At Benthal, phonics is taught through a systematic, synthetic phonics programme called Read, Write Inc.
Children are taught new sounds (phonemes) systematically and, alongside the sound (phoneme), they are taught the corresponding letter (grapheme) and its correct formation. Thus they learn how to segment words into their component sounds and then blend them together to aid both reading and writing.
The scheme focuses on the key components of reading – decomposition and comprehension – and the school follows the accompanying reading scheme to ensure that all children are able to read books at an appropriate level of challenge.
The phonics scheme is used from Reception through to Year 2 and, thereafter, it is used as an intervention programme for those children who require a further boost to their reading skills.
Children are placed in homogenous groups that are reviewed on an ongoing basis and the school follows the assessments outlined in the programme.
The school has a Phonics Subject Leader who takes the lead in modelling, monitoring and assessing the phonics programme.
Guided Reading is taught across the school although the format is slightly different in both key stages.
In Key Stage 1 – years 1 and 2 – the children are taught reading through the Read, Write Inc programme for which children are placed in homogenous groups. In addition, there is time during the day for teachers to reinforce phonics and to hear children read individually. There may be one or two groups taking part in additional reading-led activities at this time. The emphasis is on individual reading, consolidation of reading skills and phonic reinforcement during this session.
In Key Stage 2 – years 3 to 6 – the children have a daily guided reading session lasting up to 30 minutes during which activities are planned to address the improvement and consolidation of reading skills.
Teachers use the reading component of the ‘Assessment without Levels’ document to plan activities that address gaps in learning in reading.
Every guided reading session is supported by an additional adult leading a group.