Phonics at St Johns
At St John's, our Phonics (reading and spelling) is taught through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We intended to:
- Allow all of our children to become fluent readers and writers.
- Give the children the strategies to tackle unfamiliar words as they read.
- Model the application of the alphabetic code.
- Ensure that children can read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure.
- Develop speaking and listening skills.
- See themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
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.
- 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 (Grapheme, Phoneme correspondences), 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.
- 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 and above 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 Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up resources – at pace.
- These short, sharp lessons last 15-20 minutes daily and have been designed to ensure children quickly catch up to age-related expectations in reading.
Teaching Reading through Little Wandle – Reading Practise Sessions (3 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 using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids
- 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.
- In Years 2, 3 and 4, 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 sent home electronically to ensure success is shared with the family.
- Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Impact
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.
- monitored 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.
You can find out more about how we teach phonics by following the link below: