At Woolavington Village Primary School, we teach a daily differentiated 4 part phonics lesson, that provides a multi-sensory teaching approach. This benefits all types of learners (auditory, visual, kinaesthetic) by using resources such as smart boards (Phonics Play/Bug Club), magnetic letters, wipe boards, puppets etc.
The lesson format is as follows
Review: Recap phonemes and graphemes/ High Frequency (HF) words that have been previously taught. This revision is vitally important as constant and continual practice ensures a more ‘cemented’ knowledge.
Teach: Introduce Learning objective – teaching a new grapheme/phoneme/HF word/s with relevant action if applicable. Primarily, children are taught BOTH the name and sound of each single grapheme. This is modelled by the practitioner at all times when identifying a specific phoneme or when spelling a word as we understand that children need to know and be fluent with both the name and sound of an individual grapheme.
Practice: Practice reading, writing or forming words with the specific grapheme/phoneme, perhaps by sorting words. This gives children the opportunity to explore their phonic skills and identify the differences between phonemes and graphemes.
Apply: Writing/Reading sentences using the skills they have been taught, identifying words with specific phonemes and spelling patterns. Children are able to exercise their growing phonetic knowledge, working out and visualising how to create and build words in sentences, more fluently. As their skill base increases, children are encouraged to visualise the word in their head, working out which phonemes to use when writing. Likewise when reading, children become less reliant on segmenting and blending words, and can visually begin to recognise words from either their spelling patterns or from ‘training their brains’ for those words that cannot be decoded.
From Year 1, children understand the correct terminology for a phoneme (sound), and different types of graphemes (a single sound represented by written letters), including a graph (t,s,p etc), digraph (ch, sh, ea, ph), split-digraph (i-e, e-e etc), trigraph (igh,dge,chr) and quadgraph (ough, eigh) – dependent on their progression though out each specific phonics phase. They also learn to understand the difference between a consonant blend (two sounds - br,tr,cl etc.) and a digraph (one sound - oa, ee, ai).
Learning to read and spell at Woolavington
Children are taught to segment (break down a word and identify the different sound buttons) and blend words when reading and writing unfamiliar words. They say the word, tap and count the syllables and may be given a sound map to identify each sound. They are encouraged to read back and check their writing making sure that they have included every sound. This takes place whenever they write, be it during a phonic session, literacy or topic independent writing activity.
As they progress in to Phase 5, children are taught alternative pronunciations of various graphemes that they have been taught and alternative spelling patterns of the different phonemes that they know.
We acknowledge that children learn to read and spell in different ways, understanding that some children simply ‘catch’ words and visually learn words when reading and writing.
High Frequency Words
From Foundation Stage, children are taught to ‘train their brain’ of those tricky HF words that they cannot decode that they need to be able to spell. These are taught in line with the respective phonics phase. Children are given HF animal sheets to learn to read at home that contain both words that can be decoded and those that cannot.
In Year One, once they can read all 300 HF words, then children are given spelling lists. Children are encouraged to Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check when learning their spellings. Once spellings are sent home – weekly tests take place and results are sent home so that parents are aware of their child’s progress. There are times when children are asked to repeat their spelling list if the teacher feels they need more time to secure these spellings.
Some children are also given support in school to help learn their spelling lists, which may be during homework club or with their reading buddies.
In each year group, there is a list of HF words that each child is expected to spell correctly (see Appendix 3). Word Books, with these respective lists inside, are introduced in Year 1 and are used daily in Year 2. Children are encouraged to use a dictionary to write down new and interesting words. These books travel with them throughout the school.