At Meadowside, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. We teach through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, beginning with ‘Foundations for Phonics’ 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, our children tackle unfamiliar words as they read. At Meadowside, 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.
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’.
- 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.
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: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
- Additional 10 minute recap sessions are planned daily in the afternoons to provide spaced learning
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.
- 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 summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.
- Language Development
Oracy is central to the teaching of phonics, the physical ability to hear and make the sounds is central to our curriculum. Vocabulary and sounds used in these sessions fully support in the development of the children’s vocabulary and their physical ability to say these sounds in words. New vocabulary is planned and discretely taught in phonic sessions.
Using the methods in Little Wandle, opportunities are used within the phonics lessons for dialogical teaching. The teaching of phonics is central to our pupils being able to have the reading skills to fully develop in their use of language.
We ensure that the teaching of phonic knowledge is generative and sticky. Knowledge is organized using long and medium-term plans ensure that there is time for spaced learning and ensure that it is secure. We follow medium term plans from Little Wandle which has been built with this in mind. The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised principles and practices are applied throughout school. Across the EYFS and Key Stage One – this is supported by using a wide range of resources, with the addition of Jolly Phonic actions, to support the effective retention of phonic knowledge by all of our children.
Foundations for phonics in Nursery
- 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 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.
We recognize the importance of independent practice in securing the children’s phonic knowledge. Therefore. the children read books from Collins Big Cat Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Reading books are organised in line with the Little Wandle scheme and children are matched to books that include graphemes and tricky words children have been taught. This ensures children have access to a text that is matched to the child’s growing phonic knowledge and that does not encourage a child to guess at words if they included GPCs they had not yet been taught.
To ensure there is opportunity for spaced learning, short afternoon sessions are used in reception and year 1. These are used to revisit previously taught knowledge and ensure that this become embedded in their their long term memory.
The application of their phonic knowledge requires time to practice and apply the disciplinary knowledge that they have learnt in phonic sessions. Therefore, there is time for this in all phonic sessions. In Nursery, reception and for the start of year 1, this is also embedded in provision. Each class has a phase appropriate display, concentrating on both the grapheme and key words that the children are currently learning. Phonics mats are available in every lesson to support children’s early writing across the curriculum. Phonics mats are readily available in all areas. The outdoor learning environment provides multiple opportunities to consolidate learning and practice these skills.
In reception and year 1, 3 additional 15 minute afternoon phonics sessions are used during the week to give time to practice and apply the skills taught in phonics lessons.
- Attitudes and values
Within foundation stage, we try to ensure that our pupils see themselves as readers. Encouragement for them to develop their reading efficacy as they realise that they can read and recognize phonics in our environments. WE ensure that in all phonic sessions we strive to develop their growth mindset. Rewards are given for effort and overcoming challenge rather than for simply achieving a goal. Tasks are set so that they do offer challenge and a chance for them to achieve.
- Developing a love of Reading
Having secure understanding of phonics is crucial in developing the reading fluency to find the joy that comes from reading. However, we also understand that children need to enjoy learning phonics. We are keen to ensure that all children are encouraged and enjoy our phonics sessions.
SEND and Inclusion
Learning to read matters for every child or young person, regardless of their starting points or learning needs. There pupils with special educational needs that mean they can’t access the main Little Wandle programme. Little Wandle SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) is a complete programme that mirrors the main Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised phonics programme but with adaptations and support in place that make it possible for schools, special schools and providers to meet the needs of all their learners. It has been created to help children learn to read using the right level of challenge for each child and using the graduated approach if needed. This quote from the Reading framework makes it clear why this is so important: ‘Children (with SEND) have to navigate the same written language, unlock the same alphabetic code, learn the same skills, and learn and remember the same body of knowledge as their peers. It is a critical skill in helping them prepare for adulthood.’ (The reading framework: Teaching the foundations of literacy, DfE 2021
We use the Little Wandle SEND programme to teach and support any child that has a SEND that requires adaptations and slower pace, due to cognitive function or other disabilities, through the Little Wandle SEND programme. Some children with SEND will require very few or very small adaptations to the main Little Wandle programme (to meet their sensory needs, for example). This support is highlighted on the pupils’ Pupil Passport. Other children, however, do need fundamental changes to the pace and progression of the programme to meet their more complex cognitive needs.
As part of our quality first teaching of SEND, scaffold is one of the key teaching strategies. However, our children with SEND do need additional scaffolding both in phonics lessons and also within provision and other lessons where they are applying these phonic strategies. Examples of support are as such:
- Modeling of work specifically for a small group of children.
- Sound mats highlighting specific vocabulary for a task
- Broken down instructions for a task.
- Task organiser
- Use of concrete resources (letter cards etc.)
- Additional focused explanations
- Precision teaching of key phonic knowledge.
- Peer support.
Additional strategies for pupils will be highlighted as a part of the SEND strategy meetings and in consultation with other professionals. These form part of a child’s pupil passport and support teachers in removing barriers for learning.
Where a child struggles with key aspects of learning, it is crucial that we highlight what is key knowledge for a child to move on with their learning. Half termly assessments show us which knowledge is the key for other knowledge later on within the Reading curriculum. Support and CPD is given to staff to ensure they have a good understanding of what learning is key to move on. These children are discussed regularly with the SENCo. Additional, specific interventions may also be used in addition to the Little Wandle program. These are specifically 1:1 reading daily of GPC matched books, precision teaching and Toe by Toe (in year 5 and 6).
Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read
- Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, following the Little Wandle approach. 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.
- We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2-6 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid keep-up resources.
Formative assessment is an integral part of daily lessons and is first and foremost the essence of helping making our pupils make instant progress in their phonic knowledge and in their skills. This is done through a mixture of high-level questioning, discussion, Oracy activities and written work.
We use live marking and feedback to enable teachers to target next steps for pupils effectively. Opportunities for children to review and improve their learning are embedded into each lesson. Children are given the opportunity to evaluate their own work, and that of their peers. During and on completion of a piece of work, the teacher responds, identifying areas for development. Children’s work is valued, celebrated and displayed around the class and school.
the knowledge. The Little Wandle Catch Up Programme is used for children who fall just below the expected standard in phonics. These sessions are completed daily.
All Year One children take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ - a statutory assessment required by legislation. Those who do not meet the pass mark will be given support and intervention programmes in Year Two, to provide them with sufficient knowledge and understanding to re-take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ and obtain a pass mark. Those children who do not obtain the required level set by the ‘Phonics Screening Check’
For children who have not reached the expected level by Year 1, extra phonics support will be put in place. Children in Year 1 have access to high quality daily phonics sessions for thirty minutes. The underlying aim of for Years 1 and 2. Children in Year 2 who did not pass their phonics screening test in year 1 will continue to have access to high quality daily phonics lessons for 30 minutes.
Tracking of key groups allows for a better structure to learning and allows the Curriculum coordinator to further adapt the Little Wandle programme where needed.
I use exceeding, meeting or not yet meet for the assessment criteria. [CM1]
I would also be hesitant to mention intervention but I don't think this happens in DT (or other foundation subjects) after assessment.