Phonics at Horizon

Phonics Teaching at Horizon Primary Academy

At Horizon Primary Academy, phonics teaching begins in Reception with the aim of pupils becoming fluent readers by the age of seven. We follow the detailed and systemic programme “Read, Write, Ink', supported by a range of other resources.

Phonics teaching is divided into six phases

Phase One – (Reception) lays the foundations. It supports the importance of speaking and listening skills and through a range of exciting and “hands on” activities we introduce the sounds and the letter shapes, encouraging awareness of them in our environment.

Phase Two and Phase Three – (Reception – daily phonics sessions). The letters and sounds are introduced one at a time. Children will learn to pronounce sounds in response to letters and will be encouraged to use these sounds to blend, segment and read simple words and captions. Phase Three includes learning sounds represented by more than one letter and learning letter names, as well as how to read and spell some tricky words. The children are taught how to form each letter for handwriting.

Phase Four – (Reception/ Year One – daily phonics sessions). The main aim of this phase is to consolidate the children’s knowledge and put the skills into practice in both reading and writing. The children are taught more tricky words and high frequency words, and how to read longer words with adjacent consonants. They should be able to form letters independently when writing.

Phase Five – (Year One – daily phonics sessions). The children will broaden their knowledge of sounds for use in reading and writing and will learn more complex phonic patterns.

As the children enter Year One they are put into phonics sets to allow teaching to be directed at specific ability levels, offering support and revision for the struggling learner and challenge for the more able. This system continues into Year Two.

In addition, it is  a statutory requirement that all children take part in a phonics screening check at the end of Year One. This is a short assessment administered by the teacher to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify the children who need extra help so they can be given targeted intervention to improve their reading skills and track their progress. If children do not pass this test, they will resit it in Year 2, with the expectation that they pass.

Phase Six – (Year Two and beyond). This phase encourages children to become fluent readers and increasingly more accurate spellers. The children will be able to read many familiar words automatically and use their skills to decode unfamiliar words. There will be a shift from learning to read to reading to learn. We aim for our children to develop a love of reading, to be able to read for information and for pleasure.

At this stage, this is supplemented by the school's own spelling programme, based on the English National Curriculum for KS1 and 2, employing a range of spelling and reading strategies to support children's reading and spelling skills as they move through school and into adult life.