Well done! You have made it to the end of Phase 2! That is a brilliant achievement and you should definitely take a moment to reflect on all of your learning at home. We hope that you have seen progress in your child's learning and enjoyed the process. Don't panic though if you don't feel much further forward than when you began...sometimes it is only when you take a step back and reflect on learning that you can see the progress made. Hopefully this week will help you establish what your child has learnt, identify any gaps in their learning, and determine if they are ready to move on to the next phase.
This week you have four final phase 2 high frequency words to learn and then you can take part in an assessment of your child's phase 2 learning. More details on this below...
The Phase 2 Assessment tools we have given you are a different version to what we would do in school in order to make it more accessible to everyone at home. Assessment at home has its own sets of difficulties, however within this current climate we appreciate that we need to ensure we are doing all we can to allow your child to progress.
Things to know when assessing your child...
The most important thing that we must do during assessment as parents and teachers is to remain balanced and non-biased. Of course we want children to succeed and it is easy to be generous when you want them to progress but it is important to be and remain objective and honest. Don't worry if your child hasn't got a sound or word correct, or even if they have got a few wrong. Don't force it or hint for the right answer (which is a natural instinct to do). The best thing you can do is to move on, do not show your child that they haven't mastered it yet if it is incorrect, simply just praise for effort and remain positive! It is important to ensure children's self-esteem and confidence isn't knocked throughout this process. Even though they are only four and five years old they are very receptive, especially in these situations.
If it helps, break the assessment down into small chunks and complete over the week. Give your child the best chance by ideally completing it when they are more alert. We often find mornings are best for this in Reception before they begin to tire!
Most importantly - don't feel deflated if your child's assessment wasn't the result you were hoping for. Every child moves at different stages and by completing this assessment you will have found their strengths which they should be praised for, as well as their targets which identify what they need to work on. It isn't a race or a competition. It is simply about helping your child move forward and if they need to repeat a sound, or revise the high frequency words then that isn't a problem. The problems only begin if a child is moved on to the next phase before they are ready.
Part One - Letter Sound Knowledge
The easiest part of the assessment to do - as well as get wrong! Before completing this part of the assessment with your child we would ask you to revise how to pronounce these letter sounds as it is very easy for both children and adults to sound these out correctly. In order for children to be able to move on to the next phase they must pronounce these sounds with accuracy. Many children tend to add the -uh sound onto words which when they continue through phonics in other phases creates difficulties. By watching the clip on letter pronounciation below it will sharpen your ear to what your child is saying.
Use the phonic recording sheet and phoneme flashcards to go through the phase two letter sounds. A tip for how to do this quickly and without alerting your child to if they got it wrong by putting a cross on the recording sheet - use the flashcards and put any they didn't get right in a separate pile and then cross those ones off or highlight them after you have finished and your child isn't around.
For this section we require children to know 20 or more sounds. If there are any sounds that they do not yet know then we would ask that you focus on these daily to help embed these...it will really help for the next phase.
Part Two - Blending and Segmenting CVC words
Children are asked if they can blend and segment cvc words. Blending is where they are able to say the sounds in the word and blend the sounds together to read the word independently. Segmenting is where they look at a word and can identify the sounds accurately within it. For example sock is s-o-ck, not s-o-c-k.
Use the flashcards above. They have at the top of the word which set that they belong to (blending or segmenting). Go through each flashcard and use the same trick as with the sounds, put the ones they don't get right in a separate pile.
In order for your child to progress to phase 3 they would need to know at least 6 out of 8 in each section. This allows room for simple errors to be made, however any less than this and it shows that this skill is not yet embedded.
Part Three - Tricky Words
In phase 2 your child has learnt lots of high frequency words and these will be covered throughout the other phases, however the tricky words must be embedded to progress. The five tricky words are the, to, I, no, go. These are included in the flashcard set above.
In order for your child to progress they would need to know three out of five tricky words. However we do suggest that if your child is not able to recognise that you must focus on these before starting phase 3. As your child's class teacher we do also look at high frequency word knowledge to help us establish their knowledge and support them with their reading skills. You are welcome to do this also if you would like to.
Part Four - Writing
Children in phase three are expected to be able to record sentences of four - eight words independently. In order to be able to do this they need to be able to hold their pencil sufficiently well to write clearly identifiable letters such as l, t, h, p, n and m. At this point of the year your child has also had lots of rehearsal at writing short simple sentences too. For this part of the assessment ask your child to write the sentence below noting whether it is written clearly enough that it can be read by others and that they were able to record it with some accuracy using their phonic skills...
The pet got hot.
In order for your child to progress we wouldn't expect them to write the above sentence perfectly however the letters must be clear and that they are able to write a short sentence which is decodable/showing some accuracy.
And that's it! Phase 2 Assessment complete!
Now compile your findings. It is helpful to list any errors so you can identify what you need to work on even if they are to move on to phase three to help plug any gaps in their learning.
Result - They are ready to move on!
Great news! Next time you log on for your phonics learning on the Reception Home Learning web page look for 'New to Phase 3' for you to begin the next phase. Please do not click on 'Phase 3' as this is on week 7 of the next phase and it is imperative that your child starts at the beginning.
Result - Help! I don't think my child is ready yet!
Don't worry or feel anxious or frustrated. It may not be what you had hoped for but it isn't awful news. It just means that the next step for your child is to focus on the areas that they made errors and practise more what they need to learn. As teachers we see children at a range of stages throughout the year. Don't feel disheartened or give up...just focus on your child's next steps and if possible spend slightly more time every school day doing phonics to help boost your child with quicker effect.