At Oak Tree Primary School, we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. All staff have received CPD to ensure a consistent approach across the school. The Reading Leader monitors and supports our team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.
At Oak Tree Primary, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. We start teaching phonics in Nursery using Foundation for Phonics and making sure children develop phonemic awareness right from the start. Reception and Year One follow a clear progression as set out by Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, 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, we strive for all our children to be able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. 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.
At Oak Tree Primary, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, we want them to read confidently for meaning and enjoy reading for pleasure. We teach comprehension skills as part of our reading sessions and focus on unfamiliar vocabulary.
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’.
- 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.
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.
- Any child who needs additional practice has 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.
- Children in Year 2 or 3 who are not fully fluent at reading or have not passed the Phonics screening check have regular phonics lessons. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revisedassessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources.
- If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps.
Teaching reading linked to phonics:
We teach children to read through reading practice sessions two to three times a week.
- are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
- use Little Wandle for Big Cat books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and matching grids
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 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.
In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.
Children have access to their decodable reading practice book as an ebook to ensure success is shared with the family.
Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children. These have some words and phrases the children are able to have a go at reading, with the support of parents.
We engage with our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, through Phonics evenings in Reception and Year One.
Additional reading support for vulnerable children
Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult more frequently.
Children at Oak Tree develop their reading skills so they are:
- able to blend words
- decode words quickly and effectively
- read captions and sentences fluently
- spell words using their phonic knowledge
- use and understand a wider vocabulary