Phonics & Early Reading

At Bulford St Leonard's, we believe that reading is central to the entire curriculum and is the most important life skill. Phonics is crucial to unlocking the reading code.

Intent: We aim to…

  • Deliver twice daily phonics through a high-quality phonics programme and consistently implement it to equip children with the skills they need to decode and become fluent readers. 

  • Provide children with books that are closely matched to their phonic abilities so they can be successful when practising

  • Use assessment in a timely way to ensure pupils are supported to catch up quickly through targeted intervention.

  • Ensure the highest number of children possible pass the phonics screen check which expectations that are aspirational yet achievable.

Implementation: How do we achieve our aims?Little wondle

At BSL, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics from the start of Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

A systematic approach

To allow our children to develop a strong phonic awareness and effective blending and decoding, we have chosen to use a DfE validated synthetic phonics programme called Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. The programe is a systematic, synthetic approach to teaching phonics, with clear expectations that are laid out term by term from Reception to year 2.

Access to appropriate books

Children practise reading using fully decodable books that are closely matched to their developing phonic level. We draw upon Collins Big Cat (for Letters and Sounds) texts . Reading books are closely matched to the phonics programme and are grouped accordingly.

Regular Assessment

The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds (Revised) SSP includes 6 weekly assessment tasks which allow the teachers to identify pupils that may need extra support. On-going teacher assessment at the point of delivery also highlights which pupils may need Keep-Up Support.

A consistent approach

In R and Yr1 twice daily 25 mins phonics lessons you will see:

  • Whole class sessions, following a consistent structure, led by a trained member of staff, who explicitly models strategies and skills.

  • All teachers and TAs use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.

  • Teachers assessing pupils’ understanding of the GPCS and tricky words through engaging and interactive delivery.

  • All members of staff making use of high quality planning and training materials

  • Opportunities throughout the day to reinforce learning including group and individual catch up sessions with children identified from assessments.

  • Little Wandle display materials and sound mats to support pupils in their writing

Reading practice

Reading practice sessions three times a week

  • Children read three times a week in a small group with a trained adult, using decodable books matched to their ability using LW assessments and book matching grids.
  • Progress is monitored by the class teacher and Reading Lead
  • Each reading practice session has a clear focus for teaching; decoding, prosody or comprehension.
  • In Reception these sessions start after October half term. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
  • In Year 2 we continue to teach reading in this way, during interventions, for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.

Home reading

Pupils take home their decodable practice book and a reading for pleasure book to share with their family. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share phonics and reading information.

Intervention: Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily keep-up support, taught by trained adult.
  • Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the pedagogy, but in smaller steps with more repetition, to secure children’s learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check.
  • We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the keep-up resources – at pace.
  • The placement tests, used for pupils who only just passed the PSC, identifies children in Year 2 to 6 who have gaps in their phonic knowledge. They receive ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.

Additional reading support for vulnerable children

  • Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.

 Impact: how will we know we have achieved our intent?

  • By the end of Year 1, children can decode, segment and blend confidently, and most are ready to move from learning to read to reading to learn

  • Children feel successful in reading and are more willing to read because books are matched to their ability

  • The use of timely and targeted intervention means that almost all children become confident fluent readers by the end of KS1

  • A high number of pupils pass the phonics screening check at the end of Year 1

Click here to see our Phonics and Early Reading Policy

Click here for Little Wandle Phonic Progression 

Click here for the Phonics Subject Overview