At Whiteheath Infant School we aim to provide an environment where children are surrounded by stories and books and opportunities to read in all environments across the school. We want to promote the joy of reading and writing and we aim to encourage the children to be keen readers and writers. This is supplemented by our phonics scheme which is based on letters and sounds. The children also take home weekly Big Cat reading books which match the sounds taught in phonics.
At the beginning of the children’s learning journey through the EYFS in Nursery and Reception, our aim is to promote and encourage a love books, to experience sharing books with others and knowing how a book works. We have created wonderful book areas with a range of text and storytelling props. We ensure that there are opportunities for reading and storytelling in our everyday provision around the Nursery and Reception environment. The children have regular Phonics sessions, beginning by exploring environmental sounds, playing and identifying instruments, action songs, learning rhymes and playing games like I Spy. As the children move through the EYFS, they will begin to identify letters and sounds and use these for blending and segmenting of words. Mark making takes place from the earliest stages and support children so that they develop the skills to become fluent writers. We plan activities around fine and gross motor skills to ensure that children are ready to write.
We use ‘Tales Toolkit’ in the EYFS, a fantastic tool to encourage children to be creative storytellers and to promote vocabulary and communication and language skills. This is done through using props and actions, thinking about characters, settings, problems and solutions.
The children in KS1 are taught following the guidelines in the National Curriculum. We use a variety of reading schemes linked to Reading Recovery alongside books from our inviting book areas and Library. Reading is taught through a variety of approaches mainly based on phonics but also including recognition of familiar high frequency words and whole sentence work. Speaking and listening skills are essential, so, in addition to more formal grammar, punctuation and spelling activities; English is developed through guided and shared reading and writing, daily phonics, storytelling and drama activities. We feel it is important to support children to develop neat, attractive and consistent handwriting. The development of an efficient, legible style assists pupils in all forms of written recording. We want to help children with layout, presentation and the way they organise themselves on paper.
The phonics screening test is a short, simple assessment to make sure that all pupils have learned phonic decoding to an appropriate standard by the age of 6. All year 1 pupils in maintained schools must complete the check.
The phonics check will help teachers identify the children who need extra help so they can receive the support they need to improve their reading skills. These children will then be able to retake the check in year 2.
The check comprises a list of 40 words and non-words which the child will read one-to-one with a teacher.