At St Peter's, English is at the heart of our teaching and learning as we know it is a vehicle for learning in all subjects across the curriculum. We aim to support the children to develop a passion for reading and writing.
Our curriculum is underpinned by quality children’s literature which motivates and engages the children leading to quality writing outcomes. The 2014 National Curriculum is followed and delivered through meaningful learning activities.
Information and guidance for parents
What is phonics?
Phonics is the link between letters and the sounds they make.
Using a highly structured programme working though six phases, children are taught:
Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught in helping them learn to read. Phonics runs alongside other teaching methods to help children develop vital reading skills and give them a real love of reading.
Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
We use the Letters and Sound scheme as well as others in Reception, Year 1 and 2 to support the children with their reading and phonetic awareness.
What is the phonics screening check?
The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in the phonics skills to read words and are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.
The Department for Education defines the checks as “short, light-touch assessments” that take about four to nine minutes to complete.
All children who do not reach the required level have additional support to ensure that they are given every opportunity to develop their phonic skills and hence their ability to read.
When does the Year 1 phonics screening check take place?
All Year 1 pupils will take the phonics screening check during the week commencing 12 June 2017.
How is the check structured?
It comprises a list of 40 words and non-words, which the children know as ‘alien’ or ‘monster’ words. Your child will read one-to-one with their teacher. They will be asked to ‘sound out’ the word and blend the sounds together to read the word. The words will be presented as a booklet with up to 4 words per page. Non-words will be presented with a colourful picture of an alien. The children will be asked what the aliens name is by reading the pseudo word. This will make the check a bit more fun and provides the children with a context for these non-words. They are included because they will be new to all pupils, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Pupils who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word.
Half the words cover phonic skills which are usually covered in Reception, and half the words are based on Year 1 phonics skills.
Does a teacher have to carry out the screening check?
Yes, it is important that a teacher carries out the check with the pupils in our school.
How will the results from the phonics screening check be used?
Schools have to inform parents towards the end of the summer term in Year 1 of their child’s results. At St Peter’s the results form part of the end of year reporting. All of the children are individuals and develop at different stages. The results of the screening check will assist teachers to identify which children will need further support with decoding.
What happens if a child struggles with the screening check?
The screening check will identify children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of Year 1 and who therefore need extra help. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.
How can I help my child?
There are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading skill development.