Phonics and Early Reading
At Aloeric Primary School, we believe that all 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 school.
As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Aloeric Primary School, we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
How we teach phonics
- In Reception and Year 1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
- Phonics starts in Reception in week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start.
- By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4.
- By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5.
- Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible.
- Year 1 lessons are 30 minutes long.
- In Y2-Y6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting 10 minutes in length and take place at least three times a week.
Reading practice sessions
- Children across Reception and Year 1, apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
- These sessions are 20 minutes long and happen twice a week and focuses on decoding, prosody and comprehension. There are approximately 6 children in a group.
- The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
- The children then take the same book home on a Friday to ensure success is shared with the family.
- In Reception these sessions start in week 5. Children who are not decoding, will take home a wordless book.
How do we assess phonic knowledge?
- In Reception and Year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment).
- Children identified in Reception and Year 1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
- In Reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments.
- The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
- Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2.
- Children who are in Y2-Y6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.
Supporting your child with reading
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.
There are two types of reading book that your child will bring home:
A reading practice book. This will be the fully decodable book that your child has been reading in their reading practice sessions in school. This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
A sharing book. Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together. Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, and explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!
You can visit the Little Wandle website to view resources for parents including videos explaining how we teach phonics, information about books and pronunciation videos:
Helpful documents for parents:
- Tricky words - words that cannot be sounded out, but need to be learned by heart e.g. the, no, was.
- High frequency words - words that children see a lot in books that they read, or that they need when they write eg and.
- Phoneme - the smallest unit of sound in a word e.g. c/a/t.
- Grapheme - letter(s) representing one sound e.g. s, sh
- Digraph - two letters representing one sound e.g. ch, ee
- Split digraph - two letters, which work as a pair, split, to represent one sound eg a-e as in cake
- Trigraph - three letters representing one sound e.g. igh as in night
- Segment - hearing the individual phonemes within a word
- Blending - merging the individual phonemes together to pronounce a word, children 'sound talk' each grapheme written down and then blend together to read
Phonics Screening Check
Children in Year 1 throughout the country are tested on their reading, using their phonic knowledge, each year in June. In 2021, children Year 2 took part in November as the screening did not take place the last academic year due to COVID-19.
Each child will sit one-to-one with their teacher and read 40 words (20 real words and 20 pseudo words). It usually takes around 10-15 minutes. The end of year report will have your child's phonics screening check mark included.