Phonics and Early Reading
At Pewsey Primary School, we understand the importance of reading as a critical life-skill. In order to access all areas of the curriculum (and life), our children must be able to read.
The best way to ensure that our children become fluent readers is to instil a love of reading. We do this in several ways:
- Quality texts used to plan topics and themes
- Reading Challenges for all phases of the school
- A wide variety of phonically decodable books for early reading
- Reading is taught explicitly to whole classes
- Links with organisations such as 'School Readers'
- Reading to the children on a regular basis
From 1st September, we started to use Supersonic Phonic Friends in order to teach children to read through a 'Systematic, Synthetic Phonics' approach.
We chose Supersonic Phonic Friends as it is rooted in our beliefs that children need to be able to hear and use alliteration and rhyme, as well as orally blend before they are taught about graphemes/ spellings for phonemes/ sounds.
We believe that all children will enjoy the sing-song and rhythmic nature of the phrases within Supersonic Phonic Friends, and that this in turn will help them learn and retain knowledge supporting them as readers, and then writers.
Supersonic Phonic Friends is beautifully illustrated and there are 14 characters to help the children remember the skills that they need to be able to read and then write.
See the characters here.
Click here for the Parent Workshop documents.
What will my child learn when?
As a general rule, your child will start their Reception year with lots of listening for alliteration and rhyme. The experienced team will ensure that your child is able to orally blend before they move onto learning about phonemes/ sounds and graphemes/ spellings.
Generally, in Reception, we will teach your child The Basics 2 and The Basics 3. If we feel that the children are ready, we will then start to teach them The Basics 4 although it is more likely that they will start this at the beginning of Year 1. We will also teach The Higher Levels 5- 'Choose to Use' and The Higher Levels 5- 'Switch it Sounds' in Year 1.
When your child moves into Year 2, they will learn all about different spelling patterns, as well as recapping the earlier levels.
From January 2023, we teach the children in groups relating to their knowledge and this means that children may be in a group with children from other classes. Every member of staff is trained in Phonics and so all children will receive excellent teaching but it may not be from their own class teacher.
To help the children remember the spellings for the sounds, there are some alliterative sayings. The Basics 2 are here. The Basics 3 are here.
Find the spellings/ graphemes for the sounds/ phonemes in The Basics 2 and 3 here.
Find the spellings/ graphemes for the sounds/ phonemes in The Higher Levels 5 here.
Why are some words in non-cursive writing and others in cursive?
Any resources that we use for the children to be able to read e.g. flashcards, are in non-cursive writing. This is because when they are reading books, magazines etc. most of the text will not be cursive. We want the children to be able to recognise the letters and words when they are reading all texts.
Any resources that are to help the children when they are writing, are in cursive because that is how we want them to write. This then means that they can copy the letters or words correctly.
Tricky words are specific to each level/ phase of Phonics and they are words which cannot be sounded out by the children using the knowledge that they have so far. Some tricky words will always be so and just cannot be sounded out but others will not be tricky in a later level/ phase when the children have more knowledge.
Tricky word mats are here.
Support for parents and carers
Once your child has learnt a set of sounds/ spellings, you will be able to access a Parent/ Carer Newsletter on this page. This will help you to support your child's learning and practise at home.
See an example The Basics 2 newsletter here.
See an example The Basics 4 newsletter here.
See an example Spelling newsletter here.
If you would like to buy a subscription for your own use at home, you can do this for £4.99 a month or £39.99 a year- https://www.supersonicphonicfriends.co.uk/
Please note that this is not an expectation of the school but in the past we have been asked this question by parents.
Supersonic Phonic Friends You Tube Channel
To help teachers, parents and children in knowing the actions that accompany the scheme, and pronunciation there is a You Tube Channel. Click here to go to it.
Reading at Home
We believe that it is important to listen to your child read at home no matter which year group they are in. This is especially important when your child is first learning to read, or is reading a school scheme reading book.
We expect every child in the school to read at home AT LEAST four times a week, and to have this recorded in their Reading Record. At the beginning of the week, the staff in school will count the number of reads from the previous week, and if the child has read four times, they will get a star on the class chart. There are rewards throughout the year for children who read four time a week in 12 weeks, 24 weeks and 32 weeks.
Those children who read regularly at home, make more progress than those who do not.
Supersonic Handwriting Pals
Supersonic have just launched their own Handwriting resources so that schools can choose to use this alongside Phonics and Early Reading resources.
For our children in Year 1 and above, we are going to continue to use our current Letter Join scheme for handwriting as they have already been taught in this style. For our new Reception children, we are going to use Supersonic Handwriting Pals.
As your child learns new letter formation, there will be newsletters added to the class page. This will help you to support your child in their writing at home.
See an example Handwriting newsletter here.