Phonics and early reading
At Bandon Hill Primary school we follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to help children get off to a fantastic start with their early reading and writing. Little Wandle sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills with the aim of children being able to use these skills independently in their reading and writing.
All of the staff teaching phonics (including teachers and support staff) have been trained by Little Wandle, ensuring that our teaching is consistent and provides pupils with the opportunity to make fantastic progress. Whenever phonics is taught the children will have consistent resources throughout the school and these are always readily available.
Phonics is taught daily throughout the whole of the Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1. When required, phonics teaching and support will be provided beyond Year 1 to ensure all pupils can read fluently.
Please find further information below about how phonics is taught at Bandon Hill.
Phonics (reading and spelling)
At Bandon Hill 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 Nursery/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 as they read. At Bandon Hill Primary School 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.
At Bandon Hill Primary School we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and 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.
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
- 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.
- We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
- We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, 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 Phases 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 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 phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 and above who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check.
Teaching reading in Reception & Year 1: Reading practice sessions 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
- use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge.
- 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.
- In Reception these sessions start in 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.
- The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
- Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children. We share the research behind the importance and impact of sharing quality children’s books with parents through workshops.
- 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.
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 for Reception and Year 1 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 SMT/SLT 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.
- A placement assessment is used:
- Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check
re-sits it in Year 2.
Phonics progression :
Little Wandle resources for parents:
Helpful videos for parents
This video demonstrates the Phase 2 sounds Reception will learn in the Autumn 1 term: https://youtu.be/-ZtjFIvA_fs
This video demonstrates the Phase 2 sounds Reception will learn in the Autumn 2 term: https://youtu.be/qDu3JAjf-U0
This video demonstrates all of the Phase 3 sounds Reception will learn in the Spring term: https://youtu.be/DvOuc7cWXxc