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Phonics - how far do you go?!


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I work in a school nursery and almost 2 years ago we were advised we shouldn't be teaching Phase 2 phonics or introducing reading books etc, and should stick to phase 1 phonics. The previous nursery staff had run for many years as quite a formal, 'adult directed at all times' set up, so for some parents this was a bit of a shocking change!! However we went with it and it's worked well. up to now. A recent ins[ecyion has suggested we need to do more on phonics in nursery and this has been interpreted as 'we need to get them through phase 2 before they go to school'.

 

We have been to see another school nursery today and they are definitely sticking to phase 1 only, which we feel is right. We do have a few children who may be ready to start phase 2 as a very small group in the new year before going to school in September and are planning to do this as it meets their level of development but not the majority of the cohort, but I am interested in whether nurseries are routinely doing phase 2!

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I'm in reception now but I know when I was PVI we were always told phase 1 only until reception class and that was the message that was given to maintained nurseries too. Obviously a small number of children might be ready to be stretched a little but it caused issues in at least one school nursery where the nursery children were all moved onto phase 2 and then some children joined the reception class from other settings. My PVI advisor was quite frustrated as she wasn't able to go into the school to tackle it directly and it had a knock on effect for local PVI settings who started losing children to the school nursery because parents were concerned their child would be behind otherwise.

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So many people think that further is better, and then send chidren up to school knowing all the phoneme grapheme correspondences but completely unable to orally segment and blend. So then progress is interrupted whilst they have to learn the skills they would have learnt more easily if they had had that focus in nursery!!

 

The national expectation is phase 1 secure on entry to reception as a minimum and as you say, children who are really secure in all the aspects will be ready to move to phase 2 before that but it's not just about knowing PGCs!!

 

Cx

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Guest ShelleyT

I teach Reception and am please that my Nursery only teach Phase 1. We also have children from other pre-schools come into our Reception and it would be really hard to start them on Phase 2 when the other children are ready to move on. Our Nursery use Jolly Phonics as well as L&S P1, they sing some of the songs so the children are familiar with the sounds. That really helps!

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We are sure we haven't exhausted phase 1 but seem to be under pressure to start phase 2. One of our main school teachers has a little boy of almost 3 and says he is doing Jolly Phonics at his private nursery, which seems wrong to me. I think we need to take the comments made about doing more phonics to be that we make clearer what we are doing, when and why. It won't change what we do but will make it more obvious to others!!

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I teach reception and think you should only be doing phase 1. When we teach phase 2 it is fast paced, 1 sound per day and we start blending, segmenting and handwriting straight away. I just cannot imagine nursery children being ready for this in terms of ability to concentrate for the length of time we spend. There's so much you can do with phase 1 which really helps towards phase 2 and it shouldn't be skimmed over.

Deb

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we are school nursery and only do phase 1, but when playing 'our sound box' we do introduce jolly phonics letters e.g. if toys all begin with s then we show the picture and teach the sound/action as a little extra. we do s,,m,c,t,g,h,p only as we have lots of toys beginning with those sounds!! and s,t,p are taught first in reception so it helps them a little bit. we have our work cut out getting through phase 1 as children enter nursery without knowing any nursery rhymes, making developing awareness of rhyme a lot harder. and listening skills terrible as they are not used to listening and telly is always on loud. distinguishing sounds takes a lot of work!! we stretch our most able by encouraging them to use phonic knowledge in their own emergent writing, and segment/blend. that's more than enough x

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Phase one only at my setting - have been getting some downward pressure from one of our local feeder schools to do phase 2 also, and teach cursive script, but refused for all the reasons above and more, and am not going to change my opinion whatever they say. ^_^

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I'm in reception and I would say focus on phase 1 too - the oral segmenting and blending is much harder than it seems and SO important. I've spent far more time than before doing this before starting phase 2 and it has really paid off.

 

I totally agree.

I have children coming into my Reception class from a variety of nurseries/pre-schools, some come in knowing the phase 2 phonemes, but they find oral blending and/or segmenting very difficult. I wish their nurseries had spent more time on blending and segmenting and less on PGC.

The children whose nurseries focused on phase 1 are not behind the children who learnt PGC, in fact they are more likely to be able to read and spell words independently.

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I am in a day nursery in the preschool room. We use jolly phonics to begin with using the songs that go with each 'sound' to get the children's interest, these songs appear during their play and at home. After they have mastered the songs I move onto phase one of L&S. There are soooo many different angles we take and adapt the activities for individual needs. In the last couple of months before they leave us, I do sometimes introduce the first 6 sound/letters as over the last couple of years I have had groups ready for this next bit, but I never go any further into it as I feel they do not need this til they are at school. Our nursery feeds about 6 schools also so each of them may use differing methods so I never want to confuse the children. This years group tho are stil grasping the songs so dont think we will get that far this time round.

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  • 2 months later...

How far do Reception classes go? I'm at an international school with a lot of second language students. Do you have a goal for the end of Reception, like secure phase 3 or phase 4?

Help please!!!!

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MInimum secure phase 3, but as phase 4 has no new PGCs then this can be done alongside phase 3 for more able children as they bridge into Yr1. Phase 5 secure by the end of yr1 to meet the requirements of the reading check in UK schools and then phase 6 in year 2 aligning with level 2.

 

Cx

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am in a school based nursery class and also EYFS leader (and ex EYC). I firmly believe that as we come to the downhill slope of the academic year I should be doing all I can to get the oral segmenting and blending of Phase One securely in place, but we are under pressure from above to get Phase 2 going, with correct letter formation etc and children writing their name before the enter YR. Therefore we are teaching two letter sounds a week, which in itself is in direct contradiction to the 'fast' pace required by Letters and Sounds and sending name cards home for children to copy. I have protested again and again that this is inappropriate but to no avail.

 

We do have pushy parents in my school (perks of working in a 'nice' area) and just last week I was left in no uncertain terms by my HT that I have to give out reading scheme books before the Easter hols. This really isn't sitting well with me, especially when I think of all the work I and the rest of my ex-EYC colleagues did with ECaT etc. This whole 'readiness for school' lark is doing my head in, and events are transpiring exactly as we all feared when we first saw those three words in the Tickell Review. I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with every day that passes since being back in school and wondering where it will all lead. Grrrr.

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