Phonics & Early Reading
At Wittersham School we aim to ensure all children become confident, fluent and readers. We have created a text-rich school environment, where books are valued and, most importantly, enjoyed! We teach phonics and early reading in five phases using the validated Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds programme. Children are able to apply the knowledge and skills that they gain in phonics sessions in small group reading sessions, where each of the three sessions focusses on a different skill: fluency, prosody and comprehension. In selecting this programme, we feel confident that:
- Grapheme/phoneme (letter/sound) correspondences are taught in a clear sequence.
- We introduce children very early on to single consonants and vowels, so they are quickly able to apply this knowledge to read and spell CVC words e.g. sat.
- Children are taught blending, first orally and then by ‘sounding out’ known phonemes to read words.
- Children are taught to segment words into phonemes and select appropriate graphemes to spell words.
In Reception and Year One, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme in regular phonics sessions. By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4. By the end of Year One, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5. During the summer term of Year One, children will complete the statutory Phonics Screening to assess their phonics knowledge. If children do not pass the screening, intervention is put in place, and they continue to be assessed until they have met the end of Year One expectations.
From Term Two in Reception and Term One in Year One, children take part in reading practice sessions three times a week. Using a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts created to complement our phonics scheme, these small group sessions provide children with the opportunity to apply specific phonic knowledge matched to their current stage of learning so that they are able to read the majority of the text with fluency, ‘sounding out’ only a few words. Phonically decodable reading books that are sent home, are selected to ensure that they also match this learning stage and contain graphemes and tricky words already taught.
Formative assessments take place throughout our phonics sessions. The programme has daily and weekly opportunities to review and consolidate previous learning. At the end of each unit (which is around six weeks), each child completes an assessment of learning for that half-term. Any gaps in learning are identified and suitable intervention and teaching is put into place to address this. Those children not meeting age-related expectations will receive additional intervention using ‘keep up’ or ‘catch up’ planning and resources in line with the teaching programme.