At St. Joseph's school we are determined that every child will learn to read. Children begin their reading journey as soon as they start in Reception, learning how to read through the use of systematic synthetic phonics. The learning of letter sounds is built on progressively, beginning with simple letter sounds and progressing to digraphs, split-digraphs, and trigraphs. Fully decodable phonics books are given to children as their 'home readers' and are matched to the sounds they have already been taught and know so they can read them accurately with a high level of fluency. Teachers regularly assess children's knowledge of sounds, words, and sentence reading in order to determine next steps and build progressively on what the children already know. Common exception words ('Tricky Words') are taught explicitly in phonics lessons to ensure children are able to read these words by sight when they are spotted. We have clear term-by-term expectations of what sounds and tricky words children should know and be able to apply to reading words and sentences. You can see our overview of expectations below.
Teachers and Teaching Staff are fully trained to deliver our systematic synthetic phonics programme and have regular opportunities to practise their skills at delivering phonics sessions.
Parents and carers are invited to take part in annual phonics workshops, taking place in the Autumn term, to help them fully understand how to support their child's reading at home. We have also created a 'How to Help at Home' section below.
Letters and Sounds
Here at St. Joseph's we have built upon the base of 'Letters and Sounds' phonics guidance in order to provide a fully functioning systematic synthetic phonics programme, complete with resources such as flashcards, sound friezes, sound charts, phonics workbooks, fully decodable books, consistent teaching strategies and routines, learning expectation overviews, and teaching structures for Foundation and Key Stage 1. This has been achieved thanks to our close partnership with the DfE English Hub network.
We know our approach to teaching reading works as pupils at St. Joseph's achieve above the national average in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. This is due to all members of staff placing reading and phonics at the heart of everything we do in school and understand the importance of every child being able to read. Any pupils identified as needing extra support receive the help they need to keep up.
The teaching of phonics in our school follows the key principles of Review, Teach, Practise, Apply. These are explained below.
Review: Children revise sounds and words they have already been taught to improve fluency of reading and to aim for automaticity in the reading of these words.
Teach: A new sound and group of words containing that sound are taught to children and practised in tandem with the teacher using a 'I do, We do, You do' model of teaching. Our goal here is to teach children how to blend a word containing the new sound independently.
Practise: Children learn how to spell and write words containing the new sound they have learned through paired partner work. Written spellings are practised through regular, repeated games which then become familiar to the children. These routine spelling games free up working memory to allow children to quickly learn how to spell these new words.
Apply: Children spend time reading fully decodable books or sentences which contain the focus sound that has been learned in that day's session. The focus here is to decode fluently with accuracy. Teachers and adults will circulate and give support to children where it is needed. Children are given the opportunity to read and re-read the same book at least three times to build familiarity and fluency of reading.
Higgledy-Piggledy: Each page of a higgledy-piggledy book contains words with a variety of sounds. The purpose of these books is to improve fluency through daily practise of seeing digraphs and trigraphs in words to enable children to recognise them instantly. Children will draw the 'sound-buttons' onto the words and blend them as they go. They do this out-loud so practitioners can give support to those who may need it.
How to Help at Home
Here you will find videos which give you an understanding of how to support your child's reading at home. These are split into Foundation and Key Stage 1 videos.
For any questions or queries relating to Phonics or Reading at St. Joseph's, please ask for Mr. Carter when ringing the school office.
Introduction to Phonics at St. Joseph's for Parents
Phase 2 Phonics Video
Sancreed Road, Poole, Dorset, BH12 4DZ