At Renishaw Primary School, synthetic phonics is taught as the main approach to early reading. Regular phonics sessions are taught from EYFS through to Year 2. These sessions follow the government published programme ‘Little Wandle’ which links in with our whole school Collins ‘Big Cat’ reading scheme.
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. At Renishaw Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1. We also value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.
Key Stage 2
During catch up phonics continues to be taught daily for those children that have not yet completed the full teaching of the phonic scheme. This done through Little Wandle daily (at least) phonic sessions and through three times a week Little Wandle reading sessions.
Children who continue to need extra support may then be taught through daily Project X Code Reading Sessions as intervention support and interwoven into teaching within KS2, to build on . All staff have received training on Project X Code and communication between Teaching Assistants and Teachers is key so that support in the intervention can be built on in class.
The children have reading books which they are encouraged to read regularly at home which match their current phonics level.
We use the Scarborough Reading Rope to look at the different strands that help a child to become a skilled reader. If a child is struggling we will consider which strand may be causing a barrier to their skilled reading.
At Renishaw, synthetic phonics is taught as the main approach to early reading. Regular phonics sessions are taught from EYFS through to Year 2 (during our current catch up). These sessions follow the published programme ‘Little Wandle’ alongside our ‘Big Cat’ scheme.
At each phase children are taught to recognise individual sounds, digraphs (two letters one sound) and trigraphs (three letters one sound). In phonic sessions, children are taught to recognise letters, understand the sound they make and then blend them together to create words. Some words, which cannot be phonetically sounded out, are taught at each phase. These are ‘tricky words’ and are taught through sight recognition and by identifying the tricky part.
A session is a daily 30-minute structured lesson, where the children have the opportunity to practice reading and writing. Children then read in groups three times a week using a book accurately aligned to the phonics and tricky words that they already know. We want them to be confident at reading and to find pleasure and confidence in reading.
‘Little Wandle’ is split into 5 phases. These are expected to be taught during the following years when not in catch up from Covid:
Phase 1 – Nursery
Phase 2, 3, 4 – Reception
Phase 5 – Year 1
The lessons are designed to be consistent so that children know what is expected from them and can concentrate on learning the new sounds or tricky words. You might hear your children say some of the mantras that we use such as “shuffle time” or “segmenting fingers.”
For more information on Little Wandle please click https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/resources/for-parents/
Reading at Home
We will teach your children to read and we appreciate you listening to them read a book that they are already familiar with and can already read all of the graphemes and words within it. Children will have three reading lessons using the same book, which is then assigned as an ebook that you can share together at home. This is the same book that children will have read during their three reading sessions at school. The three reading lessons using the same book comprise of:
Lesson 1 reading for decoding building up fluency
Lesson 2 reading for prosody – reading more fluently and with expression
Lesson 3 reading for comprehension
They will also choose a reading for pleasure book for you to read together.
There are many great websites and apps to help support phonics learning at home. Here are some of our favourites used in school:
www.phonicsplay.co.uk – Buried Treasure, Dragons Den, Obb and Bob
Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (it depends on different accents). Phonemes can be put together to make words.
Grapheme – A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.
GPC – This is short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.
Digraph – A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
Trigraph – A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
Blending- This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word.
Segmenting – This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes (sound talk/sounding out) that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order.
Guidance on more terminology that we use can be found in the helpfulglossary below.
In Key Stage 2 we teach reading whole class and will use a variety of fiction, non fiction texts and poetry. We use the same text through the week and include a short section to build fluency, We pre-teach vocabulary where needed and include vocabulary for children to try and work out what it means. We use our inference toolkit to teach children strategies that will help them to make inferences and build their comprehension of a text.
We monitor fluency half termly and where needed offer interventions to support inference and fluency.
Reading For Pleasure
Across school we read for pleasure each day to the children. We choose our books carefully so that children are exposed to range of texts over each year that will help the children to navigate reading with confidence . This includes texts that use archaic language, texts that may not have a straight forward time line, texts where there is some symbolism or metaphors included, texts which are more narratively complex – the narrator might be an animal or there may be more than one narrator and texts that present more of a challenge to understand. You can see our reading curriculum here:
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. This is a statutory check was introduced in Year 1. The check assesses phonics knowledge learnt in Reception (phase 2,3 and 4) and in Year 1 (phase 5). It was developed to help identify the children who may need extra help with decoding and blending before they begin Year 2.
However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the KS1 and KS2 statutory assessments.