Phonics at Hardwick
Phonics at Hardwick Primary School
At Hardwick Primary School we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
As a result, children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Hardwick Primary School we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
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 Reading Leader and SLT regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
- We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These include:
- sharing high-quality stories and poems
- learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
- activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
- attention to high-quality language.
- Simple ‘blending games.’
- Using ‘Launchpad to Literacy’ by Kirstie Page to identify and fill key phase 1 learning gaps to ensure all pupils are read for phase 2 phonics in FS2.
- We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.
Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1
- In Reception, we teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. We build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Children in year 1 receive a minimum of 1, 30 minute phonics session a day. 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.
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.
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 using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’
- are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
- 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 in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, and share pictures and wordless books to discuss and practise their speaking and listening skills.
- The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
- A “Reading for pleasure” book will also go home weekly for parents to share and read to children.
- 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.
How do we assess phonic knowledge?
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:
o daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
o weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
o 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.
o 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.
- Fluency assessments measure children’s accuracy and reading speed in short one-minute assessments. They are used:
o in Year 1, when children are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books
o with children following the Rapid Catch-up programme when they are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books
o to assess when children are ready to exit their programme. For Year 1 children, this is when they read the final fluency assessment at 60–70+ words per minute.
A placement assessment is used:
- Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check
re-sits it in Year 2.
What can parents do at home to support their child’s reading journey?
- Read! Read! Read! Be a good role-model for your child to help them understand the importance and joy of reading in everyday life.
- Snuggle up and share their ‘reading for pleasure’ book with them.
- Listen to your child read their phonically decodable book at home and record it in their reading diary. Praise all their efforts….learning to read is tricky and takes a lot of practice!
- Visit the local library and help them find books or an author that they really enjoy!
- Visit the Little Wandle Information for parents for more information and downloads https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/resources/for-parents/
Phonics in year 2 and KS2 (years 3-6)
At Hardwick Primary School, we believe that for children who are not yet fluent in phonics, 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 phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing.
We also model these strategies in shared reading and 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.
Like children in Reception and year 1, children apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader and are heard read 3 times a week, following the Little Wandle reading session guidance.
How we group children to teach phonics in years 2-6
- Children who are unsuccessful in the year 1 phonics screening check or join year 2 or KS2 classes having not received previous schooling or are new to English, attend daily phonics ‘catch up’ sessions designed to enable them to catch up with their peers as quickly as possible. They are grouped under the 1 of the following categories:
- English as an additional Language (EAL) phonics group, for pupils new to English who have never received full English phonics teaching.
- Gap-fill teaching, for pupils who have nearly passed the phonics screening but are not fully secure in phonic knowledge and fluency.
- Little Wandle Rapid-Catch Up, for pupils who need to recover a significant number of graphemes to become fully secure in phonic knowledge and fluency.
- 1-2-1 precision phonics teaching designed by our Educational Psychologist. This happens daily and is designed to allow pupils to gain necessary grapheme-phoneme correspondence to enable them to read the majority of basic texts.
Ongoing assessment for Rapid Catch-up in Years 3 to 6
- Children in Year 3 to 6 are assessed through:
o the Rapid Catch-up initial assessment to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan appropriate teaching
o the Rapid Catch-up summative assessments to assess progress and inform teaching
o the Rapid Catch-up fluency assessments when children are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books for age 7+.
- The fluency assessments measure children’s accuracy and reading speed in short
one-minute assessments. They also assess when children are ready to exit the Rapid Catch-up programme, which is when they read the final fluency assessment at 90+ words per minute.