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Pear Tree Mead Academy

Pear Tree Mead Academy

Phonics and Reading


Essential Letters and Sounds Phonics Scheme

Teaching and Learning –

At Pear Tree Mead we follow the phonics scheme Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS). ELS teaches children to read using a systematic synthetic phonics approach. It is designed to be used as part of an early learning environment that is rich in talk and story, where children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches children to: decode by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together, to read fluently, encode by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.


ELS whole-class, daily phonics teaching begins in Reception. Through the rigorous ELS teaching programme, children will build an immediate understanding of the relationship between the sounds they can hear and say (phonemes) and the written sounds (graphemes). Every ELS lesson has been designed to ensure that the minimum cognitive load is placed on the learner. The structure of the lessons allows children to predict what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This enables them to focus on the learning rather than the process.


At Pear Tree Mead we promote a consistent approach and want good delivery of phonics across EYFS and KS1


We promote a show, copy and repeat approach and the scheme enables lots of practise and consolidation. Practise and repetition are key.


Daily phonics is at Pear Tree Mead Phonics is taught as explicit sessions. Most of these are whole class sessions, with a few group adaptions to support some learners. The skills children learn are also applied across other subjects and learning provision throughout the week.


· Nursery-Phonics sessions are taught 4 times a week, lots of phonics learning is incorporated in provision. Nursery follows phase 1 of letters and sounds.

· Reception-Phonics sessions are taught daily following ELS. In the first few weeks during baseline assessments they recap phase 1. Then they begin phase 2 following the ELS scheme sessions. Additional phonics development takes place during adult focused learning sessions and child-initiated phonics learning during play.

· Year 1-Phonics sessions are taught twice a day. The morning sessions follow the ELS lessons. The afternoon session is a revision and consolidation session using various approaches, resources and interactive activities.

· Year 2-Phonics/ spelling sessions are taught daily. This continues ELS and their learning and targets also link to phase 5 and national curriculum expectations.


What does the progression outline for phonics look like?

(The Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) Handbook outlines the scheme overview and the progression of sounds/words.)

Sessions follow the letters and sounds progression in the ELS handbook. The children learn the graphemes in the progression order ELS has outlined. At Pear Tree Mead Reception covers phases 1,2,3 and 4. Then in year 1 children recap earlier phases and they start to learn phase 5. Year 2 includes a lot of recap and consolidation and they continue the phase 5 learning they start in year 1. Classes are moved on when the majority of children are ready, assessments support us with identifying when this will occur.

This is an overview of the end of year expectations:

· By the end of Pre-school children will have been taught aspects 1-3 of phase 1.

· By the end of nursery, children are expected to have a good phonological awareness and will have been taught all aspects in phase 1.

· By the end of Reception, children are expected to know all the phase 2 and 3 sounds and should be applying their phase 2,3 and 4 phonics knowledge in their reading and writing.

· By the end of Year 1, children are expected to know all the phase 2 and 3 sounds, the phase 5 alternative graphemes (up to split digraphs) and start to be aware of some of the later phase 5 alternative pronunciations. They should be applying their phonic knowledge in their reading and writing.

· By the end of Year 2 they should be confident to read and spell words from Phase 5 and Phase 6 and will be moving on to more complex knowledge of spelling rules and patterns within the national curriculum.

· Most children will have completed the phonics programme by the end of Year 2. As children move through year 2 and into Key Stage 2 they will continue to learn a wider range of spelling rules and letter patterns to ensure they become fluent confident spellers.


How is the subject delivered to give the best impact?

Teachers are expected to follow the planning and whiteboard sessions for the ELS scheme. Sessions have a good pace and cover the ELS scheme teaching structure. Skills learnt in discrete phonics sessions are applied within other lessons across the day and other curriculum subject areas. Members of staff have support from the phonics subject leader and are trained to use the ELS scheme.

How is Phonics assessed?

Classes use internal assessment across the year and at the end of the year. This informs them of areas that need further coverage, gaps in learning, when children are ready to move on and it helps identify any interventions that may be required.

National assessments:

The children phonics learning is also assessed using these national assessments:

· End of early year Reception Early Learning Goals (GLD)

· End of Year 1 national phonics screening check. Children are required to read 20 real and 20 nonsense words to assess their ability to decode words phonetically.  We call these nonsense words ‘alien words’ and children will have practised these in their phonics lessons in Year R and Year 1

· Year 2 SATS reading and writing assessments.


What provision do children get if they don’t meet the end of year expectations?

Interventions are provided to support children where there are gaps in learning. Some of these take a 1-1 approach others are group based. Formative and summative assessments (both internal and national) inform teachers who requires intervention. Interventions take place across reception, year 1 and year 2. Year 1 children also take part in an additional daily phonics session to support consolidation of learning.


What will classroom and outdoor environments look like?

Classes have the current phonics they are learning on display. Each class has a set of ELS flashcards and also ELS posters are on display in KS1. The Children also have access to sound mats and other phonics resources which can support them with applying their phonics across curriculum areas. Early years provision and KS1 provision areas have resources which the children can access to further their phonics development. Outdoor areas e.g. the KS1 playground and early years outdoor areas also provide phonics development opportunities.



Developing a love of books and reading

At PTM we promote the enjoyment of reading and encourage children to develop a life-long love of books.

In school we have a wide range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books for children to immerse themselves and enjoy their reading experiences every day.

All children take part in a dedicated reading session in class every day known as ‘quiet reading time’.  In these sessions children will take part in guided reading, complete comprehension tasks, read online books or read independently.  The class teacher also reads to the children and promotes a range of authors and classic novels through their teaching of the English Curriculum.


What books do we use to teach reading?

In the Early Years and KS1 we use Oxford Reading Tree as a core teaching resource.  This is supplemented by a range of other well-known reading schemes and picture books to ensure our children read widely and have access to both fiction and non-fiction books.  In KS2 children’s comprehension and reading stamina is developed through reading longer novels, plays, poetry and a wide range of non-fiction texts.


Reading at home

At PTM we expect children to read at home on a regular basis and it forms a key component of our home learning expectations.  Children can change their books every day and keep a reading log to record their reading at home.



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