Little Wandle Phonics
Early Reading & Phonics Intent
At West Wycombe School, we have high expectations for all of our pupils regardless of their background, needs or abilities. We aim for every child to be a successful reader. This means that at least 80% of our children will leave Year 1 confidently reading Phase 5 Mustard books, having also passed their Phonics Screening test. As part of our recovery from the pandemic, we also expect 90% of those children who did not pass their phonics screening test to pass by the time they leave Y2.
Enabling our young readers to start successfully in life will allow our Y2, Y3, Y4, Y5 and Y6 teachers to build upon fluency and focus their teaching on vocabulary and comprehension.
The National Curriculum for English (2014) aims to ensure that all pupils:
• read easily, fluently and with good understanding
• develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
• acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
We recognise that reading underpins children’s access to the curriculum and it clearly impacts on their achievement. This is why we are so passionate about it. There is considerable research to show that children who enjoy reading and choose to read benefit not only academically, but also socially and emotionally.
The foundations for reading and writing at West Wycombe School are taught daily in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised phonics lessons; there are also planned opportunities throughout the curriculum to extend phonics teaching and learning beyond ‘dedicated time’. Consequently, learning is applied, reinforced and relevant connections are identified for the children throughout our school day.
Below are the Reception and Year 1 progression overviews of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised:
Overviews of Little Wandle by Year Group
What is phonics?
Phonics is designed to help teach children to read and spell by teaching the skills of segmenting and blending, the alphabetic code and an understanding of how this is used in reading and spelling. Simply put, it is sounding out a word and blending the sounds back together to read the whole word. When writing, it is hearing the sounds in a word and writing them down to spell it correctly. From January 2022, we are teaching phonics in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (owing to pandemic gaps in learning) using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised (2021) programme. This is a systematic synthetic phonics programme, validated by the Department for Education.
Spoken English uses about 42 sounds (phonemes). These phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). The alphabet contains only 26 letters, but we use it to make all the graphemes that represent the phonemes of English. In other words, a sound can be represented by a letter (e.g. ‘s’) or a group of letters (e.g. ‘th’ or ‘igh’). Once our children begin learning letters, they are encouraged to apply them to reading and spelling words. This enables our children to see the purpose of learning letters. For this reason, the first six letters taught are ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘p’, ‘i’, ‘n’. These can immediately be used to make a number of words such as ‘sat’, ‘pin’, ‘pat’, ‘tap’, ‘nap’. Following this, our children continue learning sounds and the letters that represent them in a particular order. Our Little Wandle BIG Cat Collins books match the phonics stage of our children so that they can practise reading the sounds and words they are learning according to their latest phonics assessment. These fully decodable books enable each child to read at their own ability and level of fluency ensuring they develop confidence in themselves as a reader.
What is the Phonics Screening Check?
There is a National Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 (in June) where the children have to read 20 real words and 20 ‘alien’ words containing sounds from Phase Two to Five. This is conducted in a very child-friendly way by the class teachers. At the end of Year 1, you will be informed if your child has met the threshold score for the check. If they have not met the threshold, they will be given additional support in Year 2 to enable them to meet it. During the pandemic years, some of these National Phonics Screening checks have been postponed until the second half of the Autumn term in Year 2.
Year 1 will take the Phonics Screening check during the summer term (assuming no school closures due to Covid) the week commencing Monday 6 June 2022. We politely request that parents ensure children in Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have to retake the Check are in school during the administration of the phonics Screening Check.
How can I help my child?
As a parent, your involvement in supporting your child’s learning will be a vital factor in determining their success in learning to read. Daily reading for 10 minutes of your child's decodable reading book is part of our homework policy. Magnetic letters are a fun multi-sensory way to recognise and select learnt graphemes and develop reading and spelling skills with them. Games such as I-Spy (using the letter sound) are also effective.
Please click on the link below which takes you to our Little Wandle How to Help at Home webpage:
How do I know if my child is saying the sounds correctly?
It is most important that children pronounce the sounds clearly. To help you support your child with this, you will also find weekly Reception and Year 1 videos made by our class teachers to support your child’s Little Wandle phonics development at home.
Beyond Phonetic Reading
Once there is fluency in reading, the most important skills for a child will be comprehension and the understanding of a wider range of vocabulary. This can be developed by asking a child questions based around a particular reading skill, about a text they have just read.
As the children progress through into to KS2 the children move on to using Accelerated Reader. This is an interactive programme supporting the children to choose books relevant to their ZPD. They read books and then quiz to check their understanding of their reading via a computerised comprehensions quiz. For further information, please follow the link to the Accelerated Reader website.
Once there is fluency in reading, the most important skills for a child will be comprehension and the understanding of more words. This can be developed by asking a child questions about a story they have just read.
As the children progress through into to KS2 the children move on to using Accelerated Reader. This is an interactive programme supporting the children to choose books relevant to their ZPD. They then read books and then quiz to check their understanding of their reading via a computerised comprehensions quiz. For further information please follow the link to the Accelerated Reader website.