Phonics and Early Reading


Here at Piddle Valley, we firmly believe that teaching a child to read is one of the most important things we can teach a child to do. Thus ensuring future academic achievement, wellbeing and success in life.
Throughout their school journey, we teach children all the basic skills needed to enable a child to read independently. We want our children to love reading – and to want to read for enjoyment. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. Reading is central to our ability to understand, interpret and communicate with each other and the world around us. Reading for pleasure has many non-literacy benefits and can increase empathy, improve relationships with others and improve wellbeing throughout life (The Reading Agency 2015).
To lay firm foundations in this crucial area of the curriculum we use systematic phonics to teach reading. Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read. Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.
Therefore, we have established a consistent whole school approach to the teaching of phonics and use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme which meets all the expectations of the EYFS Framework, the National Curriculum and prepares our children to go beyond the expectations of the Phonics Screening Check. Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised also draws on the latest research into how children learn best; how to ensure learning stays in children’s long term memory and how best to enable children to apply their learning to become highly competent readers.
Further Information for Parents
Strong engagement with you about your child's phonics and early reading learning is key to your child's success. As well as all the information above, we have also created a PowerPoint presentation for you plus accompanying notes. These are from the September meeting for parents.
The resources on the Little Wandle For Parents page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught in school and feel confident about supporting your child's reading at home. Find our full Reception and Year 1 teaching programme overview above to see what your child will learn and when.
Prioritising Phonics Teaching
In our Pre-School, all children have weekly phonics provision through 'tuning into sounds' games and activities. Please refer to the links above.
In Reception and Year 1 (and Year 2 in Term 1), phonics teaching starts in the first full week of the Autumn term and takes place daily at the start of the school day. The lesson starts with a 'Revisit and Review' section where a selection of previously taught GPCs are reviewed through 'Speedy Sounds' flashcards. Selected Tricky Words are also reviewed through flashcards. The lesson will then enter the 'Teach and Practice' phase where the children will learn a new GPC (and catchphrase where appropriate), take part in oral blending and read new words. Children will then 'Practise and Apply' their phonics learning by identifying Tricky Words and GPCs in a sentence, reading the sentence (by sounding-out and blending) and then writing words from the sentence (Reception) or the sentence is dictated to them to write (Year 1 upwards). This is also where children will practise letter formation rhymes (Reception) or focus upon a particular letter family (Year 1 upwards).  
In addition to the explicit daily phonics lessons, children will also have additional opportunities throughout the school day (both indoors and outdoors) to take part in phonics games and activities to practise and apply their phonics knowledge, early reading and writing skills.
Individual and Group Keep-Up
Every six weeks all children in Reception and Year 1 (and specific children in need of additional support in Years 2, 3 and 4 as appropriate) are assessed in their phonics attainment using a specifically designed assessment tool from Little Wandle for Letters and Sounds Revised. This gives teachers specific information about children that may need individual or group 'keep-up' sessions. These sessions are then usually timetabled into the afternoons for 5 to 20 minutes.