Phonics at SMC

Early Reading and Phonics Lead – Zoe O’Neill

At St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary and Nursery Academy, we believe that for all our children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme.

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, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing.

Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At St Margaret Clitherow Academy, we also model these strategies 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.

Please read our Early Reading and Phonics policy and Intent document to find out more.

Early Reading and Phonics Policy.

Phonics Intent

Please visit the Little Wandle website for more information and resources to help with phonics.

When teaching phonics it is important to say and use pure sounds. These three videos show you how to pronounce the sounds. Notice how the children don’t add an ‘uh’ sound at the end, so they say: ‘t’ not ‘tuh’.

The role of Parents’ and Carers’ in Early Reading

  • You have a positive impact on their child’s reading.
  • You should model the importance of reading practice to develop fluency.
  • Children take home books they have read at school to re-read at home to build fluency.
  • There are three different types of books that pupils bring home: reading practice (ebook), an additional reading practise book and a book to share for pleasure.
  • Reading at home encourages a love of books, along with developing vocabulary and discussion.
  • You should use voices, expression, discuss unfamiliar vocabulary, talk about the pictures, and predict what might happen next.

Supporting your child with reading

Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.

There are three types of reading book that your child may bring home:

A reading practice book/ Ebook – this access online using your child’s login details

This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current phonics stage and reading level. They should be able to read this fluently and independently. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading

An additional reading practice book.

This book has also been matched to your child’s phonics stage and reading level but this book many contain more tricky words. Your child may need a little more support to develop fluency with this book. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.

A sharing book

In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.

Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!