Our school has chosen Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our systematic, synthetic phonics (SSP) programme to teach early reading and spelling.
Phonics is making connections between the sounds of our spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t!
It is really important that you pronounce the sounds correctly at home if you are supporting your child.
These videos will help you to pronounce the sounds correctly.
Here are some more resources that may be useful.
Some children pick this up really quickly; others lake a little longer. That is fine. Regularly helping your child at home will really help them. Have a look at this short clip on how we teach children to blend to read words.
The children become very familiar with the terminology used in teaching phonics.
Here are the main words we use, and their meanings. Using the same language will really help you to support your child in learning to read.
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound that can be identified in words. We sometimes simply call
this a ‘sound’, although it is helpful for children to use the term ‘phoneme’ from the
beginning of our programme.
A letter or group of letters used to represent a particular phoneme (sound) when writing, for example ‘a’, ‘t’, ‘ea’, ‘igh’. With children, we sometimes call this ‘a sound written down’, although, as with ‘phoneme’, it is helpful for children to learn to use the correct term from the beginning.
A grapheme using two letters to represent one phoneme. With children, we frequently
reinforce it with the mantra ‘two letters, one sound’. At the appropriate stage, it is useful
for children to learn to use the term and to understand what it means. For example ‘ea’, ‘ar’, ‘sh’.
A grapheme using three letters to represent one phoneme. With children, we frequently
reinforce it with the mantra ‘three letters, one sound’. At the appropriate stage, it is useful
for children to learn to use the term and to understand what it means. For example, ‘igh’.
Split Vowel digraph
A digraph representing a vowel sound where its two letters are split by an intervening
consonant (for example, ‘a_e’ in ‘take’). Despite having a consonant in between them,
the two letters involved (here ‘a’ and ‘e’) still count as one digraph, making one sound.
To combine individual phonemes into a whole word, working all the way through from
left to right.
To identify each of the individual phonemes in a word, working all the way through from
left to right. This is an important first stage of writing (spelling) a word but needs to be
practised orally first.
We usually teach four new sounds a week and have a review lesson on a Friday. You will get a list of the sounds that we are learning to have at home. This will help you with formation and pronunciation.
We will work our way through the whole Little Wandle Programme until your child can read fluently. Gradually your child learns the entire alphabetic code.
There are specific resources for the Little WandleProgramme which the children will become very familiar with.
Each sound that we teach to begin with has either a mnemonic (like the astronaut you can see in the picture) or a phrase like boing-boing for ‘oi’. This helps the children recognise and remember the graphemes (the written form of the sound).
Every time we teach a new sound, we also read words during the phonics lesson that contain that new sound so that the children practise what they have learned. We then go on to reading a sentence containing some of those words.
We have displays in the classroom and on the tables to support the children throughout the day.
Tricky words are high-frequency words that, although decodable in themselves, cannot be decoded by children using theknowledge they have been taught up to that point. Not all high-frequency
words are ‘tricky words’. Many tricky words cease to be tricky in the later stages of our
programme, as more is learned.
Watch this clip to find out how we teach tricky words.
Alien words is child-friendly term for ‘pseudo-words’. These are made up words that can be read using the phonics strategies your child is learning. It helps to see if your child is building a secure phonic knowledge.
The children read the same book three times in a week.
The first time we work on decoding (sounding out) the words, the second time we work on prosody which is reading with expression – making the book sound more interesting with our story-teller voice or our David Attenborough voice – and the third time we look at comprehension.
We read the books three times at school because we want to develop the fluency. The more they see words the morethey begin to read them automatically without having to sound them out.
We use assessment to match your child the right level of book.
We assess your child every six weeks to check progress. Any child who needs extra support has daily keep-up sessions planned for them.
We will be send home books (usually e-books) for your child to read at home. It is important that parents understand how we chose the right level for your child.
A book at the right level is one where your child should:
-Know all the sounds and tricky words in their phonics book well
-Read many of the words by silent blending (in their head) – their reading will be automatic
-Only need to stop and sound out about 5% of the words by the time they bring the book home – but they should be able to do this on their own.
This is so important to understand. You may think the reading book is too easy for your child, but the reading books going home should be ones that your child can read automatically. They should only be sounding out 1 word in 20 at the most. This is so your child can be confident and fluent.
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 reading book that your child may bring home:
A reading practice book. This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
A sharing book. Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.
Please read with your child as often as you can – at least once a day if possible.
Reading practice book
This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading 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, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
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 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!
Reading a book and chatting had a positive impact a year later on children’s ability to…
-understand words and sentences
-use a wide range of vocabulary
-develop listening comprehension skills.
It really is the single most important thing you can do with your child to help them to learn.
Reading opens up a world of information and imagination. Helping your child to be fluent and confident readers is vital. Reading then becomes fun, and children develop a love of reading.
Our reading vision is that every child should love reading at All Saints’. Please help us to achieve this.
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