Reading is a vital skill that is core to widening accessibility to many other areas of the curriculum and life. A strong foundation in reading in primary school can impact the rest of a child’s life. At Holy Trinity, we believe that high quality consistent teaching of phonics and early reading will grow a love of reading and provide all children with the ability to become fluent readers.
Our curriculum is literacy-rich and provides a plethora of opportunities to read and write in a range of contexts for different purposes and in response to a variety of stimulating, first-hand experiences.
Through exposure to high-quality texts from different genres and authors our pupils gain an:
• Appreciation of and for the richness of classical and modern literature.
• Understanding of the benefits of diversity of cultures and traditions.
• Awareness of their responsibility in preserving the local and global environment.
• Insight of the ways to challenge injustice and champion peaceable living.
Book clubs and a dedicated interactive area for reading (Media Merge Room), support a growing love for reading regardless of pupils’ social and economic circumstances, ethnicities, first language and/or special educational needs and disabilities. Across the curriculum pupils are offered opportunities to read independently, with or be read to by an adult and enjoy reading with prosody to bring a text to life.
We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Through the Little Wandle programme, phonics is taught in a specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school.
Daily Phonics Lessons
• We follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught for between 20-30 minutes daily and there is a review session on a Friday to consolidate learning.
• Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and Phase 3 Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) and apply learning to read Phase 4 words with fluency and accuracy. Phase 2 encompasses most common single letter sounds in words containing constant-vowel-constant (CVC words). Phase 3 includes the rest of the single letter sounds, plus sounds made up of two letters and three letters. Phase 4 gets children to apply their learning so far to longer words with adjacent consonants.
• Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 (see above for information) and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) with fluency and accuracy. Phase 5 introduces alternative spellings for sounds learnt.
• In Years 2 and 3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
Daily Keep-up Lessons
Termly assessments and constant in lesson assessment allows for the quick identification of children needing same day intervention to ensure the pace of progression for all children:
• Any child who is identified from the lesson or from assessments as needing additional practice has daily small group or individual 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 assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources.
• If any child in Years 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics sessions to address specific reading/writing gaps.
Reading Practice Sessions
We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:
• are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children.
• use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using Little Wandle’s assessments and book matching grids.
• are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
2. prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
3. comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
In Years 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.
• Children take the same book home from their in-school reading session to give an opportunity for further practise and develop fluency.
• Children also take a reading for pleasure book home for parents to share, read to, and enjoy with their children.
Ensuring Consistency and Pace of Progress
• Every adult in our school has been trained to teach phonics and reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines, and resources to teach children to read so that we reduce children’s cognitive load.
• Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week, and term for the duration of the programme.
• Lesson templates, prompt cards and how to videos ensure adults all provide a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
• The Reading Leader and Senior Leadership Team (SLT) use the Little Wandle’s progression sheet and prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching.
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:
• daily within class to identify children needing same day Keep-up support.
• weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs), words and spellings.
Summative Assessment is Used:
• 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.
• by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle’s assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
• Children in Year 1 sit the statutory Phonics Screening Check.
• Any child not passing the check re-takes it in Year 2.
Ongoing Assessment for Catch-Up
Children in Years 2 to 6 are assessed through their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as through the placement and half-termly summative assessments.
We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts as soon as the children start in Nursery and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, we aim that all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Holy Trinity we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
How we teach phonics
In Reception and Year 1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
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.
Year 1 lessons are 30 minutes long.
In Years 2-3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but teaching specific gaps identified through assessment.
If you would like to find out more information about how we teach phonics we have our third parent workshop on Thursday 20th January at 9.00 a.m.
Catch up sessions
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. Parents are informed when their children are falling behind and are given resources to help support their children at home.
Reading practice sessions
Children across Reception, Year 1, Year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group.
The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
The children then take the same book home the following week to ensure success is shared with the family.
Children who are not decoding, do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
How do we assess phonic knowledge?
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 Year 1 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.
In Reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker.
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 in Years 2- 6 and need ‘Keep Up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.
Phonics for children in KS2
For children who are in Key Stage 2 and are not secure with their phonics we deliver Intervention sessions to improve decoding skills and reading fluency.
If you are a parent and would like more information about how to support your child with phonics at home, please follow this link to find the Reception and Year 1 overview as well as videos of the sound pronunciations, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources.
How are phonics taught to my child?
Children will have discrete phonics teaching input daily by teachers and support staff available and utilised for smaller group work as necessary. The sessions last between ten and twenty minutes. There will also be constant and enhanced activities within the environment available for children to explore independently throughout the day in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Our Phonics Policy below will contain more detail.
What terms do I need to know to support my child?
The language for teaching phonics is specific. Here is a glossary of some common terms, if you have any specific questions please contact you teacher or our phonics lead - Miss. MacKenzie.
Phonics is the knowledge of how alphabetic sounds work and how these sounds are combined to correspond to the spoken word.
It includes the skills of blending for reading and segmentation for spelling.
- Blending is the skill of building words by merging phonemes together – this is used when reading words.
- Segmentation is breaking down a word into its component phonemes –this is used when spelling words.
- Phonemes are the smallest unit of sound in a word. It is generally accepted that there are different phonemes in the English language.
- Graphemes are the written symbol of a phoneme.
- Digraphs are phonemes written with two letters
- Trigraphs are phonemes written with three letters
- Split digraphs are two letters that make one sound, but the letters are not adjacent in a word (they are split by another letter e.g. i_e as in time).
- High Frequency Words are the most commonly used words in the English language and if children can master these.
- Alien words are made up words to test children’s ability to blend.
What is the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check?
At the end of Year 1 there is a statutory phonics check which takes place in June. Children in Year 2 who did not meet the expected standard in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, will be re-assessed in Year 2.
To support children’s progress in Year 1 towards the required standard for the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check children are assessed periodically throughout the year using previous years’ test materials.
This is a test of children’s ability to blend and read using the 44 phonemes. They are asked to read a series of real and nonsense or ‘alien’ words.
How can I support my child at home?
This link provides videos to support parents’ understanding of phonics, frequently asked questions about the Year 1 phonics screening and audio clips of how to pronounce each of the 44 phonemes (sounds).
These links are to games and activities parents can use with their children to support their phonic learning in school:
Where else can I get information?
Please feel free to contact either our Early Reading Lead Teacher - Miss. MacKenzie or make an appointment to speak with your child's class teacher.