Phonics is the systematic teaching of the ‘phonemes’ (sounds) that accompany the written letters ‘graphemes’. It is designed to teach children to become confident and fluent readers in English and also be able to spell words.
All children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 have a 30 minute phonics session every day where they are introduced to new sounds and practise the sounds that they are familiar with and apply them in their reading and spelling.
At St Richards we follow a Systematic Synthetic Programme called 'Little Wandle' Letters and Sounds Revised. It is a programme validated by the DfE July 2021. At St Richards we share the same philosophy, believing every child should and can be a fluent reader.
The Little Wandle website provides a huge range of supporting videos to help parents at home. It includes the correct pronunciation of each phoneme which so important when trying to blend phonemes to read. Below is a link to this informative website;
The children use Big Cat Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised books in school for their guided reading sessions. These books are perfectly matched for each individual, so that they are fully decodable. The children will be introduced to both fiction and non-fiction and will be introduced to a range of wonderful vocabulary. The book is then sent home at the end of the week as a eBook to read to their parents. They should be able to read this book fluently and independently by the time it comes home.
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
Once the children are secure in their phonics and have competed their Little Wandle journey they then move onto a wide variety of published materials, 'Traditional Tales' 'Project X' and ‘Floppy’s Phonics’, and ‘Songbirds'.
Year 1 Phonics screening check
At the end of year 1, children will undertake a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short assessment to make sure that children have learnt phonics to an appropriate standard.
There are 40 words in the screening check which the children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of ‘real’ words (e.g. ‘mud’) and non-words (e.g. ‘splog’) and children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read all words.
Preparation for the check takes place during the daily phonics session, but you can help your child at home by practising phonics on a regular basis.
If you have any questions at all related to phonics, please do not hesitate to ask one of our fantastic EYFS or KS1 team!