Reading and Phonics in Early Years
In the Early Years, children learn through a wide variety of approaches. This includes:
- Direct adult teaching input
- Learning through play in a carefully planned environment
- Learning through peers
- Learning through scaffolding during play
- Learning through small groups and focus activities
- Experiences, trips and visits
Children in the Early Years need a balanced curriculum which includes teaching which has been carefully planned according to their developing needs and interests, as well as allowing plenty of time for spontaneous child-initiated learning. They need organised, adult-guided learning to bring new ideas and experiences into their lives and for the direct teaching of new skills and concepts. These will deepen or consolidate their learning over time.
At Oasis Academy Clarksfield, we believe reading is the catalyst to support children's learning across the whole curriculum. We strive for children to become enthusiastic, independent, and reflective learners who are able to read with fluency, accuracy and understanding.
- 2-3 guided reading sessions every week
- Daily whole class reading
- Inviting and accessible reading corners in each classroom and in outdoor environment to promote a love of reading
- Quality selection of books in class libraries
- Access to the EYFS/KS1 library
- Year 6 reading buddies to develop a love of reading
- 1:1 reading each week for every child
- Reading as a golden thread through the curriculum where all learning is derived from quality texts
- Texts selected to match interests of children
- Books available in all areas of the environment
- Lots of opportunities to develop reading in the environment e.g. name writing cards, signs, print in the environment, clearly labelled resources etc.
- Home school reading developed through Stay and Play sessions
- Children choose a ‘bedtime’ book to take home to share with their family to develop a love of reading
Read, Write INC.
At Oasis Academy Clarksfield, we ensure that we deliver strong and consistent phonics teaching. We use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by
Ruth Miskin. Read Write Inc is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. As part of this, children have 2 daily, 30 minute phonics sessions in small groups where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Children work through the different phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge. All staff in EYFS and KS1 are trained in delivering the 30 minute speed sound session using RWI as the discrete phonics session. To complement their phonics learning, children have access to a phonetically decodable book which they access via their personal iPads. These books are read in the phonics sessions and practised at home. Phonics workshops are available for parents to support them to read the phonetically decodable books with their child. This is also a focus during EYFS stay and play sessions. To ensure children receive exactly what they need, phonics is streamed across EYFS and KS1.
Texts within the guided reading library are organised on a gradient of challenge with each title evaluated for suitability using the five-criterion guide described by the Institute of Education, University of London. At each stage of learning, appropriate challenge increases according to:
1. Complexity of language structure.
2. Complexity of book structure.
3. Application of the alphabetic code.
4. Text layout.
5. The changing role of illustrations.
Pupils are expected to learn to self-regulate and develop metacognitive awareness right from the very earliest stage of learning to read. For this reason we do not only use phonically decodable texts that closely match their phonic phase as this would significantly reduce our pupils ability to self-regulate, to search and discover patterns for themselves, in particular those that have not been taught, to develop a wide range of word-analysis strategies and to monitor their comprehension – none of which is achievable with contrived text.
However, we do recognise that for some pupils, the daily discrete phonics lesson is not enough. For those pupils who are finding the skill of synthesising the sounds in words particularly challenging at the earliest stages (phase 2 and 3 and sometimes 4) and for those pupils at risk of not passing the screening check in Y1, that supplementary practice of these skills using decodable texts might be of some benefit. Teachers will therefore sometimes select texts from the phonics library for supplementary practice of these skills. Text within this library closely match progression in the school phonics programme and books from here will be used to target pupils who require this additional practice. Teachers access ongoing CPD and support in order to deepen pedagogical understanding on the teaching and learning of reading and phonics. They use their professional judgement to ensure that when teaching reading and phonics, the right text is the hands of the children with clear learning intentions shared and reading skills explicitly taught and rehearsed.
- Closing Vocabulary Gap approach embedded
- ELKLAN to support the development of early language
- Wellcomm as a HQFT approach and selected intervention
- Language modelled by staff within provision
- Language rich environment
- Language learnt transferred into role-play
- Weekly Tales Toolkit sessions to develop speech and language
- Opportunities in all lessons to develop speech and language
The Write Stuff is used in EYFS to develop children’s vocabulary, talk and writing. Embedding this through the use of the FANTASTIC lenses in Nursery to promote talk and the development of vocabulary in all areas of learning lays a strong foundation for the use of the lenses to form the basis of writing in Reception and beyond. The approach is rooted in early language development, inspiring and introducing new words to children in meaningful ways to enable them to navigate the world.
- Bespoke, research informed approach to our own ‘Writing Process’ through instructional teaching
- Reading and writing linked through quality texts
- Spellings linked to each child’s current phonics learning
- Handwriting and spelling continually revisited
In Early Years, we value the importance of storytelling, of children being read to and told stories. We believe that conversation and storytelling widen a child’s vocabulary, and a wide vocabulary is decisive in becoming a confident reader. Children in Early Years take part in a daily class read to enable them to see modelled quality reading, build their understanding of how to read a text and maximise their opportunities to listen and engage with a text. Children also engage in a weekly Tales Toolkit session to develop their oral story telling skills.