At William Rhodes Primary & Nursery School we provide daily high-quality phonic sessions to ensure that all children have the best opportunities to become competent and confident readers and writers. We aim to secure skills of word recognition and decoding which will enable children at our school to read with fluency and enjoyment.
Planning and organisation
We follow Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised as our systematic, synthetic phonics programme to teach early reading and spelling. We follow a consistent approach in every class including lesson structure and seating plan. There are six phases within Letters and Sounds which run from Nursery to Year Two.
Daily sessions of approximately half an hour take place within EYFS and KS1. Children are placed into groups (maximum two groups within the class) which meet their needs. Groups are reviewed regularly to ensure that children are being challenged and gaps in learning are targeted.
Teaching and Learning Assistants
Teaching assistants play an active role in supporting the class phonics lessons and in targeted interventions. Their role is to work alongside the teacher and children assessing and supporting the needs of the learners as required. This may take the form of modelling an activity alongside the teacher, providing feedback for children, enforcing expectations and giving feedback to teachers including assessment of individual children.
Elements of Little Wandle
There are 4 elements to phonics and early reading provision at William Rhodes:
- Revisit & Review
- Teach & Practise
- Practise & Apply
- Read with Decodable Books
Revisit & Review - Flashcards are used daily to recap graphemes previously taught. This section should is well paced and allows children to apply their prior learning quickly.
Teach & Practise – This section contains new learning / a new GPC (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). It teaches oral blending, reading words with the new GPC and reading a new tricky word.
Practise & Apply – This section of the lesson allows the children to practise and apply their new knowledge from the ‘teach’ part of the lesson. We read captions / sentences containing the new GPC and tricky words. We also practise spelling words with the new GPC and the new tricky word. The caption or sentence is only made up of GPCs and tricky words the children have been taught to this point.
Review lessons & Review weeks
We regularly assess learning. We review prior phonics learning every Friday and one week every half-term. This is done using games, observation and assessment tasks.
We use regular informal and formal assessments to keep a constant check on the children’s progress and sticking points. We use this information to guide our regular interventions which could be a pre-teach, post-teach or keep-up intervention session.
Reading practice sessions are timetabled three times a week. They are taught by a trained teacher / teaching assistant in small groups. We follow three principles of effective teaching of reading:
Decoding: The process of recognising the sounds that letters make in a word and blending those sounds together to read them.
Prosody: The process of modelling effective reading using expression and the way in which we begin to comprehend meaning.
Comprehension: Understanding the content of what has been read.
We use careful assessment to match each child to the right level of decodable book. This means that the children know all of the sounds and tricky words in their phonics book well and can read many of the words by silent blending, only needing to stop and sound out approximately 5% of the words by the time they take their book home.
Reading at home
Early Years and infant children are encouraged to read at home every day and take home a fully decodable book which is matched to the reading ability of each child. They have an additional ‘reading for pleasure’ book that they are familiar with from the class reading area or school library.