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Phonics

How we teach phonics

​​​​​We are in the process of fully aligning our phonics programme to the government SSP 'Little Wandle Letter and Sounds Revised' by January 2022.

  • In Reception and Year 1, children follow the progression within the Letters and Sounds programme, starting with Phase Two.
  •  Phonics is taught for 25 min every day, using a clear Revisit, Teach, Practice, Apply structure – an approach used consistently across all classes.
  • By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 3. If they are ready, children may start Phase 4.
  • By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 5.
  • In Year 2-Year 3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
  • In Year 2 -Year 6 there are planned catch-up sessions following a set model to address specific gaps. These are taking place at least three times a week, and are often used to target new arrival EAL children.
  • All staff including support staff have regular CPD and are confident to deliver a quality phonics session. 

How we assess phonic knowledge

  • In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children are assessed every half term for phonics knowledge and reading ability. This is then tracked on a class phonics phase tracker and a class book band tracker.
  • Teachers can then amend delivery of phonics and carefully match texts to ensure an appropriate pitch and trajectory of progression.
  • Children identified in Reception and Year 1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place.
  • Children from Reception to Year 2 are monitored by book band level. This is especially helpful for transition to the next class, so rapid progress can continue. 
  • The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2.
  • Children who are currently in KS2 who didn’t leave KS1 at the expected level are monitored by phonics knowledge and reading progress termly.  
  • Children who are in Year 2-Year 6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through the teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.

Little Wandle Parent Page

What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:

  • Recognise the sounds that individual letters make
  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make-such as 'sh' or 'oo'
  • Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word

Children can then use this knowledge to 'decode' new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

The children are taught to read words by blending, which means pushing all the sounds together to make a word.  The children are taught to spell words by segmenting, which means sounding out words and writing down the sounds they can hear.

By the end of Reception children are expected to be secure in Phase Three. By the end of Year One children are expected to be secure in Phase Five.  When finishing Key Stage One, most children at West Thornton Primary School should be secure in Phase Six. This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns.

Why phonics?

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way-starting with the easiest sounds and progressing to the most complex-it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7 years old. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills that they need to tackle new words. Children can go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and read for enjoyment. (Department for Education)

Here are some links to information and websites that you may find useful to help you support your child in their early reading and writing skills.

At the end of Year One all the children in the country take a test called a Phonics Screening.  They have to read 40 real and nonsense words.  We call the nonsense words ‘Alien words’ and the children practice reading them every day.