At Eythorne and Elvington, we are passionate about ensuring all pupils become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. We value reading as a key life skill, which underpins access to the rest of the curriculum, and we are ambitious for every child and dedicated to enabling our pupils to achieve success by becoming lifelong readers and confident writers. We aspire for children to read words and simple sentences by the end of Reception, become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1 and develop a lifelong love of reading as they move through school.
Through the consistent teaching of phonics following Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised (January 2022), the children are taught the essential skills and knowledge needed for reading and writing. Phonics is taught twice per day to all children in Reception and Key Stage 1, where 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.
To enable our pupils to apply their developing phonics knowledge in both reading and writing, reduce cognitive overload and to ensure connections are being made by the children between the two strands of literacy, we deliver two phonics sessions each day across EYFS and KS1:
Session 1: Reading focus with new grapheme / words.
Session 2: Writing focus with new grapheme / words.
By the end of Reception, we are determined for all children to have a secure knowledge and understanding of Phases 2 and 3 of Letters and Sounds and to be able to segment and blend words within these phases. Into Year 1, children are required to consistently connect with their prior knowledge of phases 2 and 3 to read longer words and sentences before moving onto Phase 5, where pupils learn the alternative spellings for previously taught sounds. In Year 2, children are required to demonstrate and apply their knowledge of all phases consistently in both their reading and writing.
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 3 to 6 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 gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using weekly lesson plans.
In EYFS and KS1, 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 the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids.
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:
- prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
- comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
In Years 3 to 6, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.
The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
Through our consistent approach to the teaching of phonics, our pupils are ready for the next stage in their education as they move from Reception, Key Stage 1 and into Key stage 2.
Children’s developing confidence in their reading skills allows them to be ambitious for themselves, where they strive to achieve success in both their reading and writing as they work through the phases.
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 Keep-up support
- weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
Summative assessment is used:
- 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.
- Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child who does not pass the check re-sits it in Year 2.