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Phonics and Reading

At St James C of E Primary, we are committed to teaching our pupils to become skilled readers who develop a comprehensive understanding of words, language and texts as they move through school. They learn to read and then read to learn. Through using a range of strategies, our aim is to ensure that pupils develop a love of reading so that they can read for purpose and for pleasure. It is essential that our approach to teaching phonics and reading is accessible to all learners, regardless of background.
At St James, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers.  Right from the start of Reception, children will have a daily phonics lesson which follows the progression for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and this continues in Year One and Year Two to ensure children become fluent readers.

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers. Children will bring home a copy of the week’s learning for parents to support with at home. 

By following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, we ensure 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. 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.

At St James , 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. 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.

Reading Practice Sessions  

Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2, read fully decodable books with an adult 3 times per week during our ‘Reading Practice’ sessions. These books are then available online for the children to build their reading fluency and showcase their developing skills and phonetic knowledge to their parents/carers. These 3 reading practice sessions each have a different focus: decoding, prosody and comprehension. 
As part of our homework policy, we recommend that children read for 5-10 minutes each night.  

Half termly assessments take place through Reception 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 within the classroom so staff can quickly identify any children who are in danger of falling behind and provide the appropriate daily ‘Keep Up’ intervention.  
Phonics in Key Stage 2 
Whilst the majority of teaching of phonics is completed in KS1, at St James we understand that some children may need extra support to become fluent readers.  In Year 3, at St James, we offer an intensive phonics catch up for those who require extra support. We continue to follow the Little Wandle scheme to support these children in small groups.  
Parent Support

For support with the pronunciation of the phonemes taught, please refer to the videos below.

Our Reading Curriculum

For information about our Reading Curriculum, please click the links below:

Reading Curriculum Texts Overview

Reading Curriculum Progression

Early Reading Progression