Matchborough First School Academy

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Matchborough First School Academy

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The subject leader is Mrs Abbott  


Subject Definition 





At Matchborough we believe that phonics should be taught in a structured, systematic way through lessons that are lively, interactive and fun for our children.

Phonics skills are vital in the development of reading and writing and we aim to support our children as they learn how to crack the phonic code.

Phonics begins with differentiating between sounds and learning about rhyme and alliteration before moving on to listening to phonemes (units of sound) and how they relate to graphemes (the letters and groups of letters we see) in words.

Children learn that phonemes can be represented by one, two, three or sometimes four letters. They learn to blend sounds to read and segment sounds in words to spell. Mastering the phonic code will support children as they develop reading and writing skills giving them the independence to flourish in their learning journey.

We use ‘Monster Phonics’ as our main teaching resource, this follows the progression of ‘Letters and Sounds’. Monster Phonics is rigorous but great fun. It is research led and makes learning memorable, engaging and fun. Through the introduction of the monsters who live in Monster Land, children build up a knowledge of graphemes and the sounds that they make because they link sounds to the monsters. Colour is also used when new graphemes are introduced and this helps the children to link the grapheme and the phoneme with the engaging monster characters. This is particularly helpful to the children when they are learning the long vowel sounds, silent letters and ‘Tricky ‘ words that don’t follow the regular phonic code. Our children love learning with the monsters!





What is the Year One Phonics Check?


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Every year children throughout the country take part in a phonic screening check during a week in June. Children in year 2 also take the check if they do not achieve the required result when in year 1 or they have not taken the check before. 

The check contains 40 words. Each child sits one to-one with their teacher and reads each word aloud. The check takes approximately 10 minutes per child, although all children are different and will complete the check at their own pace. The list of words the children read is a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo words (nonsense words).The children are used to reading these words in their phonic lessons. We call them ‘Alien words’.

Nonsense words are included because they will be new to all pupils; they do not favour children with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. The children will know if the word they are reading is a nonsense word because there will be a picture of an alien next to it.

Children at Matchborough practise reading similar lists of words regularly so that they are not phased by the check. 

The check is a way of assessing how well each child is progressing in their phonic skills and informs us of any gaps in their phonic knowledge. Parents of Year One pupils will be invited into school a few weeks before the check for an informal information session. Parents are informed of phonic check results at the end of the school year.


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