Early Reading and Phonics 2023-2024
"A love of Reading is the biggest indicator of future academic success" - The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development
The method used by our school to teach children to read is through encouraging and teaching them to make connections between the sounds of our spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down. The AddMore Federation use the 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds (Revised)' scheme to teach our pupils phonics.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) developed for schools by schools. Based on the original Letters and Sounds, but extensively revised it provideds a complete teaching programme; meeting all the expectations of the National Curriculum and prepares your child to go beyond the expectations of the Phonics Screening Check.
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
We begin our reading journey in nursery, developing skills and behaviours for learning and loving reading as well as developing skills to start formal phonics in reception. We feel that talk, play and books are the best foundations for later literacy learning.
Chat. Play. Read.
At Addmore we use Little Wandle Foundations, which is a comprehensive pre-phonics programme designed to help build strong foundations for reading in Nursery. We use it as part of our wider provision for Communication and Language, and Literacy.
Supporting children to:
- Develop their phonological awareness, including understanding of rhyme, alliteration, syllables, initial and voice sounds, and oral blending.
- Develop a of love stories and rhymes, and learn by heart a bank of familiar favourites.
- Increase their vocabulary and confidence to talk.
- Improve their listening and ability to take part in back-and-forth conversations.
The programme is broken down into three areas: Foundations for a Love of Reading, Foundations for Phonics, and Foundations for Language.
Foundations for Phonics:
- Daily adult lead small group sessions where we play games developing oral blending skills and tuning into sounds.
- Rhyme time, focusing on 2 new nursery rhymes each half term.
Foundations for love of reading:
- Multiple opportunities to read and engage in a variety of books, providing language development opportunities and connecting to the books through nursery rhymes, actions, poems, songs and sensory opportunities.
- Daily activities linked to Little Wandle or Pathways to Literacy topic books.
Foundations for language:
- Building trust and relationships is our number 1 priority when settling children into nursery.
- Developing oral language skills such as back and forth interactions using high quality language by introducing wider vocabulary. Enabling children to organise their thoughts and speech into longer sentences becoming confident communicators.
- Providing a language rich environment.
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.
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.
There are specific resources for the Little Wandle Programme which the children will become very familiar with. Each sound that we teach to begin with has either a mnemonic (like the astronaut that you can see here) or a phrase like boing-boing for ‘oi’. This helps the children recognise and remember the graphemes. Every time we teach a new sound, we also read words during the phonics lesson that contain that new sound so that the children practise what they have learned. We then go on to reading a sentence containing some of those words. We have displays in the classroom and on the tables to support the children throughout the day.
Reading practice sessions are:
- Timetabled three times a week
- Taught by a trained teacher/teaching assistant
- Taught in small groups.
- Using 120 books by Collins Big Cat exactly match the Little Wandle Phonics Progression.
The children read the same book three times in a week. The first time we work on decoding (sounding out) the words, the second time we work on prosody which is reading with expression – making the book sound more interesting with our story-teller voice or our David Attenborough voice – and the third time we look at comprehension. We read the books three times at school because we want to develop the fluency. The more children see words the more they begin to read them automatically without having to sound them out.
Children are assessed every six weeks to check progress and ensure that books are at the correct level. Any child who needs extra support has daily keep-up sessions planned for them.
Each week children will bring home two reading books:
- A reading practice book matched to the child’s phonic stage and fully decodable so that they can read independently. To ensure that reading at home is an enjoyable experience and does not feel like a chore, teachers will ensure the child can read 95% of the words within their reading practice book. The children should be able to read the practice book with developing confidence and fluency without any significant help. The parent/carer’s role is to listen with interest and, most importantly, to encourage and praise, enthusiastically acknowledging the child’s achievement (even if, at the early stages, this is only small).
- A sharing book that they can talk about and enjoy with their parent/carer. If children are to become lifelong readers, it is essential that they are encouraged to read for pleasure. The desire of wanting to read will help with the skill of reading. To help foster a love of reading, children should take a book home that they can share and enjoy with their parent/carer. Involving the children in the choice of this book is important. These books offer a wealth of opportunities for talking about the pictures and enjoying the story.
If you would like to learn more please click on the link for more information.
Mrs Vicky Baillie, Mrs Nel Rawsthorne and Miss Anna Clarke - Reading Leads