Early Reading and Phonics (Little Wandle)
At St Alban's Catholic Primary School, 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 in 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.
As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At St Alban's Catholic 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.
At St Albans's Catholic Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time 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.
Your child's reading experience is much more than the reading book which comes home from school. Reading is happening all the time in a classroom and in the school. It is taught in specific reading and English lessons, but children are practising and using their 'reading' constantly across all subjects too.
Parents can support this 'reading journey' through regular reading at home. Reading to and with your child every evening for at least ten minutes can make a dramatic difference to a child's achievement within school. A report from the Oxford University Press highlighted the importance of parents reading with their children. 'Children who read outside of class are 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age'.
The report also offers six tips for reading with your child at home, including:
1. Make time to read- even ten minutes a day
2. Choose different types of books
3. Take turns to read
4. Talk about the book- asking your child questions
5. Pay attention to the language
6. Enjoy reading
Learning To Read
Children learn to read in different ways and at different ages. The first part of a child's journey towards being a successful reader starts when the child is a baby and is listening to stories and rhymes. This encourages a love of language and stories and develops the child's vocabulary and understanding of language as they start to become familiar with what words mean and what they look like.
A vital first stage of a child's development as a reader is to be able to 'read' pictures and to determine what is happening or to predict what might happen from the pictures in a book. As this skill develops, children become able to use their grammatical skills to listen to words within a sentence and to make sense of what they can hear. This is an important tool for the young reader as it enables them to make sensible guesses at unknown words within a sentence and to continue to read for meaning without being stopped in their tracks.
Most pre-school children are already reading before they start school; they will be able to read the supermarket sign above the shops they visit frequently, McDonalds, Lego and Disney will be easily identifiable to them too! Whilst your young child won't necessarily be able to identify the letters and sounds within those words, they read them because they remember the overall shape of the word. At St Alban’s we ensure that children have a good range of high frequency words that they identify without having to ask or sound them out so that they can maintain fluency within their reading, which in turn supports a good understanding of what they have read.
Supporting your child's reading
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. There are TWO types of books your children may bring home.
READING PRACTICE BOOK: this has been carefully matched to your child's current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please do not 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.
SHARING BOOK: In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong learner, 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 them to read this on their own. Read it to or with them.Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for characters, explore the facts in the non-fiction books. The main thing is you have fun together!
For more information about your child's phonics, please follow the link:
In addition to these basic reading skills the teaching of phonics is a key focus at St Alban’s for our developing readers and writers. We ensure that all children in our Foundation Stage 2 and year 1 classes are taught phonic skills through a daily 20 minute discrete phonic lesson. This develops the child's ability to tackle unknown words within a text by blending the phonemes (sounds) within the word. These phonic skills also enable a child to work out the phonemes they will need to use when they are writing words. Year 2 will continue with daily phonics sessions for those groups or individuals which require more support. All year 2 children will begin the Pathways 2 Spell programme where children are taught to identify the pattern and read and spell the words.
The phonic lessons are structured to ensure that children are first able to identify letters and to say the sound those letters make. Once children are confident with saying the single letter sounds and blending them to create words, they then start to learn the common digraphs (where two letters go together to create a new phoneme such as sh), trigraphs (where three letters create a new phoneme such as igh) and spelling patterns that we use within the English language.
At St Alban’s, the key objectives in our phonic, reading and writing lessons are that children are taught to:
· love books and enjoy listening to stories, poems and rhymes
· read and write letter-sound correspondences quickly
· decode effortlessly, spell and handwrite easily
· comprehend what they read
· read with fluency and expression
· write confidently using oral rehearsal
· work effectively with a partner or within a group to articulate their learning at every step