St Wilfrid's RC Primary School

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Phonics and Reading



At St Wilfrid’s, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. We teach phonics and early reading daily, through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching the skills for phonics in Nursery through lots of listening activities and games to tune pupils into their speaking and listening ability. This is done using the Phase 1 programme and the 7 aspects. In Reception and Year 1 we follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

Through our teaching of phonics, children are able to tackle unfamiliar words as they read. To ensure our pupils can apply their phonics knowledge and skills, we model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children as speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

What Phonics Looks Like at St Wilfrid’s

Daily Phonics Lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics lesson for 30 minutes each day. In Reception, we start with 15 minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games; moving on to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each week, we review the teaching and learning to help children secure their knowledge and skills.
  • We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress to assess each child.
    • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and Phase 3 Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence (GPCs). In Phase 4 children are taught to read and spell words with adjacent consonants with fluency and accuracy (Phase 4 is taught for 4/5 weeks in Summer Term of Reception).
    • Children at the start of Year 1, review Phase 2 and 3, and are taught Phase 4 again in Autumn Term 1. They quickly move on to Phase 5 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Daily keep-up lessons support targeted children with their reading

  • 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 and resources but in smaller steps with more repetition. This supports every child to consolidate their learning.
  • Extra support is planned for the children (R and Y1) who need more consolidation at a slower pace.
  • Daily phonics lessons or suitable 1-1 interventions are timetabled for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. (Rapid Recall Intervention is used)
  • Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments are used to identify the gaps in phonics knowledge. The LW keep-up resources are used in the extra sessions.

Teaching Early Reading: Reading practice sessions take place each day

  • In Nursery, Guided Reading is taught in small groups of 3 to 4 children, who read with a teacher or trained adult; looking at pictures, turning pages correctly, encouraging them to talk about the content.
  • In Reception and Year 1, all children read with a teacher twice a week. Once in a guided reading session (1:6), and another session as 1 to 1 – focusing on the 3 main skills, (decoding, prosody and comprehension).
    • Books are matched to the children's secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments
    • Sessions are planned and 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:
    • decoding – segmenting and blending
    • prosody - teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension - teaching children to understand the text.
  • In Reception, these sessions begin as soon as pupils are able to decode CVC words linked to GPCs they have been taught so far. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending 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 unless they have moved to a personalised daily reading and writing intervention.

Home Reading

  • The children take home two books each week. One is a decodable reading book with sounds that the child has recently learnt, to ensure success is shared with the family (Big Cat LW books)
    • Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.

Ensuring Consistency and Pace of Progress

  • All our teaching and non-teaching staff have been trained to teach reading to ensure consistency in expectations of progress. The same language, routines and resources are used to teach children to read across year groups to support in lowering children's cognitive load. Security, through consistency of routines, practices and resources, is a common theme throughout St Wilfrid’s.
  • Weekly records are used to map the elements of new learning - 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 (whole-school training completed for LW, and update sessions are in place)
  • Class teachers continuously assess progress in their groups, focusing on individuals to identify who needs extra support (daily keep-up sessions)
  • The Reading Leader uses the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching. Summative data is used to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning (discussed at Pupil Progress Meetings)