Phonics is a combination of skill and knowledge which aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. At Sedley's C.E Primary School, we follow the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ programme.
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Children begin by learning the sound each individual letter makes and progress onto identifying the sound a combination of letters make. The last, and also vital skill is to blend the phonemes (sounds) to create a word. Although fluency by the age of 7 is the aim, phonic skills are a necessity throughout a child’s school life, assisting them to discover new words, and go on to read any kind of text fluently with the upmost confidence.
How we teach phonics
In Reception and Y1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily, which usually includes introducing a new grapheme or strategy, we then end the week with a review session on a Friday.
Phonics starts immediately in Reception to ensure the children make a strong start.
By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4.
By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5.
Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible.
Y1 lessons are usually 30 minutes long.
In Y2-Y3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
Any children that have been identified through assessment as falling behind are identified quickly for daily small group or individual catch up sessions to ensure that they catch up quickly.
Reading practice sessions
Children across year 1, year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by reading in a group setting three times a week. The same reading book will be read throughout the week and the choice of book will be determined on the children's reading ability and the phonics they have been learning in their daily phonics lessons. When we say a 'group setting' the children are not listening to one another reading, but are having group discussions when the teacher asks a question. The teacher will move around the group and listen to the children individually to ensure they are getting the best out of the session.
Reception take part in group reading sessions, but to begin with, this will take place once a week and progress to a higher amounts when the children's development suits.
In Reception and year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment). Children identified in Reception and Y1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
The children in Y1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term. This assesses their ability to identify and blend phonemes in real and 'alien' (nonsense) words.
Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will re-sit this in Y2.
Children who are in Y2-Y6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.
Jolly Phonics Jingles – Great for children associating a letter with an action to help them commit it to memory
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvJKc0Ord1g (Jolly Phonics Jingles)
Alphablocks – Great for helping to start blending/chunking letter sounds together
Phonics Play – this website has a whole range of different games – particularly good for early readers
https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/ (some games are free without an account)
https://www.phonicsbloom.com/ (some games are free without an account)