At Goldfield, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and we believe that Phonics provides the foundation in supporting children to develop these skills in order for this to become achievable. To keep within the recommended government guidelines, and to ensure we maintain the highest standards of education at Goldfield Infants and Nursery School, we have made some changes with regards to Phonics across the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.
Using the approved synthetic systematic Phonics programme ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ we start teaching Phonics in Early Years. We want to ensure that children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, all our children will be able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read.
At Goldfield we believe that reading and writing is an essential life skill and we are dedicated to enabling our children to become enthused, engaged and successful readers and writers. To support this, we practise the ‘Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised’ scheme and implement the following:
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 preschool 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 up to 20 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.
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.
Phonics lessons in Year 2
Several children in Year Two will continue on the Phonics programme. When they are confident in all the GPCs they will move on to daily Spelling and Grammar lessons (SpaG).
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 twice a week in Early Years and Key Stage 1
We teach children to read through reading practice sessions twice 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 (Big Cat Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised)
- 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.
Ensuring consistency and pace of progress
We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
Lesson templates, prompt cards and how to videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
At Goldfield, we believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond and is embedded across the entire curriculum for our children.
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:
- daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
- weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
Summative assessment is used:
- 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.
Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.