Phonics forms a crucial part of our reading pedagogy as it is fundamental for early reading and writing. At Farnborough, we are determined for our children to develop a true love for reading and writing. For every child, we inspire the children to become readers and writers who make links with the real world and imaginary world. We wish children to be aspirational, to read and write, to their best ability, regardless of their background, needs or abilities. Part of the children’s reading and writing journey is their learning of phonics. Farnborough enables children to become confident, able readers who aspire to read a variety of texts, fiction, and non-fiction in different contexts.
Our children in Reception and KS1 love learning phonics daily using a highly structured, consistent and progressive approach. Within the framework of “Bug Club”, each phonics session adheres to a consistent structure. It encompasses the key stages of introduction, revision, and review, followed by the teaching phase, ample opportunities for practice, and real-world application. This structured approach ensures that pupils not only acquire new phonetic sounds but also seamlessly integrate these sounds into their reading of unfamiliar words. Throughout these sessions, pupils actively engage in decoding, segmenting, and blending exercises, all while becoming proficient in using subject-specific technical vocabulary such as “phoneme” and “digraph.” Our lessons are thoughtfully tailored to meet the specific needs of our pupils, informed by ongoing phonics assessments, which in turn guide our planning and streaming within year groups.
During the daily direct teaching sessions, our educators serve as exemplary models, enunciating sounds clearly and attentively assessing pupils’ decoding. They identify those pupils who have grasped the concept securely and are ready to progress while also providing necessary support to those who may need further reinforcement. Addressing misconceptions is an integral part of our instructional approach, ensuring that all pupils progress at their optimal pace. Moreover, we actively involve our pupils as participants in every lesson, fostering engagement and active learning.
The national Phonics screening check is performed in June for Year 1. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who do not meet the required standard for the check in year 1 enter again in year 2. Additional support is put in place.
It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. We encourage parents to share books with their children at home and read their decodable books daily.
Children are given carefully matched, levelled decodable books from the Bug Club scheme to take home in KS1 (and KS2 where children are receiving interventions to support their phonetic knowledge).
Children are fluent readers at the end of the early reading stage at Farnborough. Their confidence and ability in reading grows due to their phonics development, becoming independent readers, ready to read a variety of texts, with rich vocabulary. Phonics opens the children’s world to reading and writing for life in work life, family life and for lifelong leisure interests.