Phonics & GPS
Phonics is the knowledge of letters and the sounds they make. At Westmeads Community Infant School, phonics is taught through the 'Letters and Sounds' programme. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, actions are taught to help the children remember the sounds.
The children are taught the skills of blending sounds together to read words and segmenting the sounds in a word and choosing the correct letters needed to spell it.
The children work on the Letters and Sounds programme from phases 1-6, according to the phase of 'Letters and Sounds' they are working on. They receive at least 15-20 minutes focused phonics teaching each day.
Our phonics work is carefully tracked for each individual child so that additional support can be given where needed.
We teach GPS (Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling) throughout the school with an increased focus in Year 2.
Children are taught a range of punctuation and are encouraged to experiment with this in their writing. They learn the different word classes, including nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs and the grammatical conventions of writing for a range of purposes.
Spelling is taught with the support of 'Spelling Shed' - an online resource which each child has their own personal log in for. This can be accessed at both school and at home, as well as used by teachers to support their teaching. Each class has a 'spelling toolkit' on display and children are encourage to become 'spelling detectives' and use a range of different strategies to support their spelling including phonological, morphological, orthographical, etymological and visual strategies. These skills are taught to the children and allow them to have access to a range of support for their individual learning style.
Big Spell Beat the Bell
In addition to the teaching of different spelling rules and patterns, children are encouraged to learn the common exception words applicable to their year group at school and at home, which are checked weekly as part of 'Big Spell'.
Each child is sent home with a set of levelled words appropriate to their current ability to learn each week. The children are then presented with these words in school, some spelt correctly and some spelt deliberately incorrectly. The children then have to spot the words that are spelt incorrectly and correct them using a 'green pen' as per the school policy. This method of spotting spelling errors encourages the children to do this not only for this activity but within their own writing, supporting the editing process.
Each time the children correctly spot these errors for two consecutive weeks, they are awarded a certificate and given a new set of words to learn.
The children really enjoy learning to spell in this way as it encourages them to be 'spelling detectives' and teaching them the important skill of editing alongside their spelling.