Phonics is the systematic teaching of the sounds, or 'phonemes', that accompany the written letters ('graphemes') in English. It is designed to teach children to become confident and fluent readers by the end of Year 2.
All children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 have a 20 minute phonics session every day where they are introduced to new sounds and practise the sounds that they are familiar with.
At Downe Manor, we follow 'Letters and Sounds', a document published by the Department for Education. It is broken down into 6 parts, or 'phases'.
Year 1 phonics screening check
At the end of Year 1, children will undertake a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short assessment to make sure that children have learnt phonics to an appropriate standard.
There are 40 words in the screening check which children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of 'real words' (eg. 'mud') and 'non-words' (eg. 'splog') and children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read all words.
Preparation for the check takes place during the daily phonics session, but you can help your child at home by practising phonics on a regular basis. If you would like more information on the phonics screening check for Year 1 children, please click here.
Reading is taught following guidelines set out within the National Curriculum through whole class teaching, guided group and independent reading sessions. Our aim is to foster a lifelong love of reading. We use a range of reading scheme books (Oxford Reading Tree, Oxford Tree tops, Rigby Star, ProjectX, & ProjectX Code) as well as quality texts.
Guided reading is introduced in Key Stage 1. The class teacher works with a group of no more than 6 children to teach the decoding of words and the skills needed for fluent and expressive reading. As the children become fluent readers, the focus for these guided sessions moves towards improving comprehension skills.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is a powerful tool for monitoring and managing independent reading practice. With AR, teachers can create a reading programme to meet the needs of every student. AR produces an average of two years’ reading age growth in just one academic year while promoting reading for pleasure.
Based on each child’s STAR Reading assessment, teachers can help students select books that are difficult enough to keep them challenged, but not too difficult to cause frustration. In addition, it helps teachers to monitor students’ vocabulary growth, literacy skills development and reading skills taught through guided reading sessions and English lessons.
Children will take a quiz on the book that they have been reading when they feel they are ready- this is usually within two days of getting the book. When a child passes two quizzes on the same point they will be moved up to the next point on their range. Children are also set goals based on getting 100% in their quizzes and if they achieve these goals they win prizes.
Children are encouraged to read at home for at least 20 minutes every day and we endeavor to provide good quality, exciting texts in order to inspire a love of reading.
Please click here to learn more about AR.
Every Child a Reader (ECAR)
The new Ofsted framework places a high priority on the progress of children with potential barriers to success in reading. ECAR (Every child a reader) is a 1:1 intervention for struggling key stage one readers. This intervention is run by a qualified teacher meaning you can be sure that all children, whatever their problems can become proficient, skilled and enthusiastic readers and writers by the end of key stage 1.
Children will develop the stamina and skills to write fluently, with accurate spelling and punctuation. They will be taught the correct use of grammar. They will build on what they have been taught to expand the range of their writing and the variety of the grammar they use. The writing they do will include narrative, explanations, descriptions, comparisons, summaries and evaluations. Such writing supports them in rehearsing, understanding and consolidating what they have heard or read.
At Downe Manor we follow the ‘Art of Teaching Writing’ framework which includes units of learning based around high quality texts that are rich in language and engage the children interests. Writing outcomes are based around the chosen texts and activities are planned to build up and develop the writing techniques that the children will need for the final written outcome.
If you would like to find out more about our school curriculum, please see the class teacher or Miss Gumbs.