We are a reading school. We are resolute that all children can learn the phonetic code and we therefore expect each and every one of our children to learn to read through clear and progressive phonics teaching.
Our teaching itself is intensive, and follows the DfE approved programme of ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’. All staff – from Nursery up to Year 6 – are trained in the teaching of phonics.
Progression in Phonics
We begin teaching the foundations for phonics to our children in Nursery through daily play, rhyme, circle time, group activities and various innate and incidental opportunities throughout sessions via oral segmentation. Direct phonics teaching starts as soon as our children enter Reception – no time is wasted.
The end of year expectation for children’s phonics ability in the Early Years is to be secure in Phase 4 at the end of Reception. Staff provide children with wide and varied opportunities to play with and explore sounds whilst developing core listening and sound discrimination skills which are imperative for reading and writing success. As part of the Lingfield Education Trust, we further use the ‘Trust Ready’ Curriculum for the Reading Early Learning Goal to set clear expectations.
After a brief review of previous learning, children are expected to begin Phase 5 at the start of Year 1 with an end of year aspiration of being fully secure in all Phonics phases alongside passing the Phonics Screening Check. Aspects of the National Curriculum spelling expectations are also covered in accordance with our Trust reading and writing objectives.
We adopt a ‘keep up; not catch up’ approach to phonics. Daily assessment for learning from whole-class teaching informs targeted one-to-one and small group work within sessions to prevent gaps developing in children’s understanding, and half-termly assessments inform interventions.
For children who do not pass the Phonic Screening Check, it is vital that intensive decoding work continues. Children who do not meet the demands of the Phonic Screening Check cannot fully access age appropriate texts within the English and wider curriculum; this is catered for appropriately across the full curriculum alongside ongoing intensive phonic intervention.
Decodable Readers and Parent Partnerships
We ensure that the books children are given to read at home are directly matched to the sounds which have been taught in school so that children do not encounter words which they cannot decode; this is through the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ scheme, supplemented by Collins ‘Big Cat’ and ‘Phonics Bug’ titles (which are
matched to the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ progression, and provide additional resources to support the systematic teaching of phonics). As children become more confident readers, carefully chosen books also include ‘common exception words’ which children have been taught.
Children in Reception also have ‘sound cards’ sent home each week to practise with at home – both in saying the sound, and in blending sounds together. As children become more confident, common exception words are also sent home to practise. Parents workshops are held regularly throughout each year to support parents in effective home reading and promotion of phonics skills.
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