Phonics Subject Leader: Emma Stoddart
Phonics at Nevill Road Infant School
Systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) teaches children to use the relationships between letters that they can see and sounds that they can hear to decode words and read them accurately and fluently. At Nevill Road Infant School, we use the Monster Phonics scheme, which is a DFE listed systematic synthetic phonics programme, for the teaching and learning of phonics for all children within the school. The Monster Phonics resources are mapped against the Letters and Sounds phases 1-6 and the KS1 Spelling Curriculum.
The colour-coded grapheme system is unique to Monster Phonics, and each coloured grapheme is paired with a monster character that makes the same sound to give audio-visual prompts that help children ‘see’ each sound within a word and pronounce it correctly. In KS1, the monsters are used as prompts to help children remember how to read and pronounce graphemes, and in Early Years, the colours of the monsters are used as a prompt so that children’s full focus remains on the learning of graphemes, for example, in EYFS black cat graphemes are referred to as black graphemes, cool blue digraphs are referred to as blue digraphs.
As children move out of Monster Phonics Foundations (Phase 1), they continue to build on their listening skills and are introduced to Monster Phonics Phase 2 which marks the start of systematic phonics work.
Discrete, daily phonics sessions are taught where children revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, practise together, and apply what they have learnt. Through the phonics training, children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds which are required for reading and spelling. These phonemes include those made by just one letter, for example, ‘c’ as in ’cat’ and but also those that are made by two or more: ‘ng’ as in ‘strong’ and ‘igh’ as in ‘light’.
Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound, for example, ‘ai’ as in ‘rain’, ‘ay’ as in ‘day’ and ‘a-e’ as in ‘make’.
Tracking and Assessment
All pupils are assessed at half termly intervals as they progress through the systematic synthetic phonics phases using the assessment formats found in the appendices. During our daily, discrete phonics lessons, there are opportunities for teachers to regularly evaluate children’s understanding through the use of various assessment for learning techniques.
Outside of the discrete phonics lessons, there are also a variety of opportunities for teachers to observe the application of phonics skills through reading and comprehension activities, and other cross curricular opportunities.
These formative and summative assessments feed directly into the termly tracking, and regular monitoring of the assessment outcomes allows us to ensure that all children are making at least expected progress. Where children identify as not making at least expected progress, early interventions are actioned.
Phonics Screening Check
In Year 1 children will take a Phonics Screening Check during the summer term. This is a phonics-based assessment where children will read 40 simple, decodable words including some ‘nonsense’ words. The Phonics Screening Check is repeated in Year 2 for those children who scored below the pass mark in Year 1. This is a statutory progress check which identifies those children who not at the expected level in their reading. The results are reported to the local authority and shared with parents.