All Aboard Phonics
At Hazel Slade we embark on our phonics journey using all Aboard Phonics.
In our Reception class our children receive two phonics sessions daily to ensure a good start to the learning of sounds reading for reading.
Year One pupils have a daily phonics session, followed by targeted work and a reading session. This then also prepares them for their Phonics Screening Check at the end of the academic year.
By the time our pupils reach Year Two we aim for our pupils to have a firm grasp of phonics, blending, segmenting, decoding and reading and that they are ready to begin the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling teaching.
If any of our pupils are not yet confident reading words we make provision for them to continue on their phonics learning journey.
Why All Aboard Phonics?
All Aboard Phonics is a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme, designed to make teaching children to read easy and fun. It combines entertaining graphics, games and books for the children with all the resources a teacher needs to deliver successful phonics instruction. It also incorporates a sophisticated intervention process for boosting the progress of any children showing signs of being at risk of falling behind.
Systematic Synthetic Phonics
All Aboard Phonics uses the synthetic phonics method, which means that the phonemes are taught first and then children are taught to blend phonemes together to say words. The programme follows a systematic approach, meaning that the phonemes are introduced in a specific sequence.
In All Aboard Phonics, all the main phonemes of the English language are taught and each phoneme is introduced with a character called a pictophone. This is a memorable, visual prompt to support phonemic awareness. For example, the Toad About to Explode represents the /t/ phoneme and the Oon on the Moon represents the long /oo/ phoneme. In this phase, the variability of phoneme correspondences for the vowels and some consonants will be explained.
Segmenting is the process of identifying the sounds in a word and voicing them individually. Begin to teach segmenting with simple three letter words, say the word and demonstrate the three phonemes by holding up a finger for each individual phoneme. Remember to take care with digraphs, which are two letters that represent one phoneme.
Blending is the process of merging multiple phonemes to say a word. It is an essential skill and can be tricky for some children at first, but with the right approach every child can master it. We have a very particular process for introducing early blending, which is one of the key stumbling blocks for some children. It goes like this:
1. Introduce a word, “cat” for instance.
2. Segment the word into the individual phonemes for the children, which are /k/ /a/ /t/ in this case. Be very precise about saying just the phoneme, not “cuh… a…. tuh”. The /k/ sound is just a little pop at the back of the mouth and the /t/ sound is a little pop between the tongue and top front of the roof of the mouth.
3. Blend the phonemes back together for the children into the word. Now get them to repeat the whole process with a word of their choice. Although they know what they are blending the phonemes back into, we find this process builds confidence much more quickly than if they learn by trying to blend phonemes blind, into an unknown word. When they progress onto digraphs and trigraphs, then the same routine should be used, highlighting how the graphemes have just a single phoneme.
It is very important that a child learns to hold their pencil in the correct way from the outset. It is much more difficult to correct this later on. We encourage children to hold their pencil using a tripod grip between the thumb and first two fingers.
Once we have established the correct way to hold the pencil, then we must turn our focus to children forming each letter the correct way. This includes the direction and starting point for each letter. It is important to revise the formation of each letter regularly and when children are writing, be vigilant in checking their pencil hold.
Of course, parental support here can be invaluable as they can work on a one-to-one basis.
An overview of the teaching structure for phonics