Being able to read is the most important skill children learn during their early schooling and has far-reaching implications for lifelong learning, confidence and well-being. At St. Patrick’s Catholic Primary School, we are committed to the delivery of excellence in the teaching of phonics.
At St. Patrick’s Catholic Primary School we follow the government approved ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ phonics programme. 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 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.
How do 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 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.
- Phonics starts in Reception in the Autumn term 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.
- Year 1 lessons are 30 minutes long.
- In Year 2- Year 3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
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 Y2-Y6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.
Early Reading at St Patricks
Alongside our phonics programme, we also focus heavily on early reading skills in KS1, and these lead into KS2 as children move through the school. We use a whole class guided reading approach to teach literal, inferential and evaluative skills from the beginning of Year 1. Children are also encouraged to read independently, both to themselves and to adults when appropriate, as well as being read stories as part of class story time. This is all to develop and instil a real love of reading to all of our pupils. Reading is a priority and opportunities to read runs through the whole curriculum.
To support children with their early reading, we have a wide selection of phonetically decodable books from the Floppy Phonics, Alien Adventures and Hero Academy ranges, alongside Oxford Reading Tree stories. We encourage children to change their books once a week, where they have a book from the phonics phase they are working on, and pick a book of their choice which can be read alongside and adult, for enjoyment and comprehension opportunities.
We also have an Oxford Owls account, where all of our pupils can access an e-library full of books that they can read and enjoy at home.