Our Phonics Scheme
Our school has chosen Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our systematic, synthetic phonics (SSP) programme to teach early reading and spelling.
To check out the programme and how to support your childs phonics learning please follow this link:
What is Little Wandle?
Little wandle is a synthetic phonics scheme that teaches children the phonetic alphabet and the letters used to make those sounds in the English language. The children are then taught how to use these sounds to blend them to read words and tricky words which tend not to be phonically decodable especially in the early stages.
What is Phonics?
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!
Some children learn the blend really quickly and others take a little longer.
If your child is finding it difficult, ask your childs's teacher for ways to help at home.
There are also lots of helpful videos like the video linked below on little wandle's website:
We use the following terminology throughout school during phonics sessions and when referencing back to it throughout the day:
|Phoneme||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’.|
|Grapheme||A letter or group of letters used to represent a particular phoneme when writing.|
|Diagraph||A grapheme using two letters to represent one phoneme.|
|Trigraph||A grapheme using three letters to represent one phoneme.|
|Split vowel diagraph||A digraph representing a vowel sound where its two letters are split by an intervening consonant (for example, ‘a_e’ in ‘take’).|
|Blend||To combine individual phonemes into a whole word, working all the way through from left to right.|
|Segment||To identify each of the individual phonemes in a word, working all the way through from left to right.|
We usually teach four new sounds a week and have a review lesson on a Friday.
We will work our way through the whole little wandle programme until your child can read fluently.
There are also specific resources for the little wandle programme which the children will be very familiar with. Each sound that we teach to begin with has either a mnemonic (picture) or a phrase like boing-boing for 'oi'. This helps the children recognise and remember the graphemes. 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.
Children learn that there are graphemes that can have different sounds and that sounds can also be made with different letters.
'ea' in 'each' is the 'ee' sound
'ea' in 'head' is an 'e' sound
'ea' in 'break' is the 'ai' sound
There are also lots of different spellings for phoneme's, for example here are all the ways to write the phoneme 'sh':
Tricky words are words which may not be phonetically decodable depending on where your child is in their phonics journey.
These are often words we use a lot when we speak and even writing. Check out the Little Wandle website linked below or speak to your child's teacher for ways you can help at home.
The children read the same book three times a week during reading practise.
The first session focusses on decoding (sounding out) the words.
Then the second session focusses on expression, where we use our story telling voice to make the book sound more interesting.
Finally, the third session is where we look at comprehension (understanding what we have read).
We read the books three times at school because we want to develop the fluency. The more they see words the more they begin to read them automatically without having to sound them out.
We assess your child in phonics every 6 weeks to ensure they are reading the correct set of books and are making good progress.
Any children who need extra support has daily keep-up sessions planned for them.
The Teachers check through the year that they are reading the correct set of book and the following is what your child should be able to do if they are reading the correct book:
- Know all of the sounds and tricky words in their 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 their reading practise book home but they should be able to do this on their own.
Spelling in Little Wandle follows a simple procedure which the children are familiar with and is refered to throughout the school day by the teachers and children when they are writing and in phonics lessons.
The following steps help the children segment words and apply their phonic knowledge to be able to confidently write words they are unfamiliar with and have seen many times.
- Say the word.
- Segment the sounds.
- Count the sounds.
- Write them down.
Please speak to your child's teacher to see how you can best support your child at home with their spelling.
Reading at home
The most important thing you can do at home is read with your child.
This extra practise helps children to:
- understand words and sentences quicker
- use a wide range of vocabulary
- develop listening comprehension skills
The more books they are exposed to really helps them flourish in school and in later life.
Books going home
Your child will take home a reading book everyday from their reading set as well as a weekly library book and a link will be sent out out to you every week to the book your child has been reading during the reading practise session mentioned above. This is an effort to spark their joy of reading and boosting their confidence by showing you how amazing they are!
Helping your child read at home
Your child should be able to read their book without your help but if they can't read a word, encourage them to sound it out and blend it. Once you have finished the book talk about the book and celebrate their success.
Pronouncing phonics sounds
It is really important that you pronounce the sounds correctly at home if you are supporting your child.
There are many videos on the little wandle website (linked below) showing the correct way to pronounce the sounds
Reading to your child
Did you know that reading to your child can inspire a love for reading?
When you are reading to your child is it important to make the book sound as interesting as possible by changing your voice.
If you are not sure how to do this, there are lots of read a loud videos on yotube which might inspire you.