Phonics and Early Reading
At St.Simon's, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time our pupils leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure and with purpose.
Core to this is a consistent approach to phonics teaching,ensuring all pupils are equipped with the skills to confidently decode and encode unfamiliar vocabulary.
Letters and sounds.
The school teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
Our teaching team are highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading.
They confidently Model the application of the alphabetic code in discrete phonics lessons using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme and in shared reading and writing across the curriculum.
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 Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
- Children in year 2 revise and consolidate phase 5 GPCS in term 1. Most pupils will then exit the programme.
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 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.
We want our children to become enthusiastic, engaged readers and to develop a life-long love of books. We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading, and during their weekly guided reading sessions.
In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as their main approach, alongside which we teach sight vocabulary. Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is on understanding and comprehension.
The child will read with the class adult at least twice a week during their guided reading session, then independently supported by teacher set activities during the rest of the week.
EYFS and KS 1
In Year R and KS1 We use the Little Wandle Practice reading books to teach reading.
- Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so 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.
Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week
- We teach children to read through reading practice sessions twice 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:
- 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 Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practice reading with decodable books.
- Year 2.
- Once they have exited the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme, pupils in year 2 continue to share guided reading in small groups.
- Pupils who have exited the 'Little Wandle' Letters and sounds scheme then also enter the accelerated reader programme for individual reading.
Working in Partnership.
- 1x per week, the decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family
- A second decodable book matched to the phase and sounds being taught is sent home when appropriate.
- Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
- In year 2 pupils enter the accelerated reader scheme after term 1 and take books home to read.
- 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.
Working in partnership to support developing readers at home:
We recognise and value that the support of Parents and carers is hugely important for developing reading skills, confidence and understanding. Even children are confident readers, it is still important for you to read with them, listen to them and discuss the books they are reading.
We ask that Parents and Carers:
Try to listen to and read with their child regularly, 15 minutes a day is better than a longer session once a week. It can help if a regular time is set aside so that it becomes part of a routine.
Find a quiet place to share books where you can feel comfortable and relaxed – learning to read needs to be a positive experience - build their confidence by praising their efforts.
Encourage their child to have a go at reading words, by using phonic skills to read any unfamiliar words, and by working on building up their sight vocabulary.
Talk about the meanings of words to help to develop their child’s understanding and use of language.
Encourage their child to read a range of texts such as stories, newspapers, comics, labels, poetry, non-fiction, tickets, signs, leaflets etc.
Read books to their child as well; if they see you enjoying a book it will encourage and motivate them to want to learn to read.
Ask them questions about the text to develop their understanding.
Reading for Pleasure.
Reading for pleasure.
At St. Simon’s our aim is that all pupils will have a real love of reading and become lifelong readers.
We understand that pupils need the chance to build their stamina as readers, but will only do so and add to their reading volume if they want to read.
Considerable international evidence reveals that reading for pleasure and reading engagement are strong predictors of reading attainment.
Therefore at St. Simon’s we actively encourage reading for pleasure and recognise it as a core part of every child’s education, regardless of their background or attainment.
We define reading for pleasure as volitional reading that is intrinsically motivated where pupils are reading for their own pleasure and satisfaction.
We make reading for pleasure a key part of our curriculum and expose pupils to a wide range of texts in a variety of contexts and give pupils opportunities to read a wide range of texts within the classroom. These texts include:
- Fiction and non-fiction books
- Picture books (age appropriate)
- Magazines and comic/graphic novels
- Digital texts.