Phonics teaching at Roundwood School

At Roundwood Primary School, we follow Bug Club Phonics to ensure our children have the knowledge they need to be proficient at word recognition.

In all systematic synthetic phonics, the graphemes (letters) and corresponding phonemes (sounds) are taught just before the introduction of words that contain these letters. To read these words, children are taught to pronounce the individual phonemes (sounds) associated with the graphemes (letters) they see, and then to blend them together (synthesise) to form the word.

Bug Club Phonics takes the view that children are best served by learning the basic 40+ grapheme–phoneme correspondences in the first year at school. The less frequent pronunciations, particularly for vowels, are taught when the children are secure in the basic principles, normally in the second year of school.

Our approach teaches letter sounds very rapidly, explicitly showing children how to build up words with letters from the start, and always includes blending with printed words. We teach spelling alongside, by reversing the blending process and segmenting a word into phonemes and their corresponding grapheme.

In our approach, both blending for reading and segmenting for spelling are fully scaffolded. We model, for the children, how to sound and blend words for reading, but in each lesson children must attempt to sound and blend words for themselves to find out how they are pronounced. We also model for the children how to segment for spelling and continue to scaffold the children through the process with each word they spell. This ensures that they identify each phoneme and choose the appropriate grapheme in turn, until the word is spelt.

Learning strategies used include the practice of word building, blending (pushing sounds together), segmenting (pulling sounds apart) which helps children to read and spell. Dictation is also used to help with writing and spelling along with empowering children to have a go.

Teaching techniques used include a script format when teaching to ensure accurate language, and sounds are presented in whole words along with the modelling of precise pronunciation. The alphabet song is sung twice in every lesson to ensure children are secure with letter names, and teaching videos are used with known bug club characters to introduce each phoneme and its pronunciation.

High frequency decodable common words are included for reading and spelling throughout Bug Club Phonics along with not fully decodable (irregular) words once referred to as tricky words. Many of these words have spellings that have irregular pronunciations; these words are always deemed ‘tricky’, e.g. ‘one’. However, some of the words in the list have regular pronunciations and become fully decodable later on as the phonics teaching progresses; for example, ‘like’ becomes completely decodable when split digraphs are taught.

Language Sessions occur at the end of each Unit. These Sessions combine the teaching of irregular words with using words in the context of captions and sentences. To read with fluency and comprehension, children need to apply and develop the skills taught during the systematic synthetic phonics teaching element of the programme. The Language Sessions serve to consolidate the teaching of reading and spelling in the Phoneme Sessions, and promote early comprehension skills.

Please see our reference documents below for more guidance. These will help you to understand our approach further along with give you an understanding of what sounds are taught in what year group and how reading is taught alongside. Our reference documents also explain the breakdown of our book colour bands  and how you can support reading at home. There is guidance on how to access your child’s Bug Club Phonics account which they will use as part of their homework routine.