Nurturing a lifelong love of Reading
At Winstanley, it is important to us that children are not only able to read, but that they love to read.
Story time is an essential and much-loved part of our curriculum. A variety of rich fiction and non-fiction texts are carefully selected to be shared as a whole class, and throughout the provision. Sophisticated language is taught and used throughout the provision, to ensure that by the end of Reception, children are rich in language, and this, with their love of reading, and the systematic teaching of phonics will create a life-long love of reading.
Research shows that children who are read to five times per week, will learn around a million words more than a child who is never read to!
Listening to stories from being babies helps to develop language, listening and attention, imagination, critical thinking and so much more. Reading familiar stories aloud a number of times helps young children helps them to develop to mastery, predictability and a sense of confidence. This, linked with the reading skills developed through phonics, creates children who are very excited to read, and will read for pleasure. There is strong evidence linking reading for pleasure and educational outcomes, but the benefits go beyond this and stretch throughout a person’s life, therefore creating a life-long love of reading.
Here at Winstanley, we ensure that every child is exposed to a variety of rich, high-quality texts, both at school and at home. In Nursery, each child takes home a fiction or non-fiction book each week to share with their family over a number of days. This continues into Reception, where each child takes home a reading book for pleasure, as well as a reading book, which matches the phonetic ability of each child to practise fluency.
Phonics in Early Years
At Winstanley Community 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.
The teaching of phonics starts in Nursery, through fun and engaging games and through everyday life, where we teach children skills such as recognising sounds in the environment, identifying rhythm and rhyme, and orally blending and segmenting sounds. When children begin their time in Reception, they have a sound ability to focus, listen, attend and distinguish between sounds, to enable them to access Phase 2 of Little Wandle.
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, and that these can be used in a variety of combinations to make words. The children are taught to read and write new words and sounds through the phonics lesson, and throughout the provision. In play, children are encouraged to apply new phonic knowledge in purposeful and meaningful ways. Phonics is taught daily, starting at 10 minutes initially, and then increasing to 30 minute sessions.
New strategies are also modelled in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. 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.
Children across reception apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group.
The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
The children then take the same book home the following week to ensure success is shared with the family.
In reception these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not decoding, do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised.
How do we assess phonic knowledge?
In reception, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment).
Children identified in reception as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
In reception, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker.
If you are a parent and would like more information about how to support your child with phonics at home, please follow this link to find the Reception and Year 1 overview as well as videos of the sound pronunciations, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources.