Phonics and Spelling
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School has benefited from the training given by the literacy consultant Ann Smallberger who is linked with the Knowledge Transfer Centre. We have watched and learned from good practice in phonics and early reading to improve our teaching of reading and writing. This approach is based closely on the letters and sounds document. Holy Cross is also a Reading Recovery school and all our support staff are trained in Better Reading Partners to help children make rapid progress in reading.
All children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 have daily phonics sessions. The training from Ann Smalberger has supported the school’s approach to teaching phonics. All children work through the following phases to ensure they become confident and effective readers and writers:
- Phase 1 focuses on everyday sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and orally segmenting and blending.
- Phase 2 focuses on learning all single sounds and how to read and write them in words.
- Phase 3 focuses on learning simple digraph and trigraph sounds and applying these to words and sentences (for example, igh, oo, ear and er)
- Phase 4 focuses on learning adjacent consonants in words (for example, fl, pr, cr and st)
- Phase 5 focuses on learning alternative digraph and trigraph sounds and applying these to words and sentences (for example, ie, ph, oe and ai)
At Holy Cross, we follow a programme called No Nonsense Spelling, which is delivered in Year 2 to Year 6. In Reception and Year 1, children continue to learn phonics and spelling patterns through their phonics programme. No Nonsense Spelling focuses on the teaching of spelling, embracing knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including National Curriculum statutory words, common exception words (where phonics does not work because it is spelt in an unusual or uncommon way) and words that children personally find difficult. It is often that children can spell words correctly in their weekly spelling test, but are unable to apply the correct spelling in writing. No Nonsense Spelling focuses on the application of spellings into writing.
How is the programme organised? The programme has been broken down into half termly plans. The plans follow a model of six spelling sessions across two weeks, except in Year 2 where sessions are daily. Each lesson is approximately 10 to 15 minutes long, but lesson plans are flexible so that the teaching can reflect the extra time needed on a teaching point if required.
Teaching sequence The programme has been written broadly following a teaching sequence for spelling, whereby each new concept is taught, practised and then applied and assessed. Frequently there is also a ‘Revise’ session before the teaching session. Teachers may also integrate activities for handwriting so that children acquire the physical memory of the spelling pattern as well as the visual.
You can find the National Curriculum statutory words below.