If you walked into a phonics lesson at King Athelstan you would see a buzz of excitement and activity as the children learn to read and write through systematic synthetic phonics. Phonics is a way of matching the small units of sound in spoken English to the letters or groups of letters which represent that sound in writing.
As a school we follow the Ruth Miskin, Read Write Inc. (RWI) programme.
RWI uses ‘Fred talk’ as a teaching strategy which helps children read unfamiliar words by pronouncing each sound in the word one at a time. Children can start blending sounds into words as soon as they know a small group of letters well. Sound blending is essential in reading. Children use ‘sound buttons’ to help them identify each unit of sound in a word:
RWI links every sound to a picture and a phrase to help the children remember it. For example: the letters a and y, once joined together, make the sound ‘ay’ and the phase we use to remember it is:
‘May I play?’
As a school we have created our own phrases for some of the alternative spellings taught in KS1 and have added Makaton actions to the sounds learnt in reception to support those children who learn through kinaesthetic activity. Reception children take home 'Pocket Rocket' stories each week with the sounds that they have been learning and KS1 children receive phonics homework to help recap sounds learnt each week.
We use sound mats to help build children's confidence and to develop independence during reading and writing lessons.