At Petham Primary School, we aim to develop confident, fluent and passionate readers and writers from an early stage. We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised which is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP). This is a process that first teaches the letter sounds, building up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words.
Application of phonics to reading The National Curriculum for English (2014) aims to ensure that all pupils:
Reading underpins children's access to the curriculum and it clearly impacts on their achievement. There is considerable research to show that children who enjoy reading and choose to read benefit not only academically, but also socially and emotionally. To be able to read, children need to be taught an efficient strategy to decode words. That strategy is phonics. It is essential that children are actively taught andsupported to use phonics as the only approach to decoding. Other strategies must be avoided. Phonic decoding skills must be practised until children become automatic and fluent reading is established.
At Petham we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised programme as our phonics programme. Fluent decoding is only one component of reading. Comprehension skills need to be taught to enable children to make sense of what they read, build on what they already know and give them a desire to want to read. Reading increases children's vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Furthermore, children who read widely and frequently also have more secure general knowledge.
In EYFS children are introduced to Phase 2 and Phase 3 phonemes. Our children are taught to recognise the 44 sounds in the English language which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, like 't', and some by two or more, like 'ck' in duck and 'igh' as in light. We refer to these as diagraphs and trigraphs. Once they have mastered the initial sounds the children are encouraged to match them to letters, then blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. Finally, they use their knowledge of the sounds and blending skills to support their spelling. The children learn to read a list of age appropriate 'tricky' words, words which cannot be sounded out using their phonics e.g 'the'.
In Key Stage 1 the children revise the 44 sounds and learn alternative graphemes, for example 'ay' as in play and 'ou' as in cloud. Towards the end of Key Stage 1 and moving in to Key Stage 2, we teach the children important 'spelling rules'. This enables children to make the shift from writing phonetically to spelling words accurately.
The national Phonics Screening Check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils and it is administered during the summer term. It is a short, statutory, assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in the phonics skills required to read words and that they are on track to become confident, fluent readers who have a love of reading.
The check consists of a list of 40 words, half are real words and half are 'nonsense' words; the nonsense words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense words.
This link will take you to the progression document, so that you can see when your child would learn each sound:
Below you can find links to documents and videos which explain how to pronounce each phoneme:
Following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised program, children move on to Accelerated Reader (AR). We ensure children are secure in the learning content of the Little Wandle program and that they are confident and fluent when applying the skills before moving them forward to AR. AR does not help children learn to read - it consolidates their learning and promotes reading comprehension rather than decoding and word reading skills.
All children learn to read at different rates, so read with your child often to help them to develop a love of reading. This is equally as important as your child learning to read individual words.
AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at their own level and reads it at their own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer (passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read). AR gives children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice. Children using AR choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This encourages reading to become an independent experience as the children can choose books they find interesting promoting a love of reading and reading for pleasure. Teachers support children to choose books at an appropriate readability level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that your child can enjoy and understand the text and subsequently pass the quiz and experience success.
Children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they’re reading books at their reading and interest levels, they are likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most children. Best of all, they learn and grow at their own pace.
According to research, children who read at least 35 minutes a day (at home and school) with a 90% comprehension rate (average percent correct) on AR quizzes see the greatest gains. Therefore, your child should have at least 35 minutes set aside for reading during each day.
As with anything, performance improves with practice. Encourage your child to read at home. Create a culture of reading in your household by reading with your child, starting a home library, visiting your local library on a regular basis, letting your child see you reading, and discussing books that each of you has read. When reading with your child, stop and ask questions to be sure your child is understanding what is read. Reading with your child, no matter what the child’s age, is an important part of developing a good reader, building a lifelong love of reading and learning, and creating a close relationship between you and your child. Make learning a family affair!
Using Accelerated Reader, your child will choose the books they want to read. The teacher will make certain the book is at the right level so that after completing the book, your child should do well on the AR Reading Practice Quiz. Success on the quiz will encourage your child to read more. With guidance from the teacher, and success, even children who say they don’t like reading develop a love of reading.
Teachers determine your child’s reading level using a STAR Reading™ test and using their best professional judgment based on their knowledge of your child. A STAR Reading test is a computerized reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to your child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child misses a question, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 15 minutes. As a result the teacher is provided with a Zone of Proximal Development for your child.
In independent literature-based reading, ZPD is the range of books that will challenge a child without causing frustration or loss of motivation. Your child will receive a ZPD range after taking a STAR Reading test. It’s important for children to read with a high degree of comprehension and within their ZPDs. ZPDs should be adjusted based on the needs of your child.