At Poulner Infant School we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, we want them to read confidently for meaning and 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.
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.
The teaching of Phonics is fast-paced, and we encourage all children to actively participate in each lesson; by encouraging the children to take ownership of their learning we are continuously striving for excellence.
We teach a synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression.
We 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 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:
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 20 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 4 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 Phase 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 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 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.
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 using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’
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:
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.
In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable 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.
Children’s progress in phonics is continually reviewed through assessment. This is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.
Assessment for learning is used:
Summative assessment is used:
Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.