How do we teach Phonics and Spelling?
At Bromham CofE Primary School, we recognise reading and writing as life skills, and know that Phonics and Spelling skills underpin these. We intend to give all children the foundations to become confident and effective readers. The English alphabetic code is complex, and Phonics gives children the key to unlock it. Children are explicitly taught the correspondence between sounds (phonemes) and letters (graphemes) using the Sounds-Write synthetic phonics programme. The systematic teaching of Phonics is given high priority throughout the school. Our aim is for every child to become a fluent reader and to spell accurately in order for them to reach age related expectations or make accelerated progress from their starting point. Within our Sounds-Write teaching we are continually building on the children’s conceptual knowledge and skills.
- Letters are symbols that represent sounds.
- A sound may be spelled by 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters.
- The same sound can be spelt in more than one way.
- Many spellings can represent more than one sound
- Phoneme Manipulation
As children move through the school, particularly within KS2, pupils will develop the following skills to aid them with spelling:
- ability to syllabify words of progressively more complex structure
- recognising syllable strength – stressed and unstressed syllables
- ability to recognise schwas within unstressed syllables as a vowel sound that is not ‘spelt as it sounds’
- a developing understanding of the morphology and etymology of words
Through gaining these skills and knowledge, we give our children the tools to be able to decode and encode any word that they are presented with. By gradually increasing automaticity in spelling this reduces cognitive load for children when writing.
Special Educational Needs Disability (SEND) / Pupil Premium / Higher Attainers
All children will have access to Quality First Teaching in the first instance. Phonics and Spelling sessions are differentiated by varying the complexity of word structure, moving from simple to complex. Words are chosen carefully, considering word structure, length and use of continuants to ensure support or challenge. Formative assessment within each phonics session informs teaching and learning, with error correction taking place in the moment, scaffolding techniques used where necessary and sessions adapted to meet individual needs.
Whole class Phonics sessions are taught daily from Year R to Year 2, with ‘keep up’ interventions taking place for those children who need this. Throughout the rest of the school intervention groups take place for those children who have not reached age-related expectations in their phonics knowledge and skills.
Within each Sounds Write unit there is a balance between teaching the target sound, reviewing previously taught code and skills practise. This planned process of teach, review and retrieve ensures spaced practice over time, therefore strengthening long term memory and moving towards automaticity and reduced cognitive load.
Initial Code – Shortly after starting in EYFS, our children are taught the beginnings of the Initial Code. They work from Unit 1 up to Unit 11, where they learn the concept that letters are symbols that represent sounds. They begin by learning that one letter represents one sound at an average of two new sounds per week, always in the context of a real word. They then move on to understand that two letters can represent one sound (bell, boss, buzz). Children then move on to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants and more complex word structures. Finally, they come to understand that the same sound can be spelled in different ways (Sound /k/ spellings
Extended Code – The Extended Code is taught throughout Years 1, 2 and 3. Here the children learn that the same sound can be spelt in more than one way, and that many spellings can represent more than one sound. These concepts are taught using Sounds-Write Extended Code Lessons 1-10, taking 1-2 weeks per unit. By Unit 4 in the Extended Code, children will also begin to work on reading and spelling words with more than one syllable (Polysyllabic words). They will start with 2 syllable words with a CVC structure, and progress to 3 and 4 syllables. Sounds-Write lessons 11 – 15 are used to teach this.
KS2 Spelling – Children in KS2 are taught spellings in short, daily bursts using Sounds-Write Polysyllabic words lessons 11-15. The Sounds-Write approach is continued throughout the school for consistency, and spelling words are grouped based on different spellings of the same sound. Children look at syllabification and then begin to explore the morphology and etymology of these words too.
The complexity of sounds, spellings, morphology and etymology of words becomes greater the further up the school you travel, and frequent recap lessons ensure that past learning is transferred into long term memory by using the approach of slow, deep learning and taking into account cognitive load theory.
Phonics and Spelling at Bromham Primary is based upon the 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England, which dictates that phonics should be the main strategy used to teach children to read. We believe that this approach should also be used when teaching children to spell, and by basing our spelling programme on the Sounds Write programme it ensures both consistency across the school and high-quality, effective teaching.
The impact of Phonics teaching is constantly reviewed using formative assessment throughout the lesson. Collecting ‘live’ data within a lesson allows teachers to be constantly assessing children’s skills, code knowledge and conceptual knowledge and therefore use scaffolding techniques and error correction effectively. This formative assessment also informs short term planning.
Children are assessed termly using past phonics screening tests, and progress is monitored using the results of these. The children take part in the statutory phonics test at the end of Year 1 and spelling tests as part of the SAT’s in Year 2 and 6. School monitoring takes place in spelling termly using the Youngs Parallel Spelling Tests. Progress is also monitored by looking at the written work that children produce and listening to them read. Information from these assessments is then used to inform who would benefit from further intervention work. Diagnostic assessments of phonic skills and code knowledge are also used for individual pupils where specific concerns need to be explored. This data can then be used as a baseline, allowing the impact of intervention groups to be measured.
EYFS Long Term Plan
Year 1 Long Term Plan
Year 2 Long Term Plan