At St. Joseph’s, we believe that phonics is the foundation to successful reading and initiates the journey of creating lifelong readers. As a school, we prioritise the teaching of phonics and are passionate about developing reading skills to enable our children to become fluent readers. In reception and year one, we follow the ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ (ELS) programme. This programme works alongside our philosophy that children should first be confident speakers, then readers and finally writers. By developing key component skills: decoding, blending and encoding by segmenting, our aim is for our children to become fluent and independent writers and readers.
Taking into account the varied on-entry developmental knowledge of our pupils, our reception children will continuously revisit the skills from Phase 1 Letters and Sounds (2007) to practise and acquire listening, attention and understanding skills.
All children in reception and year one take part in a whole-class daily phonics lessons using the DFE validated ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ programme. Through daily, systematic, and consistent phonics lessons, our children quickly learn how to blend and segment words. Our children practise speaking, reading and writing every day, so skills and knowledge are rapidly developed and our children quickly grow in confidence. Our phonics lessons are predictable and are structured to ensure that a minimum cognitive load is placed on our children: they enjoy knowing what comes next and knowing what they need to do to be successful.
We believe the key to success is a ‘keep up, not catch-up’ approach and therefore – for those children who need extra support - we follow the intervention sessions as set out in the programme, focusing on:
- Oral blending
- Grapheme-phoneme correspondence recognition
- Blending for reading
All children in Reception and Year 1 will take home a decodable reading book on a Friday. This book only includes the sounds taught so far at the child’s stage of the programme as well as learned ‘Harder to Read and Spell’ words.
In Reception and Year 1, we have recently launched our brand new phonics programme: Essential Letters and Sounds.
More information, resources and tips will be added to this page soon - so check back regularly! In the meantime, please find below a presentation for parents which explains our scheme and how this is implemented into school.
Additionally, correct pronunciation of sounds is vital to support decoding and blending so please watch the video below. This short presentation demonstrates how the sounds are pronounced in our phonics sessions.