Here we hope you will find everything you need to know about how the children in Foundation and Key Stage 1 are learning to read.  If we have missed anything at all, please let us know. Mrs Palmer is Phonics Lead at Ormiston South Parade Academy so please feel free to contact her for further information or support.

What is phonic teaching?

Phonic teaching involves showing children the sounds of letters (not the letter names) and how these sounds can be blended together to make words. E.g. the word ‘cat’ is a decodable word because the letter sounds can be blended together.

c – a – t → cat

The ability to read is within the reach of every child.  The most direct route to reading for the vast majority of children is through systematically taught, ‘synthetic phonics’.  At Ormiston South Parade Academy, we follow a ‘phonics first’ approach to reading, where children learn to decode (read) and encode (spell) printed words quickly and fluently by blending and segmenting letter sounds. Our teaching and learning follows the progression of ‘Little Wandle’.

What is Little Wandle?

This is a systematic synthetic phonics programme approved by the DfE and based on the original Letters and Sounds phonics programme- which we taught prior to September 2022.  Little Wandle draws on the latest research into how children learn best; how to ensure learning stays in children’s long-term memory and how best to enable children to apply their learning to become highly competent readers. The programme includes the seven key features of effective phonics teaching:

• direct teaching in frequent, short bursts 

• consistency of approach

• secure, systematic progression in phonics learning

• maintaining pace of learning

• providing repeated practice • application of phonics using matched decodable books • early identification of children at risk of falling behind, linked to the provision of effective keep-up support

Little Wandle – Reception overview

Little Wandle – Year 1 overview

How do we support reading?

We support the children’s application of phonics to their reading by using Collins Big Cats reading books, until children are able to read with fluency and apply their knowledge of all the letter/sound patterns taught.  There are three reading sessions a week – day 1 – decoding the book, day 2 – reading the book with expression, day 3 – comprehension based on the book.

There are two types of reading book that your child will bring home:

  • A decodable phonics book (Collins Big Cat) – This will be matched to your child’s stage in the phonics programme. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.  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. 
  • A sharing book – Your child may not be able to read this book on their own as it is not fully decodable and will not be matched to their phonics level. 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 from the library 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! 

Little Wandle resource page

The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home.

What is a Screening Check?

At the end of Year 1, all children must participate in the Government’s ‘Phonics Screening Check’. This is to see if they are working at, or towards, the required national standard in terms of phonics skills. It enables schools to identify children who need additional help, so ensure they are given support to improve their reading skills.  

It is a Statutory Requirement to carry out the screening check. The check is a short, simple screening check which consists of a list of 40 words and pseudo words (non-words), which the child reads one-to-one with their class teacher. The Phonics Screening Check takes place in June.