Since 2010, the UK government has sought to embed the teaching of phonics in all primary schools and in 2021 updated the way in which it validated a number of ‘Systematic Synthetic Phonics’ (SSP) teaching programmes.  Our chosen scheme ‘Little Wandle’, developed by a South London teaching school, was approved for use and we began using it across our schools from September 2021.

Development of phonics skills

Pupils begin in EYFS by being taught phonics as well as being encouraged to take on the role of ‘the reader’ in school by emulating how skilled Early Years practitioners read aloud.  During this stage there is a lot of talking between child and adult about what is going on in the book – the earliest stage of comprehension.  Pupils are able to retell stories using role play and enjoy whole class shared reading and being read to by adults.  Favourite books may be read many times over.

As pupils move into Key Stage One, the teaching of reading strategies continues alongside a systematic approach to phonics. We use the ‘Little Wandle’ phonics programme and parents can get an understanding of how this works by following this linkWe have timetabled phonics sessions every day for children of this age and there is an assessment of progress in Year 1.

Alongside the systematic phonics work undertaken in the EYFS and KS1 there is a focus on fluency and the reading of high frequency and common exception words.  Comprehension skills are explicitly taught through a variety of texts used in class that include fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

During Key Stage Two, children’s comprehension skills are further developed through the teaching of new vocabulary in context. Pupils are taught the skills of retrieval, use of prior knowledge and  inference through whole class reading sessions that use a wide variety of challenging and interesting texts.

The Trust uses the ‘Little Wandle’ phonics scheme which has great resources for parents.  Click on the logo for further information.

First published on 1st October, 2021 and modified 26th April, 2022

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