Phonics

Research shows that a child who reads every day does better at every stage of their education. We see this in school, where the children who read the most, make the most progress. We are very fortunate at our school to have the support of families and community partners who help promote the importance of regular reading. This is reflected in the results we achieve.

We are committed to teaching our children to become skilled readers who develop a comprehensive understanding of words, language and texts as they progress through school. We use a range of strategies to develop a love of reading so that children can read for purpose and pleasure.

It adds up
If you read for just 15 minutes per day, in one year you will have read over a million words!

Parents Phonics Presentation Link

Early Reading and Phonics

In Autumn 2021, we researched which of the DfE validated phonics programmes to adopt. We chose Little Wandle.

Little Wandle has been devised so that children are taught a cumulative progression of GPCs that they can immediately practise through oral blending, reading and spelling words and sentences

  • Children can review and revise GPCs and words daily, weekly and across terms and years in order to move this knowledge into their long term memory.
  • This momentum of progress is aspirational yet achievable, if schools maintain pace, practice and participation by all children.
  • The spiralling curriculum, which includes periods of review, ensures that all children have adequate time to learn new GPCs, then practise, retrieve and apply their learning so that it moves into the long term memory and reading becomes automatic and fluent.
  • The programme lends itself to a mastery approach to teaching phonics. This means that all children in the class learn the same content at the same time and it applies the principle of all the children keeping up.

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. For Reception children, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
  • We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
    • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
    • Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace.

If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing they are quickly identified and supported through our ‘Rapid Catch-up Programme’ that mirrors the main phonics programme but has a faster pace. The programme involves repeated practice in blending, word reading and spelling in each lesson. Rapid Catch-up phonics lessons for these children are timetabled three times a week.

 

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week.

These;

  • Are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children.
  • We use books matched to children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids.
  • Are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.

Each reading session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:

  • Decoding – word reading
  • Prosody – teaching children to read with understanding and expression.
  • Comprehension – teaching children to understand the text.

In Reception these reading sessions start as soon as children can blend from Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.

In Year 2 and Year 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books. Children are fluent readers when they can read at the pace of 90 words per minute.

Home Reading – EYFS and Year One

The decodable reading book can be taken home to ensure that the success is shared at home on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

phonically decodable books that go home have been carefully matched to the children’s phonic ability using Little Wandle guidance ‘Matching 2007 Letters and Sounds Big Cat Phonics books to Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.’

We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.

Monday Take home a book to enjoy sharing at home.
Tuesday Take home a book to enjoy sharing at home.
Wednesday Take home a book to enjoy sharing at home.
Thursday Take home the book from the reading sessions to share success at home.
Friday Take home the book from the reading sessions to share success at home.

Please click on the Phonics and Early Reading Intent to look at the reading books in our scheme and how they are carefully matched to the phonic ability of the children.

Phonics Glossary

We hope the following glossary is useful to you when using our Letters and Sounds pages. Always feel free to come in and talk to us if you require any further support.

  • blending
    Blending is the skill of joining sounds together to read words. Children are taught to say the separate sounds in a word and to then blend them together to decode the word.
  • digraph
    A digraph is a sound that is represented by two letters e.g. the sound ‘a’ in rain is represented by the digraph ‘ai’.
  • grapheme
    A grapheme is a visual representation of a sound e.g. a letter or a group of letters. Some sounds are represented by a single letter whilst others are represented by more than one letter.
  • phoneme
    A phoneme is a unit of sound e.g. the word ‘cat’ contains three phonemes; c – a – t.
  • segmenting
    Segmenting is the opposite of blending. Children are taught to segment a word into its separate sounds in order to spell it.
  • split digraph
    A split digraph is a digraph that is separated by other letters e.g. the sound ‘a’ in the word take is represented by the split digraph a-e.
Autumn 1 sounds

Download a guide to how children are taught to say their sounds in Reception Autumn 1 Link

Autumn 2 sounds

Download a guide to how children are taught to say their sounds in Reception Autumn 2 Link

How to write capital letters

Download a guide to how children are taught to write capital letters Link

Spring 1 sounds

Download a guide to how children are taught to say their sounds in Reception Spring 1 Link

Reading in Early Years and Key Stage 1

Children are taught individual sounds, when reading they say each of the sounds and when they are ready they ‘blend’ the sounds to form a word. For example, c-a-t – cat.

For a child to enjoy reading, they need to be able to access texts at their level. The books that children use are matched to their phonic knowledge, ensuring all words are decodable. We use a range of books that are matched to children’s phonic knowledge but mainly use the Rising Stars reading scheme.

Once a child is showing the ability to segment and blend sounds they will be sent home an individual reading book. It is important that reading with your child is a positive experience, so please make sure this is done at a time when they are not too tired. It is a good idea to read the book more than once so that your child becomes more fluent at segmenting and blending sounds to form words. Children have an opportunity to change their books twice a week.

Alongside this, all children have an opportunity to read with an adult in school. This may be 1:1 or in a small group. Children will read the same book three times. This is to develop:

  • Decoding
  • Fluency
  • Comprehension
  • Support for Children

If a child is struggling to keep up with the phonics taught in school they will have an opportunity to revisit the sound they are learning in an afternoon. This is a short session with the class teacher or teaching assistant to revise and practise the sound. Your child’s class teacher will keep you informed if your child is struggling to retain and apply the sounds so that you can practise some phonics games at home too.

 

Reading in Key Stage 2

In key stage 2, children have opportunity to read and examine texts in their daily English lessons. English lessons are planned around the use of high-quality texts and often linked to the overarching theme for that half term.

Specific reading skills are taught and practised in guided reading sessions. Guided reading is taught in small groups with an adult, according to the reading ability of the child. While reading skills are being taught explicitly, the reading content is relevant, inspiring and purposeful and becomes the driver for developing wider subject knowledge.

All children in key stage 2 have their own individual reading book. Children can select a book from a wide range of genres in our school library. We use ‘key performance indicators’ (see assessment page) to monitor the progress children are making in reading. Once a pupil has finished reading a book, they write a book review which we keep records of.

We expect that children read at home for 20 minutes a night. This could be on their own or to an adult.

Phase 1 is the very start of your child’s journey. It is all about listening to sounds and learning to discriminate between different sounds. The Phase focuses on sounds in everyday life rather than sounds in words. Phase 1 lays the essential foundations for all the learning that follows. If your child cannot identify individual sounds in the everyday world and differentiate between them e.g. a car horn and a boiling kettle, then they will struggle to begin hearing the separate sounds that make up words.

Letters are not introduced until Phase 2. If you have a pre-school child or a child early in Reception then you will find these activities particularly useful. If your child is a little older but struggles to hear the ‘separate sounds in words’ then you may also find it useful to return to some of these activities.

How we teach phonics in school

https://youtu.be/IL5YUCPyC5I

https://youtu.be/NTC0PbtmeUA

https://youtu.be/VtoJZMVgy1I

Resources

http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/