At Hackness and Wykeham Church of England Schools’ Federation, we believe that the ability to read underpins all learning and allows children to access new experiences, perspectives and opportunities. Reading is a skill for life and high quality phonics teaching secures word recognition and decoding skills so that children can become fluent, independent readers.
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write. It helps children identify and use the different letter-sounds that form words. Synthetic phonics teaches children how to decode words by enunciating sounds in isolation and blending them together. For example, when reading a single syllable word such as dog, the children pronounce each individual sound d/o/g and blend those sounds back together to form and understand the word. Sounds can be made from one letter or a cluster of letters: for example, the k sound can be represented by c, k, ck or ch. Letters and the sounds they can make are referred to as grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs).
In addition to introducing new GPCs, each phase of the phonics programme contains common exception words which cannot be decoded using a child’s existing phonic knowledge. These words are taught by drawing attention to the ‘tricky’ part and children have regular opportunities to learn to read these words by sight.
In our Federation, we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme with fidelity. Phonics lessons start in Week 2 of Reception and continue until the end of Year 1 when children will have mastered the decoding skills required to read fluently and confidently.
Daily phonics lessons are enhanced and embedded through our reading practice sessions, which occur three times a week.
In the minority of cases, some children may need to continue accessing Phonics into Year 2 or Lower Key Stage 2. These children will be monitored closely and lessons planned in accordance with their needs to support them to catch up quickly.
For more information about how children learn to read in our schools, please see our Phonics and Early Reading policy below.
The Little Wandle website contains useful information demonstrating the progression of GPCs, how to correctly enunciate phonemes and some example videos of how children are taught to decode words.
As your child works their way through the phases of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised, we will provide them with flashcards and activities to help embed what they have learned in school. They will also receive reading books that are closely matched to their current phonic knowledge. Regular reading practice is essential to help your child to make rapid progress in phonics, so we ask that children read aloud at home to an adult or older sibling at least four times a week. Re-reading a text enables children to develop fluency so that they become able to better understand what they have read.
There are a range of websites that you may choose to access at home to help your child further develop their phonic knowledge. Because consistency is key when learning to read, we recommend that you speak to your child’s class teacher or contact us via ClassDojo about which activities or websites are most appropriate.