The Belmont Approach To Phonics & Reading
At Belmont Primary School, early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach. Children are systematically taught the 42 phonemes (sounds), using a multi- sensory approach. There are daily phonic sessions where the children are encouraged to blend the sounds for reading and segment the sounds for writing. The school uses the principles and phases of the government’s ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme, and children are taught:
- the grapheme-phoneme correspondence in a clearly defined sequence
- the skill of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell
- that blending and segmenting are reversible processes
Additionally, children are gradually taught the high frequency ‘tricky’ words – those which are not phonetically regular. By combining these elements, children have the tools and skills to be able to write independently at an early age and are given lots of opportunities to apply their phonic skills throughout a rich and varied curriculum.
When the children have mastered this ‘Basic Code’ (one way of writing each of the 42 sounds) we continue to teach some of the alternative graphemes (spelling choices) used to represent the sounds(the ‘Extended Code’). Children learn to select the most appropriate grapheme using the ‘best bet’ strategy. We continue to teach the ‘tricky’ words and also introduce key spelling strategies. Phonics is assessed regularly to monitor progress towards the Year 1 Phonics check in June.
In Key Stage 2 an investigative approach is taken to the teaching of spelling and is supported by No Nonsense Spelling (Babcock). A spelling lesson is given each week, followed by 2 to 3 short practise sessions so that children have the opportunity to embed new spellings. This will include the learning of the statutory word lists in the 2014 English curriculum, lists given each week. Where necessary, some pupils will consolidate their phonic knowledge and skills from Key Stage 1 through the structured intervention “Word Wasp.”
Pupils have daily opportunities to engage in shared, guided and independent reading both in English and other subjects across the curriculum. We aim for children to become independent, able readers, who understand and demonstrate a passion for reading and a love of books. Reading sessions will encourage children to respond to high quality texts in a number of ways through the use of reading journals. Our school literature spine identifies high quality, age appropriate texts that we believe should be read by the time our children leave each year group. Some of these books have been specifically chosen to be used as whole class texts, some for guided reading and some for independent reading. Each book has been chosen specifically to expose our children to the best stories, poems and authors that exist and therefore the essential ingredients to support them as both readers and writers.
We encourage children to read with expression and confidence, making informed choices about the books they select. Weekly Guided Reading sessions from Year 1 upwards, are also used to specifically teach the skills of reading to groups of children of similar ability.
We aim to foster a love of reading through providing quality books and resources that children can share and enjoy both at school and at home. The importance and joy of reading is reinforced continually through rich and stimulating curriculum experiences.