At Hotwells Primary School, we teach phonics using the Unlocking Letters and Sounds programme. This was validated by the DfE in December 2021.
The children’s phonics journey starts from Nursery age, where they experience a wealth of listening activities and continues throughout their school years.
In Reception, phonics starts in the first few weeks. The children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4 of Unlocking Letters and Sounds.
In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery and any child who does not meet age related expectations in Year 1 will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to catch up through bespoke 1-1 precision teaching, and segmenting and blending interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact.
Supporting Reading and Phonics at Home
For home reading, children read books that enable them to practise and apply reading skills that have been taught at school. Books are very closely matched to a child’s current phonics phase so that each child can achieve success in their reading.
Please read with your child every day to develop their blending, decoding and fluency skills. We ask that you read their book three times before changing it over. This gives the children a chance to practice their fluency and prosody. Please record each time you have read with your child in their reading log book by writing a positive comment about your child’s reading.
As children progress beyond phase 5 phonics, they move onto our coloured book band scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills and become avid, expert readers.
You can find a link to supporting your child with Phase 2 Unlocking Letters and Sounds actions, images and handwriting here.
You can view the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression document here.
You can also find out how phonics links into our Reading curriculum by clicking here.