FFT: Success for All Phonics
At Meanwood CE Primary School we use the validated systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) Success for All Phonics. This programme is designed for daily use from the beginning of Reception to the end of Year 1. The systematic progression within the programme allows grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) to be taught in order through a phased progression, children to practise the skills of blending and segmenting as new GPCs are taught and reinforced as well as developing an increasing bank of common exception words. The SSP has been successfully introduced in Reception class in February 2022, into Year 1 in September 2022 and into Year 2 in September 2023. In year Reception and 1, children not only have a dedicated phonics lessons but also have a daily reading lessons too. In Year 2, children have a daily spellings lesson and reading/writing lesson. Our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers by the end of KS1.
The phonics lessons follow a consistent approach which enables lessons to be taught with pace as everyone understands the routine and what is expected. Success for All Phonics is based on an evidence-based pedagogy around cooperative learning. In reception, children work on partnerships, engaging in partner talk and extending their own thinking about decoding and comprehension. By year 1, their partnership is extended to working in teams of four to five children. The reading session is linked to the weekly shared reader which is designed to be read over five days. Shared readers are fully decodable texts in a wide range of genres that include familiar characters, settings and topics. It is important that children don't simply know their phonics but can apply that knowledge to the skill of reading itself. The shared readers allow children to practise reading the new and recently taught GPCs as well as the common exception words to which they have been introduced.
As well as these phonically decodable readers which are specifically linked to the lesson plans, children are read to during story time on a daily basis. Storytime is strongly promoted in all of our classes, but we recognise the importance of this in developing children's comprehension skills at a young age. By listening to an adult reading fluently and participating in a guided discussion of the content, children become familiar with the text. This enables them to develop skills in retelling stories and retrieving information. More complex comprehension skills such as inferring meanings can also be developed.
Success for All Phonics provides an online Reading Assessment Tool that tests children's knowledge of GPCs, word decoding, reading fluency and comprehension. Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 teachers assess every half term to ensure that they know exactly which phonics skills have been mastered by children. This provides reports for teachers that identifies pupils so they can target their teaching to close any gaps in a child's phonics knowledge or skills.
Children are quickly identified after each lesson or weekly sequence, and our keep up approach allows any children who may benefit from small group interventions to have extra phonics interventions in addition to the daily phonics lesson. This early intervention helps to ensure that the lowest 20% of children can make progress and reach age-related expectations and this helps to also secure success for all children.
We hold a meeting at the beginning of the academic year for reception parents and year 1 parents. These two meetings allow our highly skilled phonics teachers and phonics lead to share their knowledge regarding the synthetic phonics programme, correct pronunciation and terminology so that parents can support their child at home as much as possible.