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Countess Gytha Primary School is a member of Preston Primary Academy Trust

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Phonics and Early Reading



Our school uses the Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds scheme to provide an enjoyable and effective learning experience in Early Reading for all our pupils in EYFS and Key Stage 1. We believe that through close adherence and daily lessons using the Little Wandle approach, it will enable our children to become proficient readers able to recognise letter sounds as they move up through the school.


Further parent support can be found when visiting Little Wandle's Website


We look for our early readers to develop fluency, prosody and to comprehend what they read. Their reading books expose them to systematic synthetic phonics.


While most of our pupils acquire these skills directly from focused teaching and rehearse through their independent reading experiences across the curriculum, a significant minority, including children with dyslexia, do not acquire reading skills through Phonics alone. They will be supported by their class teacher and our highly trained teaching assistants to learn using a range of approaches, alongside synthetic phonics.



How often is my child taught Phonics?

In Reception and Year One, Phonics is taught for half an hour daily. In the early weeks of Reception, this may build from 15 minute sessions twice daily to an hour of Phonics a day by the end of the year. Additionally, class teachers will build in activities or tasks which embed their daily learning and allow revisiting and application. This may be in a writing task, a reading activity or through continuous provision learning in Reception. 


How does my child’s reading book align with Phonics teaching?

The Little Wandle books work in-line with phonics teaching. In fact, they deliberately reinforce behind the teaching delivered daily, in order to ensure that children have speedy sight recognition/recall to link the grapheme (letter or letters that make a sound) to the sound in their head.


By the time a pupil’s reading book comes home, it has been read three times in class. This means that, while reading aloud, children are not struggling to sound out each and every word. 


In addition to using phonic knowledge to read, children are required to store an ever-growing number of words in their memory which are deemed to be 'Tricky Words', so named because they have a letter or letters within them which do not segment and blend to sound out a word. 'Was' is a perfect example. These words appear in reading books and are taught and rehearsed in phonics lessons.


How do I support my child with reading at 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. Further information can be found in the Reading at Home video below. 


Reading practice book

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. Use the questions in the back of the book to support their comprehension of the text. 


Sharing book

In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!


What reading books will my child have?

The Collins Big Cat reading scheme aligned to the Little Wandle resources and so is used in both Foundation Stage (Reception) and Key Stage 1. This scheme allows our pupils to progressively build their vocabulary and comprehension skills as they practice reading key words and become increasingly fluent readers.


As children progress beyond Early Reading and phonics, they will transition on to the school's banded book system which enables readers to access a wide range of texts matched to their reading ability. All readers will be heard at least once-a-week in schools, with some children identified as daily readers. We encourage families to read as often as possible both with and to their children, with the expectation being once a day in Key Stage 1 and at least four times weekly in Key Stage 2. When in Upper Key Stage 2, children are also encouraged to read independently.


The graphemes (the way sounds are written in our language) and phonemes (the sounds that are blended together to make words in our language) are taught in sequence and these can be viewed below. If you would like any guidance as to how to deliver these sounds, then please speak to your child's teacher or please also find below a set of links, Little Wandle videos and Parent Resources to help at home.

Autumn 1 - Reception Sounds

This Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 1 video is designed to be shared with families by schools using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to help them to support learning at home.

Autumn Half-Term 2 - Reception Sounds

This Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 2 video is designed to be shared with families to help them to support learning at home.

Spring Half-Term 1 - Reception Sounds

Reading at Home

This is "Reading books with your child" by Little Wandle on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

How we teach Phase 5 (Year 1)

This is "How we teach Phase 5" by Little Wandle on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

What are Alien Words?

What are Tricky Words?

Children are encouraged to borrow a second or third book from the school library to encounter a variety of reading literature and to broaden their reading horizons. The school also subscribes to class reading boxes, which supply age-matched reading materials specific to the topics taught in each class at a given point in the year. 


If you would like to find out more information about our phonics or reading schemes, please speak to Miss Morris or Mr Gallagher.