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At St. Mary’s, we consider that it is vitally important that children have a secure understanding of the letter sounds and spelling system of English. Phonic skills need to be developed in a systematic, staged approach in order to help all children to ‘achieve their potential’.

The ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme is followed from Early Years Foundation Stage, through KS1 and into KS2 if required. The programme focuses on securing word recognition skills which are essential for children to decode (read) and encode (spell) words accurately. The programme is in six phases: phase one promotes speaking/listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending/segmenting; phases two to five focus on high quality phonic work to help children develop fluent word reading and spelling skills.

Phonics is taught as a discrete 20 minute daily session  and teachers follow the teaching sequence of ‘revisit, review, teach, practice and apply’. In addition, phonic skills are applied in reading and writing opportunities as well as in other areas of the curriculum. Teachers will check pupil progress in their understanding of grapheme-phoneme (letter - sound) correspondence.

Other resources supplementing Letters and Sounds are Jolly Phonics, phonics booklets, high frequency words and then a range of books from different reading schemes throughout school.

In the summer term, Y1 children will take a Phonics Screening Check in which children will be expected to read 40 decodable ‘words’. This progress check identifies those children not at the expected level in reading – and these children will be re-checked in Y2.

Children who are secure at phase 5 can go onto phase 6, focusing on spelling. Sessions include direct teaching of spelling strategies, proofreading and high-frequency words.