Our children’s phonics journey starts in Reception.
Phonics provides vital foundations to become a fluent reader.
At Ashchurch, we use Twinkl Phonics as our Systematic, Synthetic Phonics Program (SSP). It is high quality and robust in its purpose. With a clear, structured progression through the programme, it allows all of our pupils to meet or exceed the expected standard.
The Twinkl Phonics approach combines rigorous progression with engaging learning materials. We believe that children learn best when they are enjoying their learning and that this comes from a mix of bright, fun lesson resources within a clear and systematic approach that builds children’s skills daily. Broadly speaking, the Twinkl Phonics progression is based on the Letters & Sounds framework, which helps us meet the needs of our service children who may have been using that approach in previous schools before joining us.
During the lessons, children will repeat the elements from the four cornerstones of phonics to ensure that they have rapid and automatic recall of GPCs and tricky/common exception words; each day, they will experience blending and segmenting activities to allow regular practise of these core skills.
Stories are used to provide a stimulus and context for the phonics teaching in Twinkl Phonics lessons. The story content also integrates games to practise the skills taught. So, while children are solving mysteries in Ancient Egypt or journeying down the Mississippi River, they are practising and rehearsing their core phonics skills over and over, in many different and engaging ways. Within Levels 2 and 3, stories last for one lesson. From Level 4 onwards, stories develop over a week and, therefore, act as an additional hook into learning, often being left on a cliffhanger to be resolved in the next lesson.
Twinkl Phonics lessons are also supported by weekly decodable minibooks, which are part of our Core Provision, where children can apply the skills they have learnt in their phonics lessons. As part of our wider SSP provision, there are also follow-up activities that the children can complete independently, in pairs or in groups which relate to the day’s learning.
In addition, we use actions to help the children remember phonemes; this kinaesthetic, visual and auditory approach helps the children to retain the phonemes and supports children with SEND. Decodable reading books are also provided, matched to the children’s phonic phases through the use of use Rhino Readers, Oxford Owl Letters & Sounds and Oxford Reading Tree. We use both individual and guided reading to teach reading alongside phonics. We also use a blend of e-books and physical books.
In conjunction with the teaching of phonics, we also give our children phonics-based activities to take home at the appropriate level and phase. This helps consolidate what has been learnt in school and is a very personalised approach to match the individual need.