Early Reading and Phonics
Reading at Crondall Primary School
Crondall Primary School is determined that every child will learn to read, regardless of background, needs or abilities. We want our children to be fluent, confident readers. They will be exposed to a wealth of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction to develop their vocabulary, language comprehension and engender a genuine love of reading and a keen interest in a range of texts. We work to inspire them to become life-long readers who enjoy books and have a desire to read for pleasure.
In order for the children to have the will to read, and be able to read to learn, they need to have secure skills in reading so that they can read with fluency and comprehension. Reading is at the heart of our whole curriculum underpinning every subject area. We want every child to read widely, and to gain a rich knowledge across the curriculum. By offering a wide range of texts we aim to broaden their minds and experiences to allow them to empathise with the world in which they live and support the development of their cultural capital. Reading is such an important life skill that it is imperative we enable them to become independent readers who can easily process information, fully engage in all learning and be well prepared for their next stage of their education.
By the end of KS1, children will be fluent at decoding, and by the age of 11, we aim for children to be able to:
- read with confidence, fluency and good understanding, drawing upon a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct;
- have an interest in a wide range of reading materials and read spontaneously for enjoyment and pleasure;
- read confidently to acquire information;
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading;
- meet age related expectations for reading, with the aspiration to exceed them.
Reception and Year One
We teach early reading through the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Right from the start of Reception children have a daily phonics lesson which follows the progression for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and this continues in Year One to ensure children become fluent readers.
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 Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
The phonic programme exceeds the expectations of the National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals with clearly defined expectations set out term by term. The phonic progression identifies the grapheme phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and tricky words taught every week. A new sound is taught on four days of the week, with a review of the sounds taught for the week on the fifth day.
Lessons follow the format of:
- Recall and review - short, pacey review of prior learning;
- Teach - introduction of new learning with strong teacher modelling;
- Practise and apply - children practice and apply the learning;
- Review of key learning - reinforcement of the key learning and addressing any misconceptions identified during the lesson;
- Apply to reading - children then apply their phonic skills to reading fully decodable books matched to their reading ability.
- The teacher will check that all of the children are keeping up in the lesson and will have the lowest 20% of children in their eye line.
- If children do not grasp the grapheme/phoneme correspondences and tricky words in the lesson, 1-1 intervention will take place on the same day, to ensure any misconceptions and weaknesses in learning are addressed. These sessions are taught by a fully trained adult. Keep up sessions match the structure of the class teaching and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition. This is so that every child is secure with their learning and enables them to keep up with the expected progress.
For support with the pronunciation of the phonemes taught, please refer to the videos below.
Application of Phonics to Reading
All our reading books are aligned to Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and are fully decodable, following the progression in our phonic programme. When selecting a book for a child to read, we ensure that it is carefully matched to the letter-sound correspondences they have learnt, so they can confidently, and effectively, apply their phonic knowledge. Children continue to be taught phonics until they become fluent readers.
Phonics is the way we teach decoding skills, in order to give children the most efficient method to read words and one which will set them up for life. In the phonics sessions and throughout the day, children have opportunities to practise applying their phonic skills and to read words with the new grapheme, phoneme correspondence. This enables the learning to be committed to their long-term memory.
In Key Stage 1 there are three reading practice sessions each week. In these sessions we teach the application of reading skills. The children read in groups with fully decodable books, carefully matched to the children’s phonic ability.
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.
Each reading practice session will begin with a pacey review of graphemes, tricky words and practice of fluent reading of words which will appear in the book. The children will already know these from their phonic lesson, but the review will enable them to have these sounds and words at the forefront of their working memory.
There will be a common theme in each reading practice session of developing fluency. The children will read the same book in each of the three sessions. They will then take home the book they have read at school after the third reading session to practise reading fluently.
Reading in Year Two
The children in Year 2 will begin the year by revising phase 5 and other previously taught phases to ensure all children are completely confident with applying these GPcs in both their reading and also writing.
Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.
- Assessment for learning is used:
- daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
- weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings
- Summative assessment is used:
- every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need
- by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.