Woodmanstern Primary

Parent Pay Term Dates

Phonics and reading

 Early Reading and Phonics & Essential Letters and Sounds

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.

Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.

Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff and as a class.

Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.

We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.

Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.

We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).

We teach children to:

• Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently

• Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.

The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading.

ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed.


Home reading

All pupils regularly take home high-quality home readers to share with their families. Pupils up to year 3 are provided with a book which is matched to their reading level. Pupils also visit the school library regularly to select a book of their choice. The purpose of this is to develop a love of reading for pleasure. We advise parents to read at least three times a week and make reading a treat and something exciting rather than a chore that has to be completed.

Reading records are used from Reception to Six and should be returned to school every day. We prioritise looking at reading records to ensure our pupils are reading regularly. It is an expectation that any adult who comes into school can speak to pupils and ask to see their reading records and discuss what they are reading.

Years 1-3

Parents and staff are expected to write a comment in the child’s reading record regularly, at least once a week. Parents are expected to record they have read with their child three times a week by initialing and ticking their reading record on the relevant days.

Years 4-6

Pupils are expected to comment at least twice a week and school staff once a week, building up a dialogue to develop reading skills and enthusiasm.

Parent Links

Tips for reading at home
Phonics workshop Nursery
Reception Parent meeting
Year 1 Parents meeting
Pronunciation Phase 2
Pronunciation Phase 3
Pronunciation Phase 5
Essential Letters and Sounds