If you're a Facebook user and interested in phonics, why not join our Facebook group 'The Phonics Club'? Whatever your role or interest in phonics you'll be able to access support, advice and professional development training in a relaxed and friendly online environment. It's a great way to be in touch with Abigail Steel directly as well as being able to interact and support each other.
This question is something that may have been floating around your head for a while. It is a question that can bring to the surface lots of debate and concern - ‘Just let them play!’, ‘They are far too young for Phonics’, ‘They have more important skills to learn’, ‘Phonics is taught when children start school, not in Nursery’. These are maybe just a few of the comments that you have heard or even thought of yourself. There has been a lot of discussion around this subject recently, and educators are becoming confused about knowing when to start phonics.
There are many common myths regarding learners with SEND learning to read using a phonics approach:
by Sarah Donald, Headteacher
We are a small rural school, situated in North East Fife in Scotland. Our current role is 39 pupils across two multi-composite classes (P1-4, P5-7).
We have a free meal entitlement of 10%. Most children live in SIMD 8. We also have a 0.3 staffing additionality which will be used to support the delivery of the Rocket Phonics programme.
The literacy of children in our P1-3 cohorts has been significantly impacted by remote learning with almost all children being behind the expected literacy levels for their age and stage. Furthermore, in the upper stages, spelling is weak across all stages which can be attributed to poor phonics provision over recent years.
Phonics is more successful when teachers fully understand what, why and how they are teaching. We know that success, and enjoyment, is less likely when teachers simply 'deliver' lessons. We also know that teachers are individuals, with different teaching styles and preferences.
We want you to follow the guidance for Rocket Phonics but, importantly, we also want you to take ownership of it and to enjoy it. The following advice can be adapted to suit the needs of your school and your children:
There are some fundamental concepts that cannot be compromised on if you want to be successful with phonics. These are essentials, and you'll find they are a common thread across other high quality systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programmes, research studies and expert guidance. They are central to the pedagogy behind the Rocket Phonics programme.
Approximately 15% of the pupils in your setting could have an identified special educational need and/or disability (SEND). In order to effectively meet the needs of every pupil in your setting, you might want to adapt your teaching approach and the materials you use.
It is crucial to know your pupils well and treat them as individuals in order to fully meet their needs. This means that we cannot generalise when recommending adaptations to approaches or materials. We can merely make suggestions for you to consider in the context of knowing each pupil.
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