At Larmenier & Sacred Heart we follow the phonics scheme ‘Unlocking Letters and Sounds’ which was validated by the Department for Education (DfE) in December 2021.
As a school, we begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of Reception Class and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Tricky Words’ (Referred to as Common Exception Words (CEW) in the Unlocking Letters and Sounds scheme of work) for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception Class being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, children learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional ‘Tricky 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 of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations 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 keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.
At Larmenier & Sacred Heart we promote a ‘phonics first’ approach to reading and the books that children take home (and listed in their yellow Reading Record Book) are very closely matched to each child’s current phonics knowledge. This is to ensure that every child can experience real success in their independent reading.