At Twin Sails we are passionate about teaching phonics and give it a high priority within each and every school day. Phonics is taught as a stand a lone session on a daily basis. We have adopted a systematic synthetic approach using the 'Letters and Sounds' programme. All this means is that each unknown word is able to be sounded out and then blended back together in order to be able to read the word. The letters are taught in an order that quickly allows the children to be able to put the sounds together and read words. When children are first taught letters, we use an approach known as 'Jolly Phonics' meaning that each letter is taught with a short story and an action, allowing children to distinguish a difference between the letters and to help them to remember them. As well as teaching the children the skills of blending (putting sounds together to read) and segmenting (breaking words down to spell), we also teach children 'tricky words'. These are words that are unable to be sounded out and therefore the children have to be taught to read and spell these from memory. We teach these words using a programme called 'Taming Tricky Words', which differentiates the words using different pictures and stories. We often give these words a mnemonic which helps the children to be able to spell these words correctly e.g. because - 'Big Elephants Can't Always Use Small Exits'.
Children will start to learn phonics as soon as they start in Reception at Twin Sails. The Reception curriculum focuses on teaching children the first letter sounds which are broken down into manageable groups known as phases. In Reception, children will be taught the first 4 phases of the 'Letters and Sounds' programme which will enable them to be able to read and write simple words and sentences. By the end of Reception, we aim for all of our children to be secure in the first 4 phases of 'Letters and Sounds' which will give them solid foundations for the work they will continue in Year One. When children join Reception, parents will be invited to a workshop where the teachers will explain the phonics curriculum, model the skills of segmenting and blending, and support parents in helping their children to read at home.
In Year One, children will continue to be taught phonics on a daily basis, in line with the 'Letters and Sounds' programme. Year One phonics will heavily focus on phase 5 of the programme, where children will be taught the alternative spellings for sounds they already know, for example, 'ee' (feet) can also be made using 'ea' (eat). Children will also start to look at common spelling patterns - spelling plurals and suffixes -ing endings and -ed endings. All children in Year One will take part in the national phonics screening during a specific week in June. Parents will be notified of when this will take place, so please remember not to book any holidays. Any child who did not take the test or did not pass it in Year One will retake the test in Year Two.
The children in Year Two will continue to work their way through the 'Letters and Sounds' programme, looking at phase 6. The main focus here is placed on teaching children spelling patterns. Children will be taught the many different rules for spelling plurals and adding prefixes and suffixes to words.
At Twin Sails, we use a range of different reading schemes to expose our children to a variety of different text types. We use Oxford Reading Tree Phonics Books, Big Cat Books, Dandelion Books and have recently invested in the Rising Stars Scheme. These books ensure that children take home books that are exactly matched to the phonic phase they are currently working in. We have purchased some PM Star books to help support our children who are more suited to learning to read through recognising words on sight.
Below are some useful links to websites that can easily be accessed at home for children to practise phonics and the different skills they will be learning in the classroom -
To access the following link you will need to enter the following -
Username - student10858
Password - hamworthy
Espresso is a fabulous tool which has lots of different phonic videos and games for children to access.
This video is really useful for helping your child to pronounce the sounds correctly or if you're unsure yourself, give it a watch!
At Twin Sails we are dedicated in giving our children the highest quality education in English. As the National Curriculum states, a high quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they are able to communicate their ideas and emotions to others. Alongside this, through the use of phonics (mentioned above), children are able to use their reading and listening skills so that others can communicate with them.
We teach children the importance of language and how it is essential in allowing them to be active members of our society. We also help children to understand how English underpins learning in all other areas of the curriculum.
As educators, we want to give our children the best start in life and the best chances to be successful when they are older. We are committed to providing well- structured, engaging curriculum which is tailored to the needs of our pupils and have dynamic members of staff who very talented in delivering this.
Please explore our Policy and Curriculum documents attached for further information and feel free to ask our staff any questions about the teaching and learning of English at our school.