The teaching of Phonics and Early Reading
Phonics is taught using the structure of our systematic synthetic programme: ‘Little Wandle Letters & Sounds’. This comprehensive programme provides a multi-sensory approach, using letter frames, flash cards, phonic games and listening activities.
Using the Little Wandle Letters & Sounds lesson structure, each session will follow the same format of introduce, revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. This ensures that children learn new sounds whilst applying taught sounds to their reading of new words. Children work on decoding, segmenting and blending in every lesson. Children are exposed and use the correct subject specific technical vocabulary (such as phoneme, digraph, trigraph). Our lessons are designed to meet the children’s needs based on our on-going phonic assessments. This informs planning and streaming within year groups.
During daily direct teaching sessions, the teacher will provide clear model and pronunciation of sounds, observing and assessing children to ensure those who have a secure understanding are able to move on as well as be aware of those children who need to revisit certain sounds. They will also be addressing misconceptions during the lesson. Children will be active participants in every lesson.
Phonics resources are consistent throughout the school, allowing children to apply their phonic knowledge in all areas of the curriculum. Phonics and word mats support spelling and writing across the curriculum and having access to Phonics displays enables children to apply taught knowledge and skills to decode unfamiliar words in the classroom.
Reading scheme books provide decodable reading material to ensure that, as children move through the early stages of acquiring phonic knowledge and skills, they can practise by reading texts closely matched to their level of phonic attainment. Texts from a range of genres and publishers are matched by phonics phases and colour reading band to ensure children are reading at 90% fluency.
The Little Wandle Weekly input
The children participate in five phonics sessions per week. Each day the children are introduced to a new phoneme, apart from on the fifth lesson which instead reviews the week’s learning. Each lesson begins with a revisit and review section in which children practise reading sounds and words they have previously been taught. The children love to play Spot the Grapheme which is when they look out for the new grapheme hiding in the pack of sounds! During the lesson the children practise oral blending and the reading of new words, including Tricky Words such as my, some, have, like. At the end of the session children read a sentence containing words taught that session and also practise spelling these on whiteboards.
Group Reads – Early Guided Reading – How it works
An integral part of our phonics programme is the inclusion of our ‘Practice Reading Sessions’. In these sessions, children read a Big Cat for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised book matched to their phonics knowledge. In the first lesson the children concentrate on decoding. The children revise all the sounds and key words that will be in the book. We then look at some new words and talk about how to read these “fluently”. This means that we sound the words out in our head and then say the whole word out loud. We also talk about word meanings in order to develop children’s vocabulary and understanding. Teachers listen to each child individually and if a child can’t read a word fluently, they are supported to sound it out aloud. In the next reading session the children revisit their reading book but are shown how to read with prosody/expression. The teacher models this and with the children discusses why the tone of voice might change at certain words or phrases in the story. Next the children have a go at using expression and the teacher listens to children read individually. In the final session the children build their level of comprehension and are encouraged to answer questions about their book by referring directly to the written text.
Reading books and e-books – How parents can support at home
After the children have read their phonics reading book three times in class they take it home to share with their parents at the end of the week. Children in Reception receive a hard copy of the book whereas children in Year 1 are assigned an ebook version of their text. Parents can support by listening to their children read their phonics books and by celebrating their wonderful reading with them.
Children also take home a shared reading book which is matched to the phonics phase they are working in and a school library book.
Useful links for parents
Where else does Reading Happen?
We use the Babcock Teaching sequences to plan our writing at Trinity. These give children the chance to really steep themselves in a beautiful book as a starting point for writing.
Here is the link to the units of planning: https://www.nononsenseliteracy.co.uk/public/pdfs/howtouse.pdf
The introduction to Guided reading begins with Little Wandle group reading sessions which each child has 3 sessions of from Reception onwards. See the Little Wandle section for more information.
Guided Reading from Year 2 onwards provides teachers with the opportunity to teach reading to a small group of pupils. The aim of Guided Reading is to teach children to become independent readers. Texts are challenging but not too difficult or they disrupt the flow of reading. (Children should be able to read 90 -95% of the text independently.) There are usually between 4 to 7 children at a similar level of attainment in a group. Each child is given their own copy of the text to allow for independent reading. Guided Reading is recorded on Tapestry (Our online assessment journal) Teachers and T.A.s jot down notes that are useful to assess the child’s current reading skills and to plan the next steps in learning. Reciprocal reading is taught in Year 3 (from the summer term) and in Year 4 to the whole class. Whole class guided reading also happens in Years 3 and 4. Teachers plan for the 4 stages of predict, clarify, read and summarise.
The Teaching Sequence for Guided Reading
Book Introduction & Walk Through: This involves activating prior knowledge, relating the book to the children’s own experiences, prediction work, telling children the purpose of the session, identifying text type, discussion about content, key vocabulary, viewpoint, identify tricky words.
Strategy Check: Reminding children of strategies to use to decode words, asking questions that you would like the children to focus on in the independent reading time.
Independent reading: The children read independently. The teacher may intervene to ask a question or to focus on a specific teaching point. Returning to the text. This is an opportunity to review the use of strategies and to discuss the questions that were discussed earlier in the session.
Responding to the text: The children can talk about their personal opinions of the book.
Phonics is assessed termly with all pupils in Reception and Year 1 and those that receive Little Wandle phonic interventions in Year 2. The Phonics Check is delivered in June to all Year 1 pupils and to any pupils who need to retake it in Year 2.
In Years 1 to 4, reading is assessed by the teacher using the simple book band trackers, the Star Reader on Accelerated Reader and the data provided by AR.
Class Reading Corners
Each classroom has a quiet book corner. The emphasis is on the quality of books rather than the decoration of the area! It is a comfy nook where children can read quietly on their own or in groups. Careful attention is paid to stock in the book corner. Our topic books change every half term and those books are available to browse as well as story baskets, special interest books, periodicals and magazines. Alongside a weekly trip to the library, the children have plenty of signposting to appropriate reading material.
This year we have made real progress into developing our school library. We are very lucky to have support from Nicola Cowling who worked for years with the Schools’ Library Service. She comes into school every Tuesday to work alongside staff and pupils, her experience and knowledge of children’s literature helps us to continually expand and develop our library and encourage all of our children to enjoy reading. We are continually investing in new books, some of the choices of these come from the children themselves who are able to add their own suggestions as to what books they would like to read, such as; favourite authors, collections and non-fiction subjects that they are interested in.
All of the pupils now have their own library code which enables them to borrow books from the library to take home and share. Each class has a timetabled library session where the children are able to enjoy some time to explore the library, have stories or information shared with them, choose books, read quietly and share books with their friends.
In the Summer holidays we had some new shelving and storage installed in our main library to develop our non-fiction section called The Discovery Zone. We also created a Key Stage 2 library upstairs which mainly holds our Accelerated Reader collections of books. We have also established a History Zone next to our fantastic time line wall art feature near the main staircase. It has been lovely to see the children accessing books independently and with enthusiasm.
In the Autumn term Year 3 and 4 pupils were invited to apply to be Pupil Librarians. The Pupil Librarians have duties at lunchtimes to ensure that all of the library areas are well maintained. They also review books and their written reviews are displayed to encourage and direct other children during their library sessions. The pupil librarians will be receiving training from the staff librarians (Miss Cowling & Mrs Bove) into how the dewey decimal system is organised and using the scanner to issue and return books. They are doing a fantastic job!