Phonics and Reading
We use the government validated systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) called ‘Little Wandle: Letters & Sounds Revised’. The programme is designed to teach children to read from Reception to Year 2, using the skill of decoding and blending sounds together to form words. “The Little Wandle programme provides a full progression through all commonly occurring GPCs (sounds), working from simple to more complex, and taking into account the frequency of their occurrence in the most commonly encountered words.”
At Roger de Clare C. of E. First School and Nursery, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers, and we believe that Phonics provides the foundation in supporting children to develop these skills in order for this to become achievable.
We start teaching Phonics in Nursery 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. It is our aim that all children will be able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. We also 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.
The teaching of Phonics is fast-paced, and we encourage all children to actively participate in each lesson, and by encouraging the children to take ownership of their learning we are continuously striving for excellence.
We believe that reading and writing is an essential life skill and we are dedicated to enabling our children to become enthused, engaged and successful lifelong readers and writers. To support this, we practise the ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised’ scheme and implement the following:
- sharing high-quality texts across all areas of the curriculum
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes in the EYFS
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language
- Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1 with additional catch up sessions as appropriate.
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.
In the Summer Term of Year 1, children sit the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check.
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 Key Stage 2 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.
Teaching reading through Reading Practice Sessions
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
- use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge (Big Cat Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised)
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
Each reading practice 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:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
Whilst children are working through the SSP, they will access matched decodable texts from our school supplies. These are matched to the Phonics phases and not colour banded.
Ensuring consistency and pace of progress
Every member of staff in our school has been trained to teach reading. This is to ensure we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme. Lesson templates, prompt cards and how to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
The Reading Leader and Senior Leadership Team will use the audit and prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.
Our systematic approach to teaching Phonics, combined with our high expectations and a challenge for all ethos, has had a very positive impact on the reading outcomes for all pupils, particularly in comparison to local and national data.
Our results for the last 4 years are as follows:
Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.
Assessment for learning is used:
- daily within class to identify children needing 'keep-up' support
- weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
Summative assessment is used:
- every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the keep-up support that they need.
- by the Senior Leadership Team and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.
Individual Reading and Reading Practice Sessions after Phonics - Year 2, 3 and 4
As children complete the Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme, children move back onto the colour banded system which is matched carefully to their abilities. They are heard to read at this level with a matched text weekly by either a Teacher or a Teaching Assistant.
There are then 2 further Reading Practice sessions which are run as whole class activities. These focus on different aspects of reading and linked to the 7 comprehension skills: retrieval, inference, summarising, prediction, vocabulary, commentating and authorial choice. These activities will be based on texts from a variety of curriculum areas or topics.
Reading for pleasure
We hope that the variety of activities we offer build successful, independent readers who enjoy reading and want to read for pleasure. In addition to the activities offered as part of the curriculum, every class enjoys a daily storytime session together.
Our Reading Leader is Mrs Kate Rogers. In addition to moderating assessments and observing teaching and learning, the Reading Leader ensures high quality texts are used for all aspects of the English curriculum.
Please click here for videos, word lists and other resources available to support learning at home
Presentation on our approach delivered by Mrs Rogers 25.2.22 - click here
The Masked Reader - can you guess the member of staff reading?
Illustrator Visit from Martin Impey (April 2022)