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Wildmoor Heath Primary School

Phonics and Early Reading

Learning phonics and early reading skills at Wildmoor Heath

The Wildmoor Heath philosophy

At Wildmoor Heath School, our staff are passionate about the teaching and learning of strong early phonics and reading skills. We recognise that reading is an essential life skill that opens up a whole world of information to young minds, from reading a menu to tackling a thesaurus. Therefore, we teach all our learners phonics from their very first day at school and the development of secure phonics and reading skills is a core part of the whole Wildmoor curriculum. Our philosophy is that ‘Every Child will be a Reader’ at Wildmoor Heath, regardless of when they join us, and we place great emphasis on achieving this aim. All teachers and Learning Support Assistants are trained to deliver high quality phonics sessions following a consistent and progressive methodology and sequence.

At Wildmoor Heath, we believe that children learn when they enjoy their lessons. All our phonics lessons are fun and interactive; children learn to listen, mimic, act and sound out the new sounds. We teach phonics every morning in small groups to children from Reception to Year 3. Teaching staff from Reception to Year 3 classes lead these daily sessions.

We have tailored our phonics learning approach to the needs of Wildmoor Heath learners, using the order of sounds from the Bug Club Phonics planning, which corresponds with our Bug Club phonics reading book scheme

Bug Club Phonics is one of the Department for Education’s approved phonics teaching programmes and aims to help all children in your school learn to read by the age of six in a fun and accessible way.  The whole school programme matches the National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals.

    Mrs Joseph leading a phonics lesson.

Our approach to teaching phonics

A range of our Bug Cub books                                                                  

Each phonics session lasts at least 30 minutes and follows the ‘hear it, say it, read it, write it’ model. Our methods are fun, motivating and sequential, allowing children to learn new sounds, revisit learned sounds and apply sounds to reading and spelling words.

Continuous assessment and extra support

Children are placed into small, dynamic groups across the classes to help them make rapid progress. Children are assessed continuously within their groups, meaning that as a child progresses, they are moved into the next group. As they learn to blend sounds, children are also encouraged to learn common exception words that do not follow phonetic patterns.

Children from all year groups also receive extra phonics teaching, either one to one or in small groups, to boost and accelerate their phonics learning and application to words. If an older child needs extra phonics and reading support, we tailor an intensive one to one intervention programme to allow rapid and secure catch-up.


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How we promote a love of reading

Reading opens up a whole wide world of information to a child and is an essential life skill that they will need as they progress onto secondary school. To become a reader, children must know all the phonics sounds and be able to use them to decode words. Over time, children also learn a number of reading strategies to develop their speed and fluency and reading becomes automatic.

Our phonics sounds are matched to complementary reading books, so children can continue their learning from daily phonics sessions in their one to one reading, both in school and at home. We foster good home/school reading habits and instil a love of reading, by sharing cross-curricular books.

Pupils across the school read aloud in all subjects and enjoy discovering exciting, high quality books. All classes have their own class reader each term; adults read to children frequently to help secure their skills and embed their love of reading. In every class, we have identified those priority readers who need extra help. They receive daily one to one daily reading support to help them to become more confident and fluent. Our goal is that reading becomes an automatic skill for everyone.

Children are encouraged to read across a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. Our library is a fun place to read and learn; it follows a beach theme and was designed by the children. They love to lie on the yellow beach carpet and look up at the sunny sky. Come and visit us to see our library and meet our wonderful young readers!

Once children are able to decode and read fluently, they are encouraged to read a variety of genre from their year's Bookopoly challenge cards.

We know that all our children become fluent, confident readers during their time at Wildmoor Heath, and leave us equipped with a strong command of phonics plus a wide range of reading strategies and experience. Most importantly, they love reading and feel comfortable with books.