phonics

At Dormers Wells, we follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, a systematic and synthetic phonics programme.  

Our phonic provision is designed to ensure that all pupils become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers.  We believe that phonics provides the foundations of successful and fluent readers and writers. We begin laying the foundations of phonic learning in nursery and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. 

 We believe that all pupils should progress through the phonics phases with fluency and confidence and thus place high importance on quality teaching and resources. Phonics and reading are essential tools to access the whole curriculum, to engage and make sense of knowledge and to explore, question and respond to the world. A strong phonics basis enables us to ensure our pupils flourish as readers and therefore develop socially, emotionally, intellectually and culturally.  

Foundations for phonics in Nursery

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

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 Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception. 

  • 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 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.  

Regular Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns

Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week

  • Any child who needs additional practice has regular Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching 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, sharp 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 
  • 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: 

  • decoding 
  • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression 
  • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.  

In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have regular 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.  

Home reading 

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.  
  • We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops. 

Assessment 

Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it. 

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.  

Statutory assessment 

  • Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2. 

  

Ongoing assessment for catch-up  

  • Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as through the half-termly Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised summative assessments. 

rights respecting school

useful links

Dormers Wells Primary School is a Right Respecting School we follow the UN Conventions Rights for children where we teach children about rights, through rights and for rights. We believe children who have understanding of their rights also understand how others and how they should be treated. Also, we aim to create a safe environment and atmosphere for our children. Rights Respecting gives children a voice to express themselves and challenge any injustices. They feel empowered to access information and make informed decisions about their learning, health and wellbeing. As a school, we want to equip our children to advocate for rights where they can promote equality, fairness and safety.

Phonics

Article 13- Every child must be free to express their thoughts and opinions and to access all kinds of information, as long as it is in the law.