Quality phonics teaching is a high priority at Portland Spencer Academy. Based around the Letters and Sounds programme, phonics lessons allow children to learn about how letters link to sounds, how to blend sounds to read and how to segment letters to write words and sentences. Children are taught to recognise digraphs and trigraphs within words which help them to blend and segment accurately. We are passionate about our children and understand that they are most engaged in their learning during fun and active lessons and so offer well-planned and varied sessions which challenge children so that they make good progress. Phonics bingo, outdoor grapheme hunts and a range of ICT programmes and APPs such as Phonics play are just a few of the innovative ways we use to ensure that children get the most out of their learning. This learning is then applied across the curriculum in order to embed the principles of phonics and to enable children to achieve their full potential. It is daily to FS and KS1 children for 20 minutes per session in ability groups. This allows teachers to differentiate activities according to individual children's needs and offer daily, targeted support.
Children are also regularly assessed to ensure they are accessing learning at the correct level using our tracking system (see below). This allows teachers to understand which sounds children require more support in and interventions are swiftly put in place in order to target such areas. Subsequently, children are able to learn, practise and consolidate their phonics knowledge in order for them to become confident readers and writers during their time at Portland.
Children, in year 1 are also assessed using the 'Phonics Screening Check'. This is carried out nationally and is a short assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard, set by the government. It identifies the children who need extra help so they are given support by us to improve their reading skills. Any children who are not able to decode words to the appropriate standard are retested at the end of Year 2.
You can help support your child's learning by using practice materials such as, phonics flashcards in which children are able to practise sounds they have learnt or by using online programmes such as Phonics play.