Phonics and Early Reading
At Millennium Primary School, we believe that for all our children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme.
We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide engaging daily phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children to read by linking together sounds (phonemes) and the letters we use to represent them (graphemes). Children learn to recognise all of the different graphemes and phonemes 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 knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.
We then model these strategies in practise reading sessions and in writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Through careful and regualr assessment, we identify children who are at risk of falling behind with phonics. These children are supported through keep up phonics sessions with experienced members of staff. If this continues, children are supported through catch up sessions. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds SEND resources to support children who need a slightly different approach.
If you are a parent and would like more information about how to support your child with phonics at home, please follow this link to find the Reception and Year 1 overview as well as videos of the sound pronunciations, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources.
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, Y1 & Y2, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics 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 and take place at least three times a week.
- 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.
Reading practice sessions
- Children across reception, year 1, year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
- The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds 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-Y6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.