Phonics and early reading:
Welcome to the Phonics section!
Here we hope you will find everything you need to know about how the children at Rillington Primary School are learning to read, Mrs Stabler is our reading Lead, so please feel free to see her at any time.
The ability to read is within the reach of every child. The most direct route to reading for children is through systematically taught, ‘synthetic phonics’. At Rillington Primary School we insist on a ‘phonics first’ approach to reading, where children learn to decode (read) and encode (spell) printed words quickly and fluently by blending and segmenting letter sounds. Our teaching and learning follows the progression of ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds’, which is a validated systematic synthetic phonics teaching program. We introduced the scheme into our curriculum in September 2021. We use this through EYSF to KS1, it can even be used for those in lower KS2 who should need it reteaching if needs be.
Each term we will follow the Little Wandles progression to how the phonemes (sounds) and Graphemes (letters) are taught. Following the program means that the teaching of phonics is consistent throughout the school. Which means that the children will be taught in the same consistent way and will very quickly become confident to participate in lessons and very quickly learn to sound out and blend words ready for reading.
We support the children’s application of phonics to their reading by using phonetically decodable reading books both in school and at home. Each week the children will read one book in school. This book will be read for three days in small groups. The groups are formed based on the children's phonics assessments. Phonics assessments will take place every half term. These are done within the assessment week and look at what the children have remembered and also what gaps the children may have. Once the children have been allocated a group, they will stay in that group for that half term. Each day we focus on different aspects of reading. Day one we look at decoding the words in the book. We do this as a group, looking to see if there are any 'di-graphs' ( two letters that make one sound ...er) or 'tri-graphs' (three letters that make one sound...igh), we then sound out and blend lots of the words. Some of the words are 'Tricky Words' and these are read on sight. This first session is very important in 'breaking' down the words and talking about the meaning of some of the words, or what they are. For instance one of the words in one of the books is 'Moss', it is important that the children understand what the words are and mean for when we get onto day three. Day two we look at Prosody, which is reading with expression and reading with fluency. Also looking at punctuation like exclamation marks, and how they would change how the sentence is read. Day three we look at comprehension. This is understanding what we are reading about. Which is why both the decoding and prosody sessions are important, because without knowing what the words say or mean along with the punctuation and how it changes how we read it, we cannot possibly understand the context of a word/sentence or what we are reading about. All three sessions are equally important and beneficial to supporting the children to then bring the book home and read fluently with you. We send the books home on a Thursday and ask that you listen to your child read them Thursday through to Monday when they will need to be returned. On Monday we will send home a sharing book. This can be chosen by your child in the classroom, or you are very welcome to visit the reading shed in the KS1 garden or for EYFS parents there is a lending corner through the door just outside the gate to the left of the EYFS garden. If children are to become lifelong readers, it is essential that they are encouraged to read for pleasure. The desire of wanting to read will help with the skill of reading. To help foster a love of reading, children should take a book home that they can share and enjoy with you. These books offer a wealth of opportunities for talking about the pictures and enjoying the story. It is important to offer a variety of books, including non-fiction, so they can enjoy a range of writing. These books are NOT for your child to read to you independently, the book is for the you to read to or with your child. The goal is enjoyment. Please can these books be returned on the Thursday when the practice book will be sent home.
Once children are able to read with fluency and apply their knowledge of all the letter/sound patterns taught then the children read a wider range of literature. Children who are just beginning to learn the letter/sound correspondences are learning at the same time to tell stories using books which do not have words to begin with. This is crucial in the development of spoken language and vocabulary. It is a necessary stepping stone towards becoming an accomplished reader and writer.
Below is a link to the Little Wandle website, which explains clearly and simply how to support your children in learning to read with phonics.