Reading and Phonics

At Cleves Cross Primary, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we now teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and we 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.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Cleves Cross Primary School, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

We teach a 20-minute daily phonics session in Reception and Year 1. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help our children become fluent readers.

Our children make a strong start in Reception – phonics teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term – and they are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy. Our children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are then taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.

We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not yet passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. 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.

If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.

At Cleves Cross Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time our children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

For further information, please see the Little Wandle Phonics and early reading guide.

Throughout school we have developed a reading spine with high-quality class texts which have been carefully selected to challenge and inspire children’s thinking. In addition, we also have a list of suggested reading books for each year group called our ‘Recommended Readers’. These books have been carefully selected for children to read at home and span across different genres and include a range of topics.