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Thringstone Primary School

Phonics and Early Reading

Published: 6 Jul '24

We teach early reading through the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Right from the start of Reception, children have a daily phonics lesson which follows the progression for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and this continues in Year One to ensure children become fluent readers.

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 (please see below for the progression). Four new phonemes and their corresponding graphemes are taught (GPCs) each week and they are then used in the final lesson of the week to review the week’s learning. Children will also learn tricky words during these sessions.

In the Autumn and Spring term, Reception learn phase 2 and phase 3 GPCs and then will spend the final term learning phase 4.

Year 1 begin the Autumn term with 3 weeks of revision of phases 2, 3 and 4 before learning phase 5, which will be completed by the end of the year. Year 2 children will begin the year by revisiting phase 5 and other previously taught phases to ensure all children are completely confident with applying these GPCs in both their reading and also their writing. (please see the overview here for what this progression looks like). Half termly assessments take place through Reception and Year 1 to help inform future teaching and help identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and need additional practice. Daily assessment of learning also takes place within the classroom so staff can quickly identify any children who are in danger of falling behind and provide the appropriate daily ‘Keep Up’ intervention.

Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 1
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Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 2
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Phase 3 sounds taught in Reception Spring 1
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Reading Practice Sessions

Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2, read fully decodable books with an adult 3 times per week during our ‘Reading Practice’ sessions. These books are then sent home for children to build their reading fluency and showcase their developing skills and phonetic knowledge to their parents/carers. These 3 reading practice sessions each have a different focus; decoding, prosody and comprehension. Our reading books in Reception, Y1 and Y2: Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Big Cat books.

Supporting your child with reading

Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.

There are two types of reading book that your child will bring home in Reception and Year 1:

Reading practice book

This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.

Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, ask them to decode (sound it out) and blend it. After they have finished, talk about the book together.

Sharing book

In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.

Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. In addition, after reading the book you can pick out some words and help them to expand their vocabulary by discussing alternatives for these words. The main thing is though that you have fun!

Programme Progression Reception and Year 1

Reading at Key Stage 2:

Reading is discreetly taught through shared and guided reading over a two-weekly cycle. In whole class shared reading, a key skill is modelled by the teacher which is then practised by the children both with adult support and independently in a series of subsequent guided reading sessions. The key skills taught in these sessions cover the objectives set out in the National Curriculum as well as the strategies that educational research has found make a good reader.

The following aspects of reading are covered in these sessions:

  • Word reading
  • Wider decoding skills
  • Grammar for reading
  • Wider comprehension strategies
  • Response to text

Shared reading sessions are structured as follows:

  • A rich, challenging text is shared with the children. Where possible, the text is taken from the class read aloud book or the book being studied in English lessons
  • Teacher explicitly models the key skill by voicing reader ‘think alouds’
  • Children are then given the opportunity to apply the skill in mixed ability pairs
  • Children discuss their application of the strategy
  • Teacher listens in on the mixed ability pairs in order to undertake AFL.

Guided reading sessions are structured as follows:

  • Teacher works with small groups of children of similar reading ability
  • Children read a text at instructional level
  • The focus taught in the shared session is reiterated and modelled again by the teacher
  • The children apply the skill whilst reading quietly/silently at their own pace whilst teacher listens to each child independently
  • Teacher assists children in applying the focus on a 1:1 basis.
  • At the end of every guided reading session, a statement or question (talking point) is given to the children about the text they have read to form a discussion amongst the group. This not only gives the children an opportunity to develop their oracy skills, but also allows the teacher to assess the children’s overall understanding and comprehension of the text they have read
  • The groups of children who are not reading with the teacher; practise and apply the same skill independently using a book at their level; are given the opportunity to read for pleasure; access the online reading platform ‘myON’
  • Children who are identified as working below ARE are given an extra guided reading session throughout the cycle. This session could be used to focus on a wider decoding skill which is relevant to that group

Key Stage 2 Reading Spine