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How do we support Early Reading?

At Birchwood, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle, Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme approved by the Department for Education. 
Find our full Reception and Year 1 teaching programme overview below to see what your child will learn and when.

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

We teach phonics for 20 minutes everyday. In Reception, children make a strong start by beginning Phase 2 learning Week 2 of the Autumn term. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers and support their  long term memory.

We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:

- Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.

- Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Due to the transitional period we are currently going through, our Year 2 cohort of children are also receiving daily phonics lessons taken from Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to close gaps and ensure they have the skills and knowledge to develop into fluent, confident and capable readers.


Teaching reading: Guided Reading sessions three times a week

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children, in EYFS and Year 1, and ten children in Year 2. We use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids. Groups are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis. Support and monitoring is also carried out by the Reading Lead.

Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills: decoding, prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression and comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.

In Reception these sessions start in Week 2. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.  In Years 1 and 2 the same structure and approach is taken to their reading sessions.