At Barrowby Church of England Primary School we follow the Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) systematic synthetic phonics programme, validated by the DfE. Our Curriculum map for the teaching of synthetic phonics in Reception and Year 1 follows the ELS week by week progression, to ensure fidelity to the scheme.
ELS is delivered through whole - class lessons, daily. Throughout ELS, each lesson uses the same teaching sequence – show, copy, repeat, until each child is independent, regardless of the year group. Children are given the opportunity to hear and say each sound, first in isolation, and then within words and sentences. When introducing a new grapheme – phoneme correspondence (GPC) a mnemonic or rhyme is used with an accompanying picture to ensure that children understand. Practise and repetition are key.
It is vital that whilst children are learning to read, they read books that match their phonic knowledge. We use decodable readers by The Oxford University Press to support Essential Letters and Sounds teaching in school. These books are carefully matched to every aspect of the ELS programme. Decodable readers are sent home as phonics books each week. Children keep the books for one week and re – read them at least four times in this period, to develop their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. Practise and repetition are key.
Phonic assessments occur in the fifth week of each half term. Assessment of the children’s reading skills is key to ensuring that all children make rapid progress in synthetic phonics.