At Dearham Primary School, we believe 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 nursery and follow the Programme Overview_Reception and Year 1.indd (littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk) which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
At Dearham Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time the children leave us we want them to read confidently for meaning and to regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
Your children’s reading experience is much more than reading the book that comes home with them. Reading is happening all the time in the classroom and in school. As Parents, you can support this journey through regular reading at home. Reading to and with your child every evening can make a dramatic difference to achievement in school
We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Dearham, 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 and Early Reading (Early Years and KS1)
- In the nursery, children follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for Phonics’ guidance after half term. The focus is on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes.
- In reception and Y1, 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.
- Children in year 2 recap any gaps in their phonics knowledge in the autumn term.
- Reception lessons start at 15 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing quickly to 30 minutes.
- Y1 lessons are 30 minutes long.
Reading practice sessions
- Children across reception, year 1, year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
- These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately six 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 the following week to ensure success is shared with the family.
- In reception, these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not yet blending take a wordless book home.
How do we assess phonic knowledge?
- In reception, year 1 and year 2 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, year 1 and year 2 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – these 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 assessment tracker.
- Children in year 1 complete the statutory Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
- Children who do not meet standard in the Phonics Screening Check in Y1 will complete this in Y2. Support continues to be put in place for these children.
Reading for pleasure – Early Years and KS1
Alongside daily teaching of phonics, reading for pleasure is an important part of our Early Reading offer. We ensure children develop a love of reading and are exposed to a range of interesting and relevant authors. We promote a love of reading in the following ways:
- Teaching of poetry, which includes performing and learning a range of poems by heart.
- Daily story time.
- Whole class reading sessions, which include a range of books that are mapped out to ensure children, have a rich reading diet, vocabulary is explicitly taught and children can learn key phrases in the book.
- Book areas within the classroom that have a careful selection of books, including books by the focus author.
- Use of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for a Love of reading’ stories in nursery.
- Alongside children’s decodable reading book, children also take home a reading for pleasure book each week. In each year group, children will take home a range of book by authors, including some that they have read in class.
If you are a parent and would like more information about how to support your child with phonics at home, please follow this link to find the Reception and Year 1 overview as well as videos of the sound pronunciations, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources.