MFPS Phonics and Early Reading. 2021-2022

Milefield Policy & Approach to Teaching of Early Reading & Phonics.
Milefield Primary has adopted a bespoke approach to the teaching of early reading and phonics which is tailored to meet the needs of all learners. It follows a validated systematic synthetic programme taught through a whole school accelerated learning approach; providing opportunities for pupils to immerse themselves in collaborative and engaging activities to develop their phonological development. There is fidelity to the chosen programme with planning sequenced to follow the phoneme order, letter formation and the use of carefully matched, decodable reading books to support home and school reading.

Systematic synthetic phonics has been proven to be the most effective approach to developing early reading proficiency. Utilising this approach supports our pupils from an early age to recognise and appreciate the joy of reading.

Throughout school, we strive to encourage a rounded approach to reading where phonic skills are applied to increase fluency and improve comprehension. Our reading books are levelled to match progression in phonics, to provide pupils with a range of fiction texts so they are challenged at an appropriate level, ensuring accelerated learning.

Key aspects of the approach include: - RWI reading books used in lessons and to support reading at home which match taught phonemes - Planning sequence which follows the RWI phoneme order and letter formation. - Lessons based on the accelerated learning approach and 5 part lesson model - Active and collaborative tasks to engage pupils in learning.
Our approach is centred on clear age- related expectations for pupils in both FS2 and Year 1 with appropriately matched phoneme order and reading books:

The expected progress for children from EYFS-

The phoneme led system enables all pupils to make connections between the sounds they hear and the graphemes that represent these sounds. We have developed a consistent approach across the school that utilises a range of resources and pedagogy based on the Read, Write Inc. system but is adapted to suit the needs of our pupils.

Daily phonics sessions are introduced in FS1, with a focus on listening games and distinguishing between sounds. We understand that these skills are vital and should continue to be developed throughout KS1 and 2. This skill supports pupils to develop a range of communication and language skills.

The process of introducing a new sound reflects the following structure:

- New sound is introduced visually (it is expected that at least 2 phonemes will be introduced per week).

- Pupils are introduced to the phoneme and grapheme (using the letter formation rhyme).

- Pupils are taught to hear the phoneme as an initial letter sound or a sound within words (depending on group and sound being introduced).

- Pupils are taught how to use the phoneme to read words using GPC and then write the grapheme using GPC.

- Pupils are taught to apply knowledge of the new phoneme to support reading and writing along with other known phonemes.

At Milefield, we follow the RWI sound order. We introduce irregular words using the RWI order. Common exception words are taught in Year 1 and Year 2 and are assessed for both reading and writing at the formal school assessment points.

As stated in the July 2021 Reading Framework, our pupils now have dedicated time to sit at a table, modelling correct posture and practise the skill of writing, including the fine motor skills involved in correct, tripod pencil grip; however, in EYFS, children are still building their gross motor skills and will work towards being able to sit and write when it is appropriate for their development.

Our approach...

As pupils build up their knowledge of sounds they are able to apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word whether it be real or nonsense. During lessons pupils practise their decoding skills by sounding out the letters in alien/nonsense words. Pupils are unable to rely on existing knowledge of real words and instead have to use their grapheme-phoneme knowledge.

Children are taught reading fluency skills at Milefield once they are able to use their phonics knowledge to decode familiar and unfamiliar words. We are aware that children are required to read 90 words a minute to access reading papers in year 2. To support this, we prepare children by allowing 15-30 minutes of reading fluency (using decodable, well-matched books) to build these skills.

Language skills

At Milefield we believe an understanding of technical language is important and should be modelled by those teaching phonic sessions. Pupils are introduced to and encourage to use the correct terminology when discussing phonics.

Our aims are that all pupils should use phonics as their primary strategy for decoding words in order to read and subsequently use this strong foundation and other strategies in order to develop a life-long love of reading.

We also understand that communication and language skills are vital and we promote these skills through using the lexile scores to purposely choose books, modelling of exciting and unfamiliar vocabulary and through the use of poetry and rhymes. All children in EYFS and Y1 receive a daily poetry/singing session as stated in the reading framework July 2021.

Supporting children to read.

To support our children further, we work alongside the English Hub to provide our pupils with intervention support tailored to their needs. Children who fall into the bottom 20% receive daily interventions for 10 minutes which gives them the opportunity to catch up quickly. These are tailored for each pupil’s specific needs.

.As a school we are passionate about parent partnerships and understand the importance of this to support each child’s educational journey. To support this, parents are strongly encouraged to attend the regular phonics awareness workshops which are on offer across the academic year.

Through these sessions, parents are supported to develop an understanding of phonics teaching, learn the terminology and phonemes alongside being provided with a range of practical ideas and ways they can support this learning in the home.

Common language terms used throughout school include:


Created with images by Susan Holt Simpson - "These colorful, scuffed blocks are part of a collection I purchased from a sweet elderly couple who kept them in a box for their grandchildren. Their grandchildren long-grown, they were happy to share them with me." • Agence Olloweb - "Il s’agit d’une photographie réalisée pour illustrer notre page des offres de création graphique de l’agence web Olloweb Solution"