At Keston we want children to develop a life-long love for reading. Our aim is for our children to become independent, fluent and enthusiastic readers, who enjoy reading a variety of texts.
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 practice by reading texts closely matched to their level of phonic attainment. Texts from a range of genres are matched by phonics phases and colour reading band to ensure children are reading at 95% fluency.
In Reception Phonics is taught using the structure of our systematic synthetic programme: ‘Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised’. 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.
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.
How we teach phonics
In the Nursery, children follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for Phonics’ guidance. The focus is on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes.
In Reception, 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.
- Phonics starts in Reception in week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start.
- 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.
- Y1 lessons are 30 minutes long.
In Y2-Y3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
In Y2-Y6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting 10 minutes in length and taking place at least three times a week.
Reading practice sessions
Children apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader individually or as part of 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.
- Reception sessions will start during the Spring Term. Children who are not decoding, do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound 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 Y1 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 Y1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will re-sit this in Y2.
Children who are in Y2 and above and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.