Phonics is the study of sounds. Children are taught to read and write using phonics, which is by directly linking phonemes (sounds in words) and graphemes (the symbols used to represent them). Understanding phonics will help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.
Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters s, a, t and p they can start to build up the words: tap, taps, pat, pats and sat, enabling them to read.
At Low Furness we use Twinkl as our systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP).
The Twinkl Phonics Programme offers a coherently planned sequence of lessons that supports the effective teaching of phonics within EYFS, KS1 and, where appropriate, KS2.
Throughout Level 1, young learners develop the knowledge, skills and understanding to discriminate between and use auditory, environmental and instrumental sounds. Level 1 is taught in the EYFS and runs throughout the teaching of phonics Levels 2-6. In reception, children work within Levels 2-4. In Levels 2-4, learners are introduced to phonemes/sounds and graphemes/letters systematically. They also learn to develop and apply blending and segmenting skills for reading and writing.
In KS1, children work within Levels 5 and 6. Children apply their phonics knowledge and skills as the prime approach to reading and spelling. It focuses on phonetically decodable two-syllable and three-syllable words and the alternative ways of pronouncing and representing the long vowel phonemes. Furthermore, children will develop their ability to attempt to read and spell increasingly complex words. During Level 6, children explore spelling patterns and grammar while also developing a breadth of knowledge, skills and understanding in the recognition and spelling of common exception words (words which can not be phonetically decoded).
The Twinkl Phonics Programme intends to not only provide children with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding essential for reading and writing, but also, to develop each child’s confidence, resilience and engagement in phonics lessons and a love for reading and writing.
Because children progress at different rates we bridge gaps with keep up, catch up sessions and interventions.
The Twinkl Phonics Progression Map sets clear expectations for pupils’ progress within the Twinkl Phonics Programme. Children are regularly assessed providing us with opportunities to analyse data and encourages discussions around pupil progress, group progress, future learning and misconceptions, enabling us to respond and adapt teaching within the programme to provide additional support and challenge to pupils.
The dynamic and engaging materials delivered in the daily lesson packs within Levels 2-6 ensure a clearly defined structure for the teaching of phonics. The direct teacher-led lessons enable all children to develop and apply new skills, while also providing opportunities to further apply these skills within fun and engaging activities and through continuous provision. The lesson presentations, stories, games, additional texts and toolkits are planned to allow children to apply and practice phonics skills.
The impact of using our complete Twinkl Phonics Programme, as the basis of our phonics teaching within EYFS and KS1, is for children to develop their phonics skills and knowledge through a systematic, synthetic approach, while covering the statutory requirements outlined in the 2014 National Curriculum. It provides sufficient support for children to become fluent readers and prepares them for the statutory year 1 Phonics Screening Check. Following the programme gives us a consistent approach to phonics, which is clear to teaching staff and learners.
A full assessment is carried out 2x a year by a reading lead TA and regular assessments are carried out on a 6-weekly basis by class teachers. In addition, small group or individual keep up, catch up lessons are offered which focus the children to a specific sound/ blend they are struggling with.