At Our Lady’s we teach systematic synthetic phonics so children know how to decode letters or groups of letters into their respective sounds; these skills are essential for children to be able to read fluently and independently. Having secure foundations of early reading allows children to continuously improve their range of vocabulary which leads to improved communication, wider imagination and improved writing.
We teach phonics explicitly every day so that knowledge of phonemes, high frequency and tricky words impart into children’s long-term memory so the process of blending phonemes leads to children developing confident early reading skills at an earlier stage of their development.
We teach systematic synthetic phonics using the teaching sequence of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised (2021). We use this particular programme so that children become very familiar with, and can distinguish between, different sounds (Phase 1) which leads to children becoming fluent readers by the age of seven.
The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds scheme for phonics aims to ensure that all pupils:
∙ Learn to segment and blend sounds in order to read them phonetically
∙ Learn to decode words as a means to be able to read them by sight
∙ Are able to identify and read the 40+ graphemes taught across phases 2-5
∙ Understand and be able to read words that cannot be sound out phonetically e.g. ‘tricky words’
Phonics in Early Years and Key Stage 1 is taught explicitly for 25 minutes every day using the structure from Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised: revisit, teach, practise and apply. Children are taught as a class and those who need extra support, attend a ‘keep up group’ during the school day.
All children attend reading practise sessions three times a week in small groups of approximately six children. These sessions are taught by trained teachers and support staff and the books used are matched to the children's phonic knowledge.
Children in Key Stage 2 who did not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 2 or who have limited language and reading skills follow the same phonics scheme and attend small group reading practise sessions.
Children become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1 and model a love of reading because of the partnership between our Phonics and Reading curriculum intentions.
Percentage of children achieving the phonics screening check:
The phonics subject leader uses the following lines of enquiry to assess the impact of the phonics curriculum:
● The profile of phonics in Early Years and Key Stage 1 environments.
● Frequency and quality of reading practise sessions.
● Phonics assessment data on Phonics Tracker.
● Evidence of the profile of Phonics around our school.
● Listening to children read.
● Discussions with pupils and evaluations of their ability to transfer their phonic knowledge to reading fluency.
● Discussions with teachers.
● Learning behaviour in the classrooms.