Phonics and Reading

Phonics and Early Reading
At St. Nicholas Church School reading is taught through a 'phonics first' approach. We follow the Little Wandle scheme in EYFS and in KS1. This has a systematic structure which is fun and interactive and allows the children to make rapid progress. Having strong and secure phonic knowledge ensures that children can become fluent readers and apply their skills in their writing too.
In reception, children are introduced to Letters and Sounds during their first few weeks at school. Children begin their phonic journey by being taught phase 2 GPSs (grapheme/phoneme correspondences). They play oral 'oral blending' games, identify initial sounds in words and progress to blending and segmenting simple cvc words. They will also be exposed to a range of 'tricky words which do not follow normal decoding patterns. Children will assimilate these through exposure and repetition.
During the Spring term children in their reception year will learn new Phase 3 GPCs and additional tricky words. They will then move on to Phase 4 during the Summer term. This focuses on consolidation of taught GPCs and strategies for reading and writing longer and more complex words.
For a full list of sounds that the children will learn in their reception and year 1 please see link to the Little Wandle Website below.
As children move into year 1 they will review their knowledge of phase 3 and 4 of the scheme. This allows for progression to phase 5 during Autumn term 2. Phase 5 focuses on the alternative pronunciations and spellings of graphemes. The children will also continue to add new 'tricky words' to their bank of knowledge.
For more information about progression, including a programme overview see resource below.
When children are in year 2 they will continue to review and consolidate their knowledge of phase 5. They will then move on to the Little Wandle Fluency reading programme when they are ready. Children will learn spellings through our 'Spelling shed' scheme.
Children are regularly assessed which allows teachers to quickly identify gaps children may have . Interventions across all phases and stages are then planned to ensure children 'keep up' and 'catch up'.
All adults have been trained in the Little Wandle approach which allows for consistent teaching across the school.
Early Reading
Reading books that the children take home are carefully matched to their phonic skills and are aligned to the Little Wandle scheme, meaning they are fully decodable. Children begin with wordless books and to develop their book handling skills and vocabulary. They then move swiftly on to word books as they begin to recognise letters and blend cvc words. This means that children can experience success at every step of their reading journey.
Children will have 3 reading practise sessions per week with an adult. These will focus on the different skills of decoding, reading with expression (prosody) and comprehension. They will then take their book home to reinforce their knowledge by practising with a parent/carer. We recommend that you listen to your child every day to maximise their potential for fluency and success.
Once children have completed Phase 5 they will take a fluency test in order to move on to the Little Wandle Fluency programme. Children will continue this until completion in year 3 or 4.
Reading at home and across the curriculum
At St. Nicholas we want children to read for both pleasure and for purpose. We endorse a love of reading and promote this throughout the curriculum. Both fiction and non-fiction texts are used widely and can provide a starting point for each term. These may be linked to the class topic or theme. Each class also has 10 quality texts that are used to enhance interest and support learning throughout the year.
There are many opportunities for children to read across the curriculum. This can be whole class, reading for pleasure or reading for research. Reading corners offer a variety of genres and books linked to topics are clearly accessible. Teachers select high quality story books that promote and support discussion and questioning. Children are encouraged to explore author voice and to draw on their own experiences to empathise and talk about characters, motives and plots. Every year group enjoy a shared reading experience during a designated 'story time' with their class teacher.
We hope that you will continue to share stories with your child at home. This is a special, memorable and enjoyable experience for all involved. Not only does it develop a love of language but teaches the pleasure that can be found in reading and telling a story. The memories of sharing special books connects generations and lasts a life time. Please take a look at the recommended reading books posters for each year group below.