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Oak Tree Primary School




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.


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


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: phonics teaching begins as soon as they start during Gradual Admission, teaching Oral Blending and Segmenting skills and then making a quick start to teaching letter sounds..


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 Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.



Keep Up and Catch Up


Any child who needs additional practice has regular keep-up support. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, to help children become secure in their learning.


We timetable regular phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 who has not passed the Phonics screening check or needs more support with their reading. They are supported in Guided Reading using Little Wandle matched books. We use the Rapid Catch-up assessments in Year 2 and Lower KS2 to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up resources. We use Rapid Catch Up in KS2 to support those who have not passed their Phonics Screening Check in Year 2 and those we identify who need some additional support with their phonics and fluency..



Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions


We teach children to read through reading practice sessions two to three times a week.

  • We use Little Wandle Big Cat books that are exactly matched to the scheme.
  • Regular Assessments are used to match children to the correct level of books.


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:

  • decoding
  • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
  • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.

Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.

  • Children take the Little Wandle Book home on a Friday and celebrate their reading at home.
  • Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult regularly.


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