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Phonics at Hillmorton Primary School

Phonics and Home Reading at Hillmorton - Video for Parents

At Hillmorton Primary School 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 structured phonics teaching starts in Reception 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 Hillmorton 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.


How we teach phonics

  • Children who attend our Pre-School, receive daily phonics sessions which focus on: encouraging children to listen carefully to sounds; noticing rhymes and alliteration; developing vocabulary and beginning to hear sounds within words.

  • In Reception and Year 1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.

  • Phonics starts in Reception in Week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start.

  • By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 4.

  • By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 5.

  • Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible.

  • Year 1 lessons are 30 minutes long.

  • In Year 2, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment. This usually occurs during the Autumn Term.

  • In Year 2 – Year 6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting 10 minutes in length and taking place at least three times a week.


Reading practice sessions

  • Children across Reception, Year 1, Year 2 (if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.

  • These sessions are 20-25 minutes long and happen at least twice a week. There are approximately six children in a group.

  • The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.

  • The children then take the same ebook home the following week to ensure success is shared with the family.

  • In Reception, these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not yet decoding, receive additional blending practice, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised. This continues until the children can blend independently.

  • Children in KS2 who require additional support with phonics are provided with age-appropriate fully-decodable texts and receive 1:1 support.


How do we assess phonic knowledge?

  • In Reception and Year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also planned review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment.

  • Children identified in Reception and Year 1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Keep Up’ Materials.

  • In Reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker.

  • The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.

  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, are required to re-sit this in Year 2.

  • Children who are in Year 2-Year 6 and need ‘keep up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.


For further information regarding the Phonics Screening Check, please watch the video below


Year 1 Phonics Screening Check - Guide for Parents


If you are a parent and would like more information about how to support your child with phonics at home, please follow this link to find the Reception and Year 1 overview as well as videos of the sound pronunciations, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources.


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