Progress With Bug Club4th October 2023
We talk to Gillian Wainwright, Reception Teacher and Phonics Lead at Waterloo Primary School, about Bug Club Phonics. Gillian explains how they adopted Bug Club Phonics and how they are using it with great success and the impact it has had on their teaching.
Background – embracing phonics best practice
We adopted Bug Club phonics with fidelity in the 2019-2020 academic year. Prior to this, our phonics results were high but the impact on KS1 assessments was limited. We reviewed the reason behind this, and it felt as if we were teaching to the phonics screening test at the time without a clear focus on the writing process. A local partner school we were working with had a slightly different phonics approach and a clear strategy. They had a stronger focus on the writing process, so we shared their best practice and followed their lead.
Since then, we have developed a strong partnership with the school, and we regularly send members of staff to their school to observe Bug Club Phonics as a CPD opportunity. We have also both completed mock deep dives with each other to prepare for Ofsted and ensure a high standard of phonics teaching throughout the school.
"Bug Club Phonics allows us to support our students fully and gives us consistency across all year groups which means lessons are of a high standard across the school.
Phonics lessons are split into three parts: phonics, writing and reading
We adopted Bug Club Phonics and adapted the partner school's lesson structure to suit our teaching. The phonics lesson is split into three key parts: phonics, writing and reading.
In the phonics section, we work through the revision, and lesson screens on Bug Club Phonics, working on introducing the new phoneme and reading words.
In the spelling section, we work on the spelling screen, in which all children write the words in their phonics books as well as writing sentences.
In the reading section, all children read a Bug Club Phonics book matched to their fluency, practising GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence) that have recently been covered in classroom teaching. These books are either read individually or between two depending on group size.
Each day, reading practice has a different focus:
- Monday – decoding
- Tuesday - decoding and fluency
- Wednesday - punctuation and expression
- Thursday - oral comprehension
- Friday - written comprehension.
Ensuring all children join in throughout phonics lessons
Ensuring everyone is actively engaged has been a real focus for us over the last two years. We want all children to be joining in at all points during the lesson including reading the words on the reading screen. When spelling, all children are supported to segment the words and then write them in their books. We also extend the phase 2 lessons to write dictated sentences linked to the phoneme of the day.
Having all the children actively engaged is supported by our reading section of the lesson where the children read at the same time but at their own pace. This approach works well. When completing pupil voice this week the children have told me they particularly like the Bug Club Phonics books. We recently received funding from our local English Hub, which means we have been able to purchase some of the new Bug Club Independent decodable Disney books. The children love the books and are enjoying using them in their phonics lessons.
Keeping parents informed from the outset
We make sure parents are informed from the outset about our phonics teaching. In Reception we invite parents in for a phonics workshop showing them how to use Bug Club Phonics at home. We send a logbook home with all children at the start of Reception, and we allocate books and games for use at home. We also send home two Bug Club Phonics books a week, matched to children’s fluency. As a school we also complete lesson shares where parents can come in and observe the teaching of a phonics lesson.
Bug Club Phonics is a fast-paced scheme which allows children to make rapid progress
Bug Club Phonics allows us to support our students fully and gives us consistency across all year groups which means lessons are of a high standard across the school. The programme ensures that all children are actively engaged, meaning that they can apply their learning throughout the lesson. Children enjoy the sessions and respond well to the programme, they also enjoy the reading books and sharing these at home with their parents.
Bug Club Phonics is a fast-paced, enjoyable scheme which has allowed our pupils to make rapid progress in phonics as they move through the scheme.