How we Teach Phonics at Salway Ash Primary School
Our school has chosen Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme to teach early reading and spelling. All of our staff are trained in the scheme, which is based on the original Letters and Sounds. Little Wandle has extensively revised ‘Letters and Sounds’ to provide a complete teaching programme, which is fully resourced and sets expectations of progression that are aspirational yet achievable. We will work through the entire Little Wandle Programme until your child can successfully utilise their phonic knowledge and blending skills to read fluently. Reading fluently is the ability to read with speed, accuracy and expression. Children need to learn to read as quickly as reasonably possible, so they can move from learning to read, to reading to learn.
Phonics in Reception
Children in Reception and Year 1 have daily phonics lessons. In Reception, these lessons begin in the first few weeks of starting school. They will be taught 4 new grapheme phoneme correspondences (GPCs) per week, plus a review lesson on a Friday. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme (sound) to a grapheme (written representation) and vice versa. The children will also learn a series of ‘tricky words’. Tricky words are those words which cannot be sounded out using their phonemes. We assess children every six weeks to check progress. Any child who needs extra support will have keep-up sessions planned for them.
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 also take part in Reading Practice Sessions. Last year we purchased brand new books published by HarperCollins for Little Wandle.
Reading Teaching Sessions are:
● Timetabled 3 times a week
● Taught by a trained teacher / teaching assistant
● Taught in small groups of up to 6 or 7 pupils
The children read the same book three times a week. The first time we work on decoding (sounding out) the words. The second time we work on prosody, which is reading with expression, and the third time we look at comprehension. We read the book three times in school because we want to develop confidence and fluency. The more children see words, the more they begin to read them automatically without having to sound them out.
Supporting your child with reading at home
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by encouraging and continuing their practice at home. There will be two types of reading book that your child will bring home:
1. Reading practice books
Whilst children are learning initial sounds, they will bring home wordless books. These are books with pictures only, to encourage talk about what is happening and to get children used to handling a book and turning the pages from left to right. Once children are able to blend sounds they will bring home a decodable book. The decodable books will be carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. When listening to them read the book please remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success!
2. Sharing books
In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is vitally important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a nonfiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!
In school, we promote reading for pleasure in a variety of ways. We schedule daily time in each class for the teacher to read aloud. Every class visits the library once a week where book talk is encouraged, and we share recommendations of our favourite books. Assemblies regularly include stories and poems. We read together outside at lunchtimes. Our Literacy curriculum involves rich, high-quality texts to inspire a love of reading.
For further information about our phonics programme please visit the Parents section of the Little Wandle website: