Early Reading and Phonics
“I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Subject Lead - Angela Kinslow
Our fundamental aim is to teach every child to read as quickly as possible and be lovers of reading. We strive to teach children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension, as well as develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information. These essential skills not only unlock doors to the rest of the curriculum, but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life experiences.
Here, at St John’s, we are dedicated to enabling our children to become enthused, engaged and successful lifelong readers. To achieve this, we implement structured daily phonic lessons where phonetic knowledge is developed. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revisited programme to deliver a highly successful, rigorous reading programme which is carefully matched to the curriculum. Children progress through the sets of sounds, allowing them to learn the essential ‘building blocks’ of words to help them read and spell with greater fluency. All staff who deliver the Little Wandle programme have been trained which has given them the skills, knowledge and confidence to plan, deliver and assess phonics to a high standard. Staff are very clear on progress expectations and which sounds children are expected to know by each half term. Leaders, teachers and teaching assistants use their professional judgement on a daily basis to assess the children in their class, identify who is need of keep up sessions and grouped accordingly to access specific sessions later in the day so that they are ready for their next day of learning. Throughout Early Years and KS1, children are assessed formally each half term by the class teacher so that they can be monitored for expected progress. Those who are not making the expected progress will also have access to the catch up phonics sessions. Daily observations and formative assessments of children’s phonic knowledge, coupled with a robust assessment approach each half term, ensures children are given the correct book which is carefully matched to their phonic understanding, and the acquisition of sounds which have been taught. Equally, this means children are issued with the correct home reading book for them to enjoy at home, thus allowing them to experience early reading success, gain confidence and consolidate the learning that takes places in school.
Reading in EYFS
In EYFS, we promote early reading in children as soon as they arrive with us in September as we believe this underpins their natural curiosity of storytelling and enjoyment of stories. Through the Little Wandle programme, we begin to teach individual phonemes during daily phonic sessions, as well as how to segment and blend sounds in words to read them. Within every area of provision in the reception classroom, children are exposed to a wealth of rich reading opportunities. We endeavour to create rich learning experiences which reflect the children’s interests and fascinations, therefore our planned activities are carefully crafted to match their needs. In addition, we develop an awareness of rhyme, alliteration and oral sound blending through engaging children in various daily activities and through the weekly introduction of a new nursery rhyme. In Reception, we instil a love of reading with various stories that can be shared with the children. Like KS1 and KS2, every term, Reception focus on a high-quality text through the Power of Reading scheme and we provide opportunities for the children to sequence, retell and use role play to develop their imagination and own ideas of storytelling. We recognise the importance of parental engagement and children reading at home with their families, therefore during the first few weeks of Reception, all parents are invited to attend ‘An Introduction to Phonics’ workshop whereby they are given an overview of the expectations of reading in St John’s Primary School reception. This includes an insight into what a daily lesson looks like, how physical phonics can be implemented at home, and what our home reading books entail. To conclude the workshop, all our families are provided with a Little Wandle phonics pack to ensure children are given the opportunity to continue to rehearse, consolidate and apply their phonic knowledge at home.
Our consistent approach to the teaching of our systematic phonics curriculum enables children to become confident, fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers, which in turn, unlocks doors to the rest of the curriculum allowing children to flourish in all areas.
By the end of Reception, children are secure in Phase 3 of letters and sounds and are beginning to work in Phase 5. Children will know the grapheme / phoneme recognition for all 44 phase 2 and 3 graphemes and they can apply this knowledge to reading and writing words of more than three sound buttons.
By the end of Year One, children will pass the Year One phonics screening. They will be secure in Phase 5 of letters and sounds and know the grapheme / phoneme recognition for phase 2, 3 and 5 graphemes, including alternative graphemes. They will also apply this knowledge to reading and writing words.
By the time children leave St John’s, they are competent readers with high aspirations, who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader.