Phonics at Enfield Academy

 

Curriculum Intent

 

At Enfield Academy we recognise that Phonics is the body of knowledge that is necessary for children to learn to read and spell and underpins access to the rest of the curriculum.  We believe that following a systematic synthetic phonics programme from the very beginning of formal education enables our children to have the necessary skills to begin their journey as readers.  We also value and encourage pupils to read for pleasure and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills – enjoying success and gaining confidence from a positive experience.

 

At the end of Reception, we intend for children to have grasped the skills needed up to Phase four of the Bug Club Phonics Programme, learning to read words and simple sentences accurately.  During year one, children consolidate previous learning, learn new content and practise and apply what they have learnt in segmenting and blending.  Therefore, they are equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year one.  In year two, time is spent further revising these key skills so that children are able to tackle the demands of reading more challenging texts and learning more complex spelling patterns.  

 

Curriculum Implementation

 

At Enfield Academy we use the systematic synthetic phonics programme, Bug Club Phonics.  This programme teaches letter sounds very rapidly, explicitly showing children how to build up words with letters from the start, and always includes blending with printed words.  Systematic synthetic phonics does not normally teach spelling, but Bug Club Phonics does teach spelling by reversing the reading process.  This process is known as segmenting and is followed by the children reading the word they have produced by sounding and blending.  

 

In this approach, both blending for reading and segmenting for spelling are fully scaffolded. We model for the children how to sound and blend words for reading, but in each lesson children must attempt to sound and blend words for themselves to find out how they are pronounced. We also model for the children how to segment for spelling and continue to scaffold the children through the process with each word they spell. This ensures that they identify each phoneme and choose the appropriate grapheme in turn, until the word is spelt. 

 

In Reception, Bug Club Phonics teaches a new grapheme and related phoneme in every Phoneme Session. This fast pace, backed up by daily revision of past teaching, has proved the most effective and successful method of phonic training. This means that the basic 40+ phonemes are acquired quickly, and early reading skills develop rapidly. The order of grapheme introduction ensures that children are able to start reading and spelling a wide range of words at the earliest possible stage.  As the children move into Key Stage One, the same method is applied with a focus on learning alternative pronunciations for vowel phonemes.  Once in Year two, most children are ready for the demands of Phase 6, using Spelling Shed to support this, and are introduced to more complex, multi-syllabic words and morphemes such as prefixes and suffixes.  The children also cover less-common grapheme–phoneme correspondences and phonic irregularities, and apply their phonic skills in a wide range of reading and spelling settings. 

 

Alongside the teaching of Phonics, frequent and rigorous assessments are in place to monitor children who are at risk of falling behind.  They are quickly identified and the appropriate additional scaffolds or catch-up lessons are implemented in addition to continuing with the whole-class teaching sessions.

 

Bug Club Phonics is supported by decodable readers which match the order of phoneme introduction.  Decodable readers are introduced after just 10 days’ teaching at the end of Unit 2. This enables children to apply the taught strategies and enjoy contextualised reading early on. We ensure that each decodable book is matched closely to the children’s phonic ability, thus ensuring children are able to practise and consolidate their learning at each stage.  Before, during, and after the introduction of the Bug Club Phonics readers, children are exposed constantly to a rich and varied diet of book experiences to ensure their enthusiasm for reading is nurtured, their comprehension skills are being developed, and their speaking and listening skills are extended.

 

 

Curriculum Impact

 

The impact of using Bug Club Phonics as a systematic synthetic phonics programme, along with the earliest possible introduction of decodable reading books, enable children at Enfield Academy to get off to the best possible start on their reading journey.  They quickly develop the necessary skills to see themselves as ‘readers’ and apply their knowledge when beginning to spell and write sentences.  We believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our phonics and reading curriculum can be seen across all areas of the curriculum.