At St Christopher’s school, we teach children to decode (read the words on the page) using the Sounds Write phonics programme. This is a linguistic phonics programme that teaches children 175 sound-spelling correspondences over YR to Y2 and beyond. Rather than moving on to spelling rules, which have many exceptions and contradictions, children learn and apply more sound-spelling correspondences (the extended code) in their reading and writing throughout their time at St Christopher’s. The linguistic phonics approach looks at the relationship between the spoken language and the written word. Children will study three main skills to enable them to learn to read: blending, the skills of blending letters together; segmenting, separating sounds for spelling; and manipulating, swapping sounds to develop reading accuracy.
Throughout KS2, children study etymology (the origin of words) which enables them to discover the meaning of new words and apply their extensive code knowledge.
The Sounds~Write programme takes the children step-by-step through phonics, introducing them to the 44 different sounds in the English language and their different spellings gradually and systematically. The programme is highly specified, carefully sequenced and code knowledge is revisited so that it is taught to be remembered.
Phonics is taught whole-class and any children who did not fully grasp the learning in YR repeat the lesson / part of the lesson that same day to ensure gaps do not form. Children working below age-related expectations still join in with the whole-class phonics lesson and then receive additional phonics teaching focused on their stage of code knowledge. This approach ensures children catch up quickly and keep up.