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Glastonbury Thorn School





By the time children leave Glastonbury Thorn we aim for them all to have acquired the skills to be confident readers who choose to read for pleasure.  There are two processes that need to be taught to enable children to achieve this: decoding and comprehension.


In the early stages of reading, the children learn to decode words through our systematic synthetic phonics programme 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised'.


What is phonics?

Phonics is a way of teaching children to skilfully read and write with accuracy, pace and fluency. At Glastonbury Thorn School the children are taught through the systematic synthetic programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to:


  • recognise and say the sounds that each individual letter makes
  • identify sounds the different letter combinations make e.g. sh or oa
  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. Children can then use and apply this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first, most important step in learning to read.


Learning to read focuses on the process of decoding and using phonics skills to build and recognise words. At this stage children will need support to enable them to discuss the content.


Reading to learn takes place when children are competent with the reading process and can read fluently, without relying on decoding, discussing their reading and showing greater understanding of what they have read.


Reading Books


In the early stages of reading, our children read fully decodeable books (Big Cat Collins Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised) which are linked to the phonics scheme.  It is intended that all children will be able to read fluently within each stage of the programme so books are matched closely to children's secure phonic knowledge and include sounds and tricky words that they can confidently recognise and read.  At this stage children have a reading lesson 3 times a week in school and will then take the same reading book home to practise reading so they become fluent and do not need to decode many of the words in the book.  This is effective in supporting children to understand the content of the book and read with expression.


After Phonics


When the children are confident within the phonics scheme and no longer rely heavily on phonics to decode words, they move away from the fully decodeable books.  At this stage the books are organised into colour bands and the complexity of the content and the length of the book grows with each band.  The bands are organised into orange, turquoise, purple, gold, white and lime.


We aim for all children to move to the orange colour band by the end of Year 1.