Subject Leader: Mrs E Burrows
At Milton Primary, teaching children to read is an essential part of our curriculum. We value the impact it has on enabling access to the whole curriculum and strive to promote a lifelong love of reading for all pupils.
All children in our school will leave as fluent, confident readers. They will have seized the opportunity to read a wide range of texts, and have excellent comprehension skills that equip them well for the next stage in their education.
We follow Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised and take a ‘Phonics First, Phonics Fast’ approach as we know that when children learn to read successfully at an early age, they develop greater general knowledge, a wider range of vocabulary, have improved attention spans and better concentration. In essence, reading is the key to wider access to the curriculum; to learning more and understanding more; and to achieving success both at school and in life.
The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme helps us to plan and provide our daily phonics lessons. During these lessons, we teach children that each letter of the alphabet represents a different sound, and that these can be used in a variety of combinations as they are put together to make words. Children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing.
In our Nursery, children follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for Phonics’ guidance. The focus is on daily listening and attention skills alongside oral blending and phonemic awareness.
‘Foundations for Phonics’ contributes to our ‘Communication and Language’ and ‘Literacy’ provision, and it sits alongside a stimulating language-rich environment. This guidance helps to ensure that children are well prepared to recognise grapheme–phoneme correspondences and are able to effectively ‘blend’ when they move into Reception. Our provision includes a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences and one of the most important aspects of ‘Foundations for Phonics’ is developing an awareness of sound, through activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending.
Pupils in Reception and Year 1 are taught phonics for 30 minutes each day, following the progression map within the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4 and by the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5.
Children in Reception and Year 1 apply their phonics knowledge by reading a fully-matched decodable reading book in a small group reading practise session three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group and these sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
In Reception and Year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps current learning, and this is in addition to pre-planned review weeks which are designed to address gaps in pupils’ learning as identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment. These occur every 6 weeks. Formal phonics assessments are also completed each half term on a one-to-one basis with all pupils. These are to identify the children’s reading books, which are closely matched to each pupil’s phonic knowledge to ensure that they can be read fluently.
Children in Reception and Year 1 who are identified during assessment activities as at risk of falling behind take part in daily ‘keep up’ sessions. These follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
In addition to our formal teaching of phonics as the basis of supporting children’s early reading development, further provision is also made in this area in the form of:
Children will bring home two books; a reading practice book and a sharing book. A child’s reading practice book is the book they read independently and they should do this for at least 5 minutes each day with an adult.Their sharing book is the book that parents can read with their child for enjoyment; it is to promote a love of reading and should be a truly enjoyable experience.
If you would like more information about how you can support you Nursery, Reception or Year 1 child develop their reading skills at home, this can be found in the video below: