At King’s Gate Primary school, we believe that reading is the key to success. We have developed a rigorous approach to the teaching of reading. We aim to develop learners’ confidence and enjoyment in reading from the start of their educational journey. We aim to promote a love of reading, creating fluent readers who will monitor their understanding of what they are reading and review the text when something does not make sense. Our mission is that children are able to use their skills to fully involve themselves in our curriculum and as a life skill in the wider world.
How do we implement this?
As soon as children begin their school journey we encourage and foster a love of reading and listening to stories. This begins as soon as children apply to our school where they have access to stories read by our class teacher on our dedicated webpage for new starters.
In Reception, stories, songs and print are shared daily. We ensure all of our classrooms have an area with varied and high quality texts for children to choose to read independently. All children have access weekly to our school library.
From the start of their school journey with us reading books are taken home and are changed during each week. To encourage fluency and prosody we ask children to read each book at least four times. We expect all children to read at least four times per week at home as we recognise that reading is an essential life skill to support future success.
We practise the skill of reading with individuals, sometimes small groups and with the whole class. Reading books are closely matched to children’s phonics knowledge using our wide ranging texts directly linked to our phonics scheme.
We are committed to reflecting our diverse readership, so all children can relate to and empathise with the characters and recognise themselves and their worlds in our books.
Our Systematic Synthetic Phonics Scheme (SSP)
Last year we trialled and researched many different validated phonics schemes with a mission to identify one that best fit the needs of our unique school.
We chose to use Supersonic Phonic Friends and began teaching this in September 2022. Supersonic Phonic Friends provides rigorous, well-planned and consistent daily engaging phonics lessons.
The scheme was devised by Phonics expert Anna Lucas and the beautiful illustrations created by Fiona Cameron go hand in hand with our ethos of a natural and calming environment.
Supersonic Phonic Friends uses rhyme to hook children into their child friendly lessons, examples of the rhymes can be found here.
In our phonics lessons, we teach children that the letters (grapheme, or spelling) of the alphabet represent a different sound (phoneme), that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. When children begin to learn the first phase of letter sounds (phonemes) they learn alliteration phrases to help them remember, these can be found here.
The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. The combinations can be found here.
When do we start teaching phonics?
Our phonics teaching starts as soon as children begin in Reception and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. We also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. At King's Gate Primary school we have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. Key vocabulary is identified cross curricular.
Children follow the progression within programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
The progression of Supersonic Phonic Friends can be found here
- Phonics starts in Reception in week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start.
- By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4.
- By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5.
- Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to 30 minutes when ready.
- In Y2-Y6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting a maximum of 10 minutes in length and take place regularly.
How can I help?
We need you! You are essential in this learning process. We recognise the important role parents have to support their children in this essential life skill. Learning does not end at 3pm when children leave school!
We expect all children to read at least four times per week at King's Gate Primary school. It is a well known fact that children who read regularly, and whom are read to make speedier progress than those who do not. We want all of our children at King's Gate to have the absolute best start in life and so we need you to support them on this journey.
We will send you home activity sheets so that you know what we have been teaching in school.
An example of a parent newsletter for Reception can be found here.
An example of a parent newsletter for Year One can be found here.
An example of a parent newsletter for Year Two can be found here.
As we teach new phonemes, we will send home the spelling (grapheme) as flashcards to help you practise at home. We know that it can be daunting to know how to say the sounds (phonemes) so here are some videos to help you:
For more information , please visit the website
From Year 2, we continue to explore grapheme/ phoneme correspondence all the way up to Year 6 with a systematic approach to building on the firm foundations from our Supersonic Phonics Programme. From year 2, children will access daily spelling sessions tailored to our unique context.
Impact: How do we assess phonic knowledge?
- At the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning; teachers use their assessments to address gaps.
- Children identified as struggling to keep up are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place
- Children are regularly assessed at the end of every half term using the assessment tracker.
- The children in Y1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
- Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will re-sit this in Y2.
- Children who are in Y2-Y6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment.