Reading is the key that enables children to access and engage with the whole curriculum so the ability to efficiently decode is essential. At Brookwood Primary School, we use the Bug Club phonics programme to teach children the phonics code together with blending and segmenting skills. Each and every child is started on their ‘reading journey’ with no child left behind.
Bug Club is a rigorous, comprehensive and inclusive programme for all children learning to read. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to blend them to read and segment them to spell. Pictures are used to aid children’s retention and recall of phonemes for reading and spelling as well as correct letter formation.
The lessons consist of a sound teaching segment followed by the reading and writing practical activities. Each reading book is matched to the level at which the child is working at. The reading books give children a chance to practice de-coding skills, read non-decodable (tricky) words, discuss the text and engage in comprehension activities. The writing activities include handwriting, dictation, spelling, as well as oral rehearsal, independent idea generation and sentence construction.
The Bug Club sessions occur each day to ensure the continuity and pace of the programme is key to accelerating the progress of children’s reading development. All staff are trained, and the expectation is that these staff will provide cover for staff absence, should the need arise. In this way, daily provision is consistent and uninterrupted.
Where appropriate, pupils work within ability groups which are defined by their performance on Bug Club phonic assessments and in year one the phonics screening practice checks. Pupils are re-assessed at the end of each phase (or as needed) and the groups are reorganised accordingly.
Delivery of Phonics:
• Initial sounds are taught in a specific order.
• Sounds taught should be ‘pure’ ie ‘b’, not ‘buh’ as this is central to phonic teaching and ability to recognise sounds in words.
• Children are to be taught that the number of graphemes in a word always corresponds to the number of phonemes. This greatly aids spelling.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage one. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Check (PSC) at the end of Year one. Children who are new to their English reading journey on entry to our school will begin their phonics journey with initial sounds, progressing through the Bug Club programme with regular assessment identifying next steps. Children identified as making limited progress will be targeted for intervention with a focus on learning initial sounds and oral blending skills before moving onto word reading. If a child reaches the end of KS1 without reading skills being in place, then Bug Club phonics teaching will be offered throughout KS2 until the child is confident in knowing their sounds and in applying their blending and segmenting skills.