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Reading & Phonics


Phonics  and Reading

At St Mawes Primary, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised (this link leads you to the parent pages) which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At St Mawes Primary, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside  the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects

Daily Taught Phonics Session 

The reading, including the teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics, is taught from the beginning of Reception although Nursey children are encouraged to join if they wish..

What is Phonics?

Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to read words and to spell words using the corresponding graphemes (the written corresponding sound).  The children  progress onto digraphs and trigraphs: sounds made  up of two letters such as -ch, -sh, -th and three letters, such as -igh, -our. 

Our ongoing, 6-weekly assessment of children’s phonics progress is sufficiently frequent and detailed to identify any pupil who is falling behind the programme’s pace. If any child does fall behind, targeted support is given immediately through daily 'keep up' sessions.

Each day in your child’s phonic lesson, they will be introduced to a new phoneme as well as revise previously taught phonemes. They will then be encouraged to recognise and use these phonemes in their reading and writing.

Once the children have completed the Little Wandle scheme then they will be ready for Phase 6 - They will investigate and learn to add suffixes (egingederly, ness) to words and to spell words in the past, present and present continuous tense as well as the rules regarding regular and irregular verbs. They also look at superlative adjectives, comparative adjectives contracted words and plurals. 


At St Mawes we are passionate about reading and children's access to books. We aim to nurture life-long readers, who take pleasure in searching out new books to read, exploring and discovering through literature.  Our children’s reading experience is much more than the reading book which comes home from school. Reading is happening all the time in our school. It is taught in specific reading and English lessons, but our children are practising and using their reading constantly across all subjects too.  Our children’s reading journey begins with ‘learning to read’ and moves on into ‘reading to learn’.  It is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of reading. Without the ability to read, our children cannot access other subjects properly. Reading is empowering and wonderful.

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.

Whilst on the Little Wandle Phonics scheme your child will bring home a book matched to the sounds they have learnt so far. They will keep this book for a week and we encourage you to enjoy the book at home as a way of practising their reading skills. The children will also have a book they have chosen themselves from either the school or class library. 

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!

Both classes have regular VIPERS sessions throughout the week. VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum.  They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.

There is a link below which shares some example questions for both Keystages. Using these questions when you are listening to your child at home can help develop understanding of the text they are reading.

Please click on the link below which outlines reading progression in more detail and how we have used pupil voice to continue to embrace a love of reading.

St Mawes Primary School
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