English (Including Phonics)
At Wheatfields Infants’ and Nursery School, we value the art of conversation. We develop a high quality conversation around a topic or story and ask questions to deepen the children’s level of thinking and understanding. For example; how it made us feel, why the character made the choice they did, the impact of their decision, the key message or moral in the story etc.
We aim to give them the skills to express themselves clearly and with confidence. They are taught to listen to a partner and then feedback to the group either what they think about a particular subject or question or to feedback on what their partner has said. The children are taught to respect the point of views of others and begin to ask questions, answer questions and form their own views on a wide range of topics. Through the reading of stories and a wide selection of books the children develop their range of vocabulary and use that vocabulary when speaking.
We also start to engage the children in the re-telling of the stories by the help of story actions, character voices and class story maps. A story map allows the children to take ownership of the story and begin to retell it themselves. This is supported by the use of pictures and key story language to keep them on track with the main events. The children will be encouraged to use puppets and role play to retell their stories and develop their imagination.
At Wheatfields the children take part in class assemblies, plays, Christmas play or concert, house challenges and these all give the children the opportunity to speak in front of an audience and develop their speaking skills.
At Wheatfields Infants’ and Nursery School we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to teach the children to read and spell by developing the childrens understanding of phonological awareness, phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters).
We ensure that our teaching is consistent in approach, vocabulary and resources across all year groups. It is essential that the children are taught the correct short or pure phonic sound to support their learning. Please follow the link below on how phonics is taught following Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
The children are taught to decode words, to look at the graphemes (a letter, or combination of letters, that corresponds to a single phoneme in a word) and say each corresponding phoneme (the sound that the grapheme makes) from left to right in turn. Then they can blend the phonemes to say the whole word.
The children are taught to encode words for spelling. They are taught to identify the phonemes in spoken words first and then write the graphemes that represent the phonemes. This is also known as segmenting words.
The children are taught common exception words or tricky words in phonics and these are words that are not able to be sounded out and are taught by noting the part that is an exception to what they have been taught so far.
At every stage, children are also introduced to “tricky” words. This means words which cannot be sounded out using phonics. (e.g. the, one, many).
The children are taught phonics in a planned progression through the sounds and phonic phases to ensure that all sounds are covered.
Phonics is taught as a whole class lesson and when needed some children will be supported individually or in a small group.
In phonics lessons the children revise sounds previously learnt, are taught new sounds (phoneme) and the corresponding written letter/s (grapheme), practise reading words with the new sounds they are learning, are taught new ‘tricky’ words and also practise reading ‘decodable’ phrases and sentences. Dictation is a vital part of a phonics session and gives the children the opportunity to practise and apply their spelling.
The childrens’ phonics is assessed regularly so that we can direct our teaching to cover any gaps in the childrens’ phonics skills. Therefore, we can ensure progress for all and provide early additional phonics support as needed.
At Wheatfields we promote a love of books and reading. We have a well-stocked library with a diverse selection of books as well as book corners in every class based on the childrens’ interests, containing books to support reading and learning in each year group.
We know the importance of reading stories as well as non-fiction books daily to give children a board experience of books and reading. Children who are read to regularly develop their ability to use exciting vocabulary when speaking, as well as in their writing.
The children read regularly in guided reading supported by the teacher. Children read a variety of different texts eg poetry, stories, non-fiction. Guided reading consolidates phonics learnt, practises using strategies to read and develops comprehension skills fluency.
We would encourage you to read with your child at home each day. As well as supporting your child to decode the words we would ask that you also discuss the story to aid comprehension understanding and skills. At the beginning of your child’s Home Learning book there is useful information for you on how to support your child’s reading development. Please do encourage your child to draw a picture or write about what they have read.
We have a wide variety of reading books for the children to take home and the children take home a book that matches with the phonic sounds that they have learnt as well as a sharing book.
Please find below the different ideas and ways to support your child’s reading at the different phonic phases.
At Wheatfields the children are given lots of opportunities to write in different contexts both in adult teaching time as well as independently in Exploring Time. The teachers in Early Years support children to compose sentences aloud without needing them to write, and then the children begin to mark make and write letters for sounds that they have learnt in phonics. As their spelling and phonics develops they can begin to write phrases and sentences.
In Year 1 and Year 2 the children develop their writing by first talking about it and composing a sentence about what they want to write. The children use their phonics to sound out words and write the correct graphemes. In school all classes have resources to provide consistency to support writing eg sound mats, tricky word mats, thesaurus. The children are taught to use these resources independently to improve their own writing and to check what they have written. Grammar and punctuation are taught across KS1 and the children are encouraged to apply this independently to their own writing.
The children have the opportunity across school to write about a wide variety of contexts and that writing always has a purpose eg thank you letter. They are taught the skills of different styles of writing and success criteria are always in place to support their writing.
We would encourage you to talk and share stories and books with your child, and let your child see you writing and ask them to help eg writing a shopping list.
Children need to be able to say a sentence before they write, so please do lots of talking and sharing stories with your child. Please let the children see you writing and ask them to help, e.g. shopping lists. In school the children will have lots of opportunities to talk about their ideas before recording them. We encourage the children to express themselves verbally, as this helps structure their ideas. We use many forms of recording, not only paper and pens!
The children are taught non-cursive handwriting from Reception following Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Once the children are in Year 2 they will be taught to join the letters cursively. The children practise their writing skills across the curriculum and continue to use alternative methods of recording as appropriate to the child and task. We always make sure that the writing has a purpose and that success criteria are in place to support this process.