Phonics and Reading at Thornhill Lees
Teaching: At Thornhill Lees we use ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ as our Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme. This programme is followed with consistency throughout our school by all teachers and teaching assistants. Discrete daily whole-class phonics lessons are taught to all children by the class teacher in Reception, Years 1 and 2. Flashcards and additional reading opportunities continue throughout the day to reinforce prior learning. For those children who have not yet grasped the fundamentals of the phonics that has been taught or require additional input, they participate in a daily Keep Up program led by a familiar teaching assistant. Phonics remains the main strategy that we use to approach and decode unfamiliar words and spelling across our school. We believe that we can teach all children to read.
Reading: From the beginning of Reception we encourage our children to blend, orally at first and then by looking at the word. We use Word Boxes to speed up this process. Once the children have mastered the basics of this skill, a reading book is sent home that matches their phonic ability. In Reception the children take part in two sessions of small group reading each week where decoding, reading with prosody and comprehension are the focus. They then keep the same phonically decodable text and practice reading this one to one with an adult. In Years 1 and 2, the children participate in three small group reading sessions a week, where once again the focus is on decoding, reading with prosody and comprehension. For those children who are still reading phonically decodable texts, they keep this text and read it one to one with an adult. For those children who have passed the Year 1 Phonics Screening Test they move on to other texts where the focus is on comprehension.
Assessment: Individual phonics assessments are completed for all children using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Assessment Tool every 6 weeks. Class teachers carry out the assessment and then use this information to support children in moving forwards. In Year 2, an assessment is carried out based upon what has been taught in the half term. Children who are identified at risk of falling behind are targeted in a Keep Up programme and are assessed every 3 weeks to ensure the gap is closing. The Keep Up programme used is the one suggested by Little Wandle, no additional package is used. Continuous formative assessment is carried out during lessons and this is used to inform any further same day intervention or catch up.