At St John’s we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At St John’s, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term. · We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace.
If any child in Year 3 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week. If that is still not successful, alternative provision will be offered in liaison with the SEND coordinator.
Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it. · Assessment for learning is used:
o daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
o weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings. · Summative assessment is used:
o every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
o by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place. · The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised placement assessment is used:
o with any child new to the school to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan provide appropriate extra teaching.
Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.
Ongoing assessment for catch-up
Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through:
their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment
the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds placement assessment where appropriate