Phonics and Spelling
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
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 Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
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 phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 and above 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 Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up resources – at pace.
These short, sharp lessons last 15-20 minutes daily and have been designed to ensure children quickly catch up to age-related expectations in reading.
Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week
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.
- are monitored by the class teacher.
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 Reception these sessions start after the Autumn half term. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
In Years 2 and 3, 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. We share the research behind the importance and impact of sharing quality children’s books with parents through workshops, leaflets and the Everybody read! resources.
We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.
Ensuring consistency and pace of progress
Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
Lesson templates, Prompt cards and ‘How to’ videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
The English Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.
From Year 2 onwards, we adhere to the No Nonsense Spelling programme. Spelling rules are taught in a systematic way in order to ensure that children can achieve clarity in their writing.
Spelling is taught 2 and 3 times per week alternately.
A weekly spelling test is provided and spellings are posted on our school website each half term. Words are chosen based on the teaching in that week’s lessons.
Pupils work on whiteboards or in spelling journals.
A range of spelling strategies are taught to children and they are encouraged to use these independently when encountering words they find difficult to spell.
Lessons focus on etymology, word families and spelling rules, encouraging children to experiment and explore language in a meaningful way.