We want our youngest children to quickly master the skill of reading – rooted in a phonetic approach – to enable them to excel in all other areas of learning. At Cooper Perry, our phonics teaching provides the building blocks for children to become confident and fluent with their reading and writing and therefore confident in all curriculum areas. Through phonics children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words. The teaching of phonics is of high priority.
We use the Letters and Sounds teaching sequence from Nursery to Year 1 to teach phonics at Cooper Perry. This is not used as a stand alone programme and is supplemented with a variety of additional resources. Aspects of the Letters and Sounds programme continue to be taught in Year 2 as appropriate in line with the National Curriculum spelling rules. Our nursery children explore phase 1 sounds through play and shared stories. Once children join our reception class, phonics is taught more formally through daily, adult led, four part active phonics sessions covering phases 2 and 3. This format is continued in Year 1 where the main focus is on phases 4 and 5. In addition to an adult led phonics lesson, phonics and reading activities are embedded in the learning environments across the EYFS and KS1. Children participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities matched to their developing phonics needs. All children will also take home a Collins Big Cat Letters and Sounds book matched to their phonic ability to support them with their reading at home.
By the time children complete Year 1, when they will take the Phonic Screening Test, they will be equipped to read unfamiliar words by sounding-out and blending quickly and accurately using the phonic knowledge and skills they have already learnt. They will also be increasingly able to read ‘common exception words’ which contain more unusual GPCs. Children will have learnt how to tackle new and unfamiliar words which will support them as they become more independent in their reading. With these skills in place children will be able to focus on developing fluency, comprehension and a love of reading.