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At Paston Ridings Primary School, children begin to read in EYFS using Phonics. We use the DfE approved systematic synthetic Phonics (SSP) scheme, ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’.

Phonics is 'making connections between the sounds of our spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down'

Why Phonics?

By building their Phonics skills and knowledge, children are able to ‘decode’ new words more quickly and independently. They start by recognising the sound that each letter makes and then identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make i.e ‘ch, ‘air’. They can then use this knowledge to blend the sounds together to form words (‘chair’). By doing this they are then able to tackle unfamiliar words and add to their growing vocabulary.

“Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment. Children who have been taught phonics also tend to read more accurately than those taught using other methods, such as ‘look and say’. This includes children who find learning to read difficult, for example those who have dyslexia. If you would like to find out more about phonics, visit the phonics section of the Department for Education website.”

‘Learning to Read Through Phonics’, Department for Education, 2013.

How is Phonics taught?

At Paston Ridings Primary School, we follow the 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ Department for Education validated SSP scheme. From Reception, children will take part in daily Phonics lessons. The lessons take the format of:

Revisit and Review – recapping the previously visited sounds with the use of flash cards

Teach – introduce a new sound, building on the order of the scheme’s progression. . Enunciation is key at this stage (video clips can be accessed to sure the ‘pure sound’ needed for each phoneme).

Practise – using the sound in words – Spotting the new phoneme in words, modelling blending and then allowing the children to read words with the new sound from flashcards?

Apply – The children will be asked to read a sentence – identifying ‘tricky words’, previously learnt phonemes and the new phoneme for the day. They will then be able to sound out and blend each word to form the sentence verbally. Children will then be asked to write words and/or sentences to apply the new sound to their writing.

The Little Wandle website provides guidance on how some of these elements are covered:

Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds usually begins at Nursery and Preschool age. Children are introduced to the skills they will need to then begin recognising and identifying their letters and corresponding sounds. Children begin to learn the phonemes and corresponding graphemes from Phase 2 of the Letters and Sounds scheme during Reception. They will then progress through the phases usually within Key Stage 1 of Primary School. Each phase is made up of sets of phonemes so children are introduced to a few sounds at a time, progressively getting more complex as they build their knowledge and skills.


'One of the greatest gifts adults can give is to read to children'
Carl Sagan
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