Reading and Phonics

Phonics at Roach Vale

At Roach Vale Primary School, we believe that for all our children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme. 



We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons.  In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words.  The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. 

Our phonics teaching starts in Early Years and follow a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school.  As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.  We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. 

How we teach phonics

  • In Early Years and Year 1 children will have a daily phonics lesson. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers
  • In Early Years, teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term and we build from 10-minute lessons to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible
  • In Early Years the children learn phase 2, phase 3 and phase 4
  • Year 1 begin the Autumn term with 3 weeks of revision of phases 2, 3 and 4 before learning phase 5, which will be completed by the end of the year
  • In Year 2 and Year 3 phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment
  • From Year 4 to Year 6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting 10 minutes in length 

How do we assess phonic knowledge?

  • In Early Years and Year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning
  • Half termly assessments take place through EYFS and Year 1 to help inform future teaching and help identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and need additional practice
  • Daily assessment of learning also takes place so staff can quickly identify any children who are in danger of falling behind and provide the appropriate daily ‘Keep Up’ sessions – these follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2
  • Children who are in Years 4-6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments


If you are a parent and would like more information about how to support your child with phonics at home, please follow the links below to find overviews, videos, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources:

 Reading Practice Sessions

  • In Early Years and Year 1 the children read fully decodable books with an adult 3 times per week during our ‘Reading Practice’ sessions, which are small group sessions. These sessions are 15 minutes long and follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised
  • The following week, these books are then sent home for children to build their reading fluency and share their success with their family
  • Our reading books in EYFS and year 1 are 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Big Cat books'.


What can I do to support my child?

  • You can have a huge impact on your child’s reading journey by continuing their practice at home. There are two types of reading book that your child will bring home in Early Years and Year 1: 1) Reading practice book and 2) Additional sharing book
  • The Reading and Phonics practice book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading and phonics level. 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, ask them to decode (sound it out) and blend it. After they have finished, talk about the book together
  • The sharing book is a book they have chosen 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. In addition, after reading the book you can pick out some words and help them to expand their vocabulary by discussing alternatives for these words. The main thing is though that you have fun! 


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