Phonics and Reading
How we teach phonics
- In September 2022 we began to implement Little Wandle Letters and Sounds.
- During Early Years children's phonics journey begins in Nursery with Little Wandle 'Foundation to Phonics' through everyday activities and provision. These include tuning into sounds in the environment and lead to orally hearing and saying sounds in words. We focus on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes.
- At Catchgate we then continue to visit aspects of early phonics throughout Phases 2-5.
- Children in reception and Y1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
- Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
- In Reception teaching of Phase 2 sounds begins within the first 2 weeks to ensure the children make a strong start.
- By the end of reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4.
- By the end of year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5.
- Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to a longer session of up to 20 minutes as soon as possible.
- In Year 1 lessons are 20 minutes long. When children move to Year 2 and 3 phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but specific gaps will be identified through assessment and addressed through a Little Wandle Rapid Catch-up Programme.
Reading practice sessions
- Children across reception, year 1, year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
- These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week on. a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. There are approximately 6 children in a group.
- The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
- The children then take the same book home each Wednesday and read this book at home, returning it on Monday of the following week, to ensure success is shared with the family.
- In reception these sessions start by week 4 of the autumn term. Children who are not decoding, do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised.
- Children will bring a reading for pleasure book home to share with an adult. This book is to look at together with a focus on vocabulary and developing a love of books.
How do we assess phonic knowledge?
- In reception and year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment).
- Children identified in reception and Year 1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
- In reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker on FFT.
- The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
- Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2.
- Children who are in Year 2 to 6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.
To find out more information about how we teach phonics and early reading follow the link below to the parents section of the Little Wandle website.
How letters are taught during phonics sessions
Children are taught to recognise letter shapes with a mnemonic to remind children how the letters are formed in writing.
We recognise the importance of reading at home and the role parents play in reading to children.
Keep an eye out for some exciting reading opportunities for you to join in with throughout this school year.
County Durham Libraries are having a Christmas competition to write a letter to Santa about your favourite book and why everyone should get a copy for Christmas. You can pick up an entry sheet from your local library and hand it in before Friday 15th December. You can also collect an entry sheet from Mrs Schofield and hand it back to Mrs Schofield by Friday 8th December. All entries must contain the child's first name and library number. You can visit any County Durham Library to join. It's free, only takes a few minutes and you can begin to use the library straight away!
We are so lucky to have a lovely, well stocked, library in a beautiful building on our doorstep. Libraries are a wonderful resource and a great way to access many wonderful books for free! Children can borrow up to 12 books and they currently don't charge for late returns. The children's section at Annfield Plain library is a welcoming space and a great place to spend an hour on a rainy day.
In the holidays the libraries offer craft activities and often have competitions for children to get involved. The library offers a Rhyme Time for preschool children every Tuesday at 10 - 10.30, a social group for adults every 2 weeks on a Tuesday 10-11am and a reading group for adults every second Thursday of the month at 2-3pm.
The opening hours for Annfield Plain Library are:
Monday 10am - 7pm
Tuesday 9am - 1pm
Thursday 1 - 5pm
Saturday 9.30am - 12.30pm
Find out more using the link below.
Blue Peter Book Badge
Have you applied for the Blue Peter Book Badge yet?
I wonder who will be the first child at Catchgate Primary to receive one?
You can apply online or by asking Mrs Schofield for a paper application form that must be filled in by a parent or guardian. Mrs Schofield is also more than happy to collect completed applications and send them in on your behalf.
To earn this badge you must:
- Be aged 5 - 15 years.
- Fill out the application online or a paper copy.
- Ask your parent or guardian for permission to apply and ask them to read the privacy notice and badge attractions terms and conditions.
- Tell us about a book you have read and what you think about it,
- Upload your illustration of a character or a scene from the story (draw on paper if applying on a paper copy)
- Let us know what other books and authors you have enjoyed reading and why.
- Get your parent or guardian to help fill out the form and personal details.
- If applying by post, send your application with the correct postage to:
Blue Peter, BBC Bridge House, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2BH
There will be team points awarded to anyone who receives a Blue Peter Book Badge and badges will be shared in our Friday Collective Worships.
Reading at Home
2023-2024 Little Wandle Phonics Overview
CBeebies Bedtime stories
Below is a link to quality stories read by celebrities. These are a lovely way to ensure children are accessing the important language and vocabulary of stories. Please watch them with your children and talk about the stories and meaning of words after.
Story Time Online
Below is a link to a selection of stories read by American Actors. Please watch with your children and use these an opportunity to ask questions about the plot and discuss the rich language and vocabulary.