We believe that all of our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through the school.
As a result, our children are able to tackle unfamiliar words as they read. We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Foundations for phonics
We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy.’ These include:
- sharing high-quality stories and poems
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
- Phonics is taught for up to 30 minutes a day. In Reception, this is built up from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Review lessons are taught each Friday, ensuring recap of the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
Phonics teaching in Year 2
Phase 6 phonics is taught throughout Year 2, with the expectation of progress:
- to become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers
- to use spelling guidelines to improve accuracy. For example, to recognise that the position of a phoneme in a word may rule out certain graphemes for that phoneme.
- to use strategies for gaining independence, such as proofreading and use of dictionaries and spell checkers and how fluent joined handwriting supports accurate spelling.
- to learn less common spelling patterns, including w-a, w-or, al, ve, schwa ‘a’
- to be able to use spelling rules to spell
Daily 'keep-up' sessions
- 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.
Working with parents and carers
Decodable reading books are taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources, alongside an annual Phonics training session, 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.
The following video is a resource which may be helpful to parents supporting their child's phonics development: