Skip to content ↓
Potter Street Academy

Potter Street Academy

Phonics and Reading

How we teach phonics and Reading  

At Potter Street Academy, we value reading as a crucial life skill for children to master in their early years of education. We strive for children to read confidently, enjoy reading for pleasure and believe all of our children can become fluent readers and writers.  We teach reading through 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised', which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme with ambitious outcomes for our children. 

We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised' progression document, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move throughout the lower school. As a result, our children are able to tackle unfamiliar words as they read. At Potter Street Academy, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of 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 other curriculum subjects.

Daily phonics lessons and reading sessions
We teach phonics for 25 minutes a day. From day one, Reception children take part in 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, and build up to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, in Reception and Year 1, we review the week’s teaching and apply our learning of graphemes and tricky words into writing short phrases and a sentence. 

In Reception, and Year 1, any child who is finding it a challenge to master the learning of new letter sounds and blend and read words, are given 'Keep Up Lessons' with an aim for them to keep up with the progression set out in the programme. 

Children apply their learning from discrete phonics lessons, into reading books, in a reading practice session weekly and in a one- to- one reading session with the class teacher, learning support assistant or adult reading champion. Children learn the skills of decoding, reading with fluency and reading with prosody which is also modelled by staff when reading books for pleasure to children. 


Intervention lessons ensure every child learns to read

Any child who needs additional practice has a phonics intervention from year 2 upwards. We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in year 2 or 3 who is not reading texts which are age appropriate and/or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1 or Year 2. These interventions match the lesson structure in 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised' of revise and review, teach, practise and apply, and may be taught in a small group or on a one- to -one basis depending on the needs of each child. Children who are working significantly below where they should be, will have phonics targets to master on their one plan. 

These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds placement assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these.


How do we assess phonic knowledge?

Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.


Assessment for learning is used:

  • daily within class to identify children needing interventions
  • weekly in the review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.

Summative assessment is used:

  • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the support that they need. This is completed on Phonics Tracker.

Statutory assessment

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Home reading

In Reception and Year 1, decodable reading books are taken home for children to read with a parent/carer and their decodable reading book is kept for one week to practise to fluency.

Reading for pleasure books also go home, once a week,  for parents to share and read to children in Reception and Year 1.

We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision.

Ensuring reading for pleasure

We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Poter Street Academy and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.

In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their continuous provision and the books are continually refreshed to maintain interest and engagement with looking at books.

Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will check this on a regular basis to ensure reading is being done at home as well as in school.