Early Reading and Phonics

Early Reading and Phonics at Wynyard

At Wynyard CE Primary School, we endeavour to ensure all children become successful, fluent readers and writers by the end of Key Stage One. We believe children can achieve this through a combination of strong, high quality, discrete phonics teaching combined with daily opportunities for remembering fundamental reading skills.

The children develop their early reading through a sequenced series of daily lessons by introducing, reviewing, practising and applying new sounds which follows the validated systematic synthetic phonics programme, Read Write Inc. Our phonics scheme has been designed and scaffolded to support the early reading journey from Early Years to KS1 for children to have a rooted knowledge of all sounds and continues through to KS2 where needed. Children are provided with high quality teaching and reading books that help them decode successfully and confidently in order to become fluent readers.

All trained adults will support children to use their phonic knowledge in everyday life, to enrich their reading for both pleasure and information. To ensure children have the opportunity to practise and apply the phonics they have been taught at school, phased tricky (red) words are sent home alongside accurately matched phonetically decodable books as well as a book allocated via the Read Write Inc eLibrary.

For children who risk falling behind, teachers redeliver the sound in smaller groups and assess children’s knowledge six weekly to ensure support and challenge are appropriate.

Children at Wynyard Primary are continually supported in order for them to crack the phonics code with confidence and accuracy, offering children a solid base for reading and writing for Key Stage 2 and beyond.

Parent Phonics Workshops

Parental involvement in the early reading journey and beyond is highly urged. During the school year, we offer after-school parent workshops. It is encouraged for all parents to attend a workshop as they offer guidance on understanding the systematic synthetic approach to phonics at Wynyard Primary as well as ideas for supporting children through the early reading journey.

We want to ensure that parents are confident when helping children read at home, and they have a secure knowledge of phonic sounds and blending skills. Ultimately, helping all our children be successful readers.

The Phonics Screening Check

Phonics screening tests take place when the children are in Year 1. This usually happens at the beginning of June and consists of 40 words that children have to blend and read. Some words the children are to blend and read are ‘real’ words while other are non-sense words. Children will have had many opportunities during their RWInc lessons to practise reading similar non-sense words. The pass rate is usually around 32 or 33 out of 40 but this can differ year to year. If your child is unsuccessful at passing the phonics screening test in Year 1, they have another opportunity to take the test in Year 2.

What is the phonics screening check?

This is a quick check of how the children have responded to synthetic phonics as a strategy for developing their ability to read. It is a statutory requirement, and it involves your child decoding words using only their phonic knowledge. It helps us to confirm whether they have met the expected standard for a child at the end of Year 1.

How does the check work?

  • Your chid is asked to read 40 words aloud to a teacher who is known to them.
  • Your child may have read some of the words before, while others would have been completely new.
  • The check will only a few minutes to complete however, there was no time limit.

Meeting the expected standard

The check is scored out of 40 and the pass mark in the past has been out of 32-33. This can vary year on year.

All children, regardless of their mark, will continue to access phonics learning until the end of Y2 at least. If your child did not achieve 32 marks or more, they will be given additional support in phonics to help them to improve. The nature of this support will vary depending on how close to the threshold they are, and they will be checked again later in the year.

How can I help my child with phonics?

Early reading can be challenging and children make the best use of their understanding of phonics when they are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading a wide variety of books and other forms of writing. Parents play a very important part in helping with this. Please see below for some simple steps to help your child learn to read through using phonics successfully.

Strategies for supporting your child in reading through phonics:

  • When reading, encourage your child to use ‘Fred talk’ (sound out) when reading unfamiliar words and then blend the sounds together from left to right, rather than looking at the pictures to guess the word. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word, you can talk about what it means and help them to follow the story.
  • Try to make time to read something with your child every day and encourage other family members and friends to do the same. Support your child to blend the sounds together all the way through a word.
  • Keep reading all the time, wherever you are, including the school holidays. Look for as many opportunities as possible to encourage your child to use the skills they are learning – menus, leaflets, bus timetables and on-screen text can stimulate children to want to practise their phonic knowledge.
  • Word games like ‘I-spy’ can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters as can talking about all the words which surround you, from road signs to shopping lists. If children become aware of the uses of reading, they become much more interested in practising what they know.
  • If you have attended a phonics workshop, you can model ‘Fred talk’ when you are reading with your child. This will further support their blending and segmenting skills and provide more opportunities to hear others using phonics to decode.

To find out how to support your child at home with their phonics at the appropriate phonics stage, please click below on the level your child is working. As always, if you have any questions, please speak to your child’s class teacher.