At Topcliffe we use a structured approach to teaching children how to use phonic sounds in their reading and writing, with the aim that children become fluent readers and accurate spellers.
We teach early reading through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised systematic, synthetic phonics programme.
When children join us in Reception they will have a daily phonics lesson of 30 minutes which follows the progression from the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds progression document and this continues in Year One to ensure children become fluent readers.
In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible.
Children make a strong start in Reception: phonics teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress (please click here for the programme progression document). Four new phonemes and their corresponding graphemes are taught (GPCs) each week and they are then used in the final lesson of the week to review the week’s learning. Children will also learn tricky words during these sessions.
Our early reading lessons in Reception and Year 1 link with the children's phonic skill level and decoding ability and they read from closely matched phonetically regular books to support them in developing reading fluency, comprehension and understanding and confidence in their reading ability
In Year 2 when children at Topcliffe have completed the phonics teaching programme and have sufficient fluency and decoding skills, they will then begin the No Nonsense Spelling Programme, which takes them through to Year 6. Both teaching approaches follow the structure of review, teach, practise and apply.
During each academic year, parents in Reception and Year 1 are invited to Phonic Workshops to introduce the teaching approach and to develop their understanding of how they can support their child at home.
We assess children every 6 weeks as part of the programme to identify any gaps in learning and to check and monitor progress. In addition to this the children take part in the statutory Phonics Screening Check at the end of Y1 which is designed by the government to assess how well children nationally have mastered the skill of using phonics. Children who do not meet the required pass mark in Year 1 will receive further support and phonics teaching in Year 2 and they can re-sit the test at the end of Year 2.