At Bathampton Primary School, we have a phonics first approach to reading. We follow the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds’ programme which provides a structured and systematic approach to the teaching of phonics in Reception and Year 1. Our aim is for all children to become fluent readers and have a secure phonic knowledge to apply to their writing.
In Reception, children begin their phonic journey in the first few weeks of school learning phase 2 GPC (grapheme phoneme correspondence). They learn to blend and segment and learn phase 2 tricky words. In the spring term children move onto phase 3, learning new GPCs and tricky words. During the summer term the children move to phase 4.
In Year 1 the children start the year by consolidating their phase 3 and 4 knowledge. They swiftly move on to Phase 5 in the second half of the first term. The children learn alternative spelling and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional tricky words.
As a school we have fidelity to one scheme, which ensures consistency across the school. All adults in the school have been trained and we are all committed to a phonics first approach.
We use frequent assessments to ensure that children ‘keep up’ then bespoke 1-1 or group interventions are used to closed identified gaps. The interventions include GPC recognition, blending and segmenting.
Our phonics first approach is reflected in reading practice sessions and in the books the children take home. The books we use are the Little Wandle recommended titles. The progression is aligned to phonic phases. We use our assessments to closely match a child’s current phonic knowledge to a text so every child can experience success on every step of their reading journey. We recommend children read at home at least 3 times a week to develop a fluency in reading, prosody and comprehension.