suggested may include going on a listening walk, drumming on different items outside and comparing the sounds, playing a sounds lotto game and making shakers.
Aspect 2 – Instrumental Sounds
This aspect aims to develop children’s awareness of sounds made by various instruments and noise makers. Activities include comparing and matching sound makers, playing instruments alongside a story and making loud and quiet sounds.
Aspect 3 – Body Percussion
The aim of this aspect is to develop children’s awareness of sounds and rhythms. Activities include singing songs and action rhymes, listening to music and developing a sounds vocabulary.
Aspect 4 – Rhythm and Rhyme
This aspect aims to develop children’s appreciation and experiences of rhythm and rhyme in speech. Activities include rhyming stories, rhyming bingo, clapping out the syllables in words and odd one out.
Aspect 5 – Alliteration
The focus is on initial sounds of words, with activities including I-Spy type games and matching objects which begin with the same sound.
Aspect 6 – Voice Sounds
The aim is to distinguish between different vocal sounds and to begin oral blending and segmenting. Activities may include Metal Mike, where children feed pictures of objects into a toy robot’s mouth and the teacher sounds out the name of the object in a robot voice – /c/-/u/-/p/ cup, with the children joining in.
Aspect 7 – Oral Blending and Segmenting
In this aspect, the main aim is to develop oral blending and segmenting skills.
To practise oral blending, the teacher could say some sounds, such as /c/-/u/-/p/ and see whether the children can pick out a cup from a group of objects. Children play games such as 'What's in the box?' to secure these skills.
Key Stage One
Teachers continue to build on the children’s reading skills by modelling good reading and teaching the remaining phases from Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
Children are given opportunities to read for pleasure and participate in regular whole class reading lessons. A range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry is taught and texts are carefully chosen to link with children's topics. Children are taught specific reading skills using the VIPERS approach: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Sequencing.
Key Stage Two
Teachers identify any children who may require additional phonics teaching and continue this where appropriate. The majority of children follow the Spelling Shed scheme which is aligned to the National Curriculum and teaches spelling using the principles of phonics. Children are given opportunities to read for pleasure and participate in daily whole class reading lessons. A range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry is taught and texts are carefully chosen to link with children's topics and interests. Children learn key reading skills using the VIPERS approach: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarising.
At Hob Hill our children have access to a lovely library! This welcoming area is looked after by our Reading Ambassadors who are very proud of this space. Our library has a range of non-fiction books which complement our broad curriculum, fiction books, poetry anthologies and traditional tales from a variety of cultures.
As a Church School, we recognise that each pupil is a unique creation of God, with individual skills, interests and potential. We seek to be an inclusive school and offer a range of support for pupils with various learning needs. This includes pupils with SEND, the more able and those from different social, culture and ethnic backgrounds. Inclusion is achieved through the implementation of the school’s SEND and Inclusion Policy.
Pupils identified as requiring additional support with reading are supported through high quality first teaching, keep-up sessions and interventions.
Phonics in Reception
Children begin learning the grapheme phoneme correspondences (GPCs) of Phase 2 sounds in the first two weeks of Reception in the Autumn term. Children are then taught to blend these sounds to read words. High frequency words (tricky words) are also explicitly taught during phonics lessons. Phonics lessons follow the teaching sequence of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised and children are assessed at the end of each half term. Most children can read and blend Phase 3 sounds by the end of Reception.
Phonics in Year 1 & 2
Children continue to follow the Little Wandle teaching sequence into Key Stage 1, where they learn alternative sounds for graphemes and continue to practise blending to read and segmenting to spell. In the summer term of Year 1, the children sit the Phonics Screening Check. This is a statutory national check to assess the children's knowledge of GPCs and blending.
Phonics throughout Hob Hill
The teaching and assessment of phonics is consistent throughout the whole school; lessons and reading sessions all follow the Little Wandle progression and teaching approaches. We believe phonic decoding skills must be practised until children become automatic and fluent reading is established. Therefore, children in Years 3 to 6 may receive phonics tuition where such support is appropriate.
Reading Practice Sessions
The children have regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned to reading fully decodable books. The phonic progression in these books matches the progression of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. At Hob Hill, these reading practice sessions take place at least three times a week. Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. Session are designed to focus on three key reading skills:
• prosody – reading with meaning, stress and intonation
• comprehension – understanding the text
Reading at Home
Every week, from Nursery, children select a book to bring home to share with their families. This book should be read to the child for entertainment and enjoyment and foster an early love of stories and support early vocabulary development.
Once children begin to blend sounds - in the Autumn term of Reception - they will also bring home a reading book that matches their knowledge of letters and the sounds they make. They should be able to blend and decode the majority of the words without intervention. All of our reading books in Early Years and Key Stage 1 are phonically decodable and designed specifically to help each child develop confidence and fluency as a reader.
Once children have a secure knowledge of phonics, they will progress through the banded books as their skills and confidence grow. In Key Stage 2, class teachers monitor the children's reading and support them to make independent choices from age-appropriate books in school. Some children may continue to select titles from a wider range of banded books in Key Stage 2 where necessary.
Reading for Pleasure
‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)
‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)
We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.
- We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Hob Hill and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures;
- Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books;
- In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day during Continuous Provision and the books are continually refreshed;
- Children in Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
- As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
- Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).