At the Ellison Boulters CE Academy, we strive for all our pupils to become fluent readers and writers. Our aims are for pupils to:
- Build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school
- Be equipped to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read
- Read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure
- See themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose
- Be taught fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme
We teach a synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression. We 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.
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 at the start of the first full week of the Autumn term. This allows the school to follow the weekly Little Wandle Programme correctly. 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
Daily phonics lessons in Year 2
Little Wandle Letters and sounds have created a scheme to move onto after Year 1:
- If the children are secure with Phase 5, then they will complete a Phase 5 revision term looking at more complex words. They will then complete a 5 week, ‘Bridge to Spelling’ block in which they learn to spell uncommon digraphs.
- If the children are not secure in Phase 5, the children will participate in Rapid Catch up lessons for the appropriate Phase.
- In the Spring term ALL children will complete the 20 week spelling units.
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.
- We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 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 Keep-up resources – at pace.
- If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.
We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times 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 using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’
- 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
In the Reception year these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books. In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.
The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
At Ellison Boulters CE Academy, the quality teaching of Phonics results in:
- Pupils at Ellison Boulters CE Academy being able to master phonics to read and spell as they move through school
- Pupils becoming confident readers and developing this a crucial life skill
- Pupils seeing themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose
- Development of resilience and perseverance