Phonics and Spelling
At Thomas Whitehead CE Academy, we believe that all of our pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary and be able to spell new words by effectively applying their phonetic knowledge and the spelling patterns and rules that they learn throughout their time in primary school. It is also our intention that pupils learn to understand the relationships between words (morphology) and the origin of words and their meaning (etymology), whilst ensuring that they are supported in their spelling strategies.
Our Implementation of the Teaching and Learning of Phonics and Spelling
We use the Little Wandle programme to support our teaching of phonics whilst also drawing on a variety of other resources from other schemes such as ‘Phonics Play’ and ‘Jolly Phonics’. 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 (see Phonics Progression Map).
Our spellings are taught using the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ programme. The focus of the programme is on the teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings (see Spelling Progression Map).
A book banded reading scheme operates across the school (see Book Band Colour Overview) which comprises of a range of different schemes. Children work their way through the bands and then become free readers. All banded books used by children in KS1, and by some in KS2, are phonically decodable and children are placed on a band according to their phonic knowledge and/or reading comprehension age.
Phonics and/or spellings are taught to the whole school from Pre-school to Year 6 as follows:
- Pre-school teaches Phase 1 phonics for 10-15 minutes, every day, to all pupils through active and engaging activities and songs.
- Nursery teaches Phase 1 and 2 phonics for 20 minutes a day, on alternate weeks, to all pupils. This consists of interactive and engaging activities to support the children’s developing basic phonic knowledge.
- Reception teaches Phase 3 and 4 phonics for 20 minutes daily, to all pupils. Active and engaging activities are used to support the student’s developing phonics knowledge. By the end of Reception, we aim to ensure that all our children are secure in their Phase 2, 3 and 4 phonetic knowledge. As a result, identified children also participate in phonic interventions to support their individual needs and to meet this target.
- Year 1 teaches phonics for 30 minutes every morning. The children continue to be exposed to and revise sounds from Phases 2, 3 and 4 as well as introducing and learning sounds from Phase 5. At this stage, children are moved into groups based on their teacher assessed ability. Lessons are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the children in each group and provide appropriate challenge so that each child can achieve their full potential. Additional intervention sessions are planned and delivered to provide tailored support which enables targeted children to embed their learning and develop age appropriate phonological awareness.
- Year 2 children follow the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ programme which it taught for 30 minutes every day. The children who are not yet secure on their Phase 1-5 phonics will be taught with Year 1 pupils during phonics sessions.
- Year 3 children, who are not secure on their Phase 1-5 phonics, are taught in small intervention groups to help them embed their phonetic knowledge.
- KS2 children are taught spelling rules, conventions and strategies during two 30 minute spelling lessons each week. They are also taught the common exception words or the Y3/4 and Y5/6 statutory words. Children in this phase are provided with weekly spelling homework that relates to their class learning. Spellings are tested using dictation.
Our Impact of Phonics
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on developing their fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
Our Impact of Spelling
Through the teaching of spelling, pupils will leave primary school being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught, have a wide and varied vocabulary and spell all statutory words (see the Year 1 and 2 Common Exception Words, Year 3 and 4 Statutory Words and Year 5and 6 Statutory Words documents). Attainment in spelling is measured by the Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation (SPaG) test at the end of KS1 and KS2.
Useful Web Links
Parents are encouraged to use the following websites to support their children’s learning of phonics and spelling: