We teach early reading through the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Right from the start of Reception children take part in 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 25 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.
We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress. Four new phonemes and their corresponding graphemes are taught (GPCs) each week and they are then used in the final lesson of the week to review the week’s learning. Children will also learn tricky words during these sessions.
In the Autumn and Spring term, Reception learn phase 2 and phase 3 GPCs and then will spend the final term learning phase 4.
Year 1 begin the Autumn term with the revision of phases 2, 3 and 4 before learning phase 5, which will be completed by the end of the year. Year 2 children will begin the year by revisiting phase 5 and other previously taught phases to ensure all children are completely confident with applying these GPCs in both their reading and also their writing.
Half termly assessments take place through Reception and Year 1 to help inform future teaching and help identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and need additional practice. Daily assessment of learning also takes place within the classroom so staff can quickly identify any children who are in danger of falling behind and provide the appropriate daily ‘Keep Up’ intervention.
Reading Practice Sessions
Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2, read fully decodable books with an adult at least 3 times per week during our ‘Reading Practice’ sessions. These books are then sent home for children to build their reading fluency and deonstrate their developing skills and phonetic knowledge to their parents/carers.
Reading In Key Stage Two
In Key Stage Two we teach reading in whole class sessions where no child is left behind. Whole class reading is taught for 45 minutes a day, every day. A typical week has two sessions based on the class's daily novel and three sessions based on the wider curriculum.
The class novel is read to the children for 15 minutes a day either directly before or after lunch. It is always read by the teacher. We invest in whole class sets of books to make sure the children can read along with the teacher during this time. This book is then studied for 45 minutes in whole class reading sessions on Monday and Thursday. The aims of the session are to ensure that all the children are literally and figuratively on the 'same page' of the text. Our aim at Wolverham is that we are always reading the text TO the children and never AT the children. There are no exam-style questions, rather rich discussion on the over-arching themes of the text and these sessions end with a balanced argument question where the children are encouraged to share their own opinions and thoughts.
The sessions on the other three days largely link to the wider curriculum. These are also 45 minute sessions. More often than not, these sessions link to topics such as science, history or geography. Sometimes they will link to what the children are writing about in English, for example widening their knowledge about coral reefs or the Windrush generation. The aim of these sessions is to cover pivotal knowledge that the children need to access the wider curriculum. For example, if Year 3 are doing a science objective about igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, the morning reading lesson may cover what the knowledge needed around this is. This leaves time in the afternoon for our children to have more opportunities for practical scientific work. In the case of rocks, this may be smashing them up, getting them under microscopes and organising them into groups. By covering so much of the topic in a reading lesson, we have longer to impart the knowledge and more time to discuss it, but we also leave longer for our children to work scientifically and, in many instances, have more fun doing it.
On some occasions children will also read about relevant current events (for example, the women's World Cup when it was airing) or explore poetry and other types of literature in these sessions.
Reading for Pleasure
Every day the teachers read aloud the class book to the children. These texts are chosen carefully so there is a range of high quality, diverse texts to engage the children and appeal to a range of children.
Reading is encouraged at home and parents are supported parents to understand how to read to/with their children. Careful recording of what the children’s reading diet includes happens regularly so staff are able to monitor, develop and extend this as and when appropriate. Children are encouraged to borrrow books from the school library during their weekly visit.