Synthetic Phonics is a way of teaching reading. Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent – so, they are taught that the letter l sounds like llllll when we say it. Children can then start to read words by blending (synthesising) the sounds together to make a word.
At St Mary’s Primary school we follow a systematic approach where each grapheme is introduced clearly; a focus is placed on blending to read and segmenting to spell. This focus provides children with the skills they need to begin to read words, captions and whole sentences as soon as possible.
The teaching of phonics begins in Reception using Letters and Sounds. This is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme that has been published by the Department of Education. We are currently undergoing training for a published, fully resourced SSP called Little Wandle.
There are six overlapping phases which the children will work through. In our Reception classes, children work within phases 1 to 4 before consolidating phase 4 and progressing into phase 5 in Year 1 and Phase 6 in year 2. The programme enables children to see the relationship between reading and spelling, meaning they learn to blend and segment words successfully..
Children practise reading using fully decodable books that are closely matched to their developing phonic level. We draw upon books that are part of our SSP. Reading books are closely matched to the phonics programme and are grouped accordingly. Once children become fluent readers, a range of books is provided to allow children to engage in longer discussions about the content of the book to deepen their understanding and broaden their vocabulary.
To help develop their reading skills children are encouraged to read regularly at home a week. Dojo points are given to children who have read at home as an incentive. Research shows that children who read daily develop reading fluency at a more rapid rate.
Love of Reading
We give children the best start we can by teaching them to read as soon as possible so that they can develop a love of reading that will provide them with the skills they need for the future.
Right from the beginning of their time St Mary’s Primary school , children access a range of high quality engaging texts across a range of genres. Each week they have access to the school library where children can explore a variety of books.
Alongside this each class has a class text that they read for pleasure each day.