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Durrington Infant and Junior Federated Schools

Infant and Junior Schools

Phonics and Early Reading

The Teaching of Early Reading

At Durrington Infant and Junior school, we understand that reading is the key to long term success and we truly believe that reading opens up a whole world of opportunities for our children.

To be able to read, children need to be taught a successful strategy to decode words through quality phonics teaching where decoding skills are practised every day until children become automatic and fluent readers.



Here at Durrington Infant and Junior school, we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to deliver daily phonics lessons. In our phonics lessons, we teach children that the lettersof the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. We then explore these words in sentences. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they will see when they are reading and writing.




We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, our children are able to tackle unfamiliar and multi-syllabic words as they read.

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.

We believe that it is vital that all of our children are given the time and opportunity to read for pleasure and develop a lifelong love of reading.

Reading practice books

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised publishes a wide range of reading practice books matched to the GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences) the children have been learning in their phonics sessions because each book needs to be fully decodable (your child must be able to sound out every word themselves without support).  By the time the reading book is read at home, your child will have read it at least three times in school focusing on decoding words in the first session, prosody (stress, intonation and expression) in the second and comprehension skills in the third.  At this stage they should be able to read 95% of the words fluently (without sounding out) and decode the other 5% using their phonic skills.

Our reading practice books for use at home are in ebook format and your child won’t have a physical copy. The correct book will be issued by the class teacher at the end of the week ready for you to access at home the following week through the Collins ebook app or website using an electronic device.  The school’s computer suite is available every day after school for you to access the ebooks with your child if you do not have a compatible device at home.

Parents play a vital role with reading practice at home too.  It is important that children have plenty of practice reading in order to become fluent, confident readers. Your support is needed to help your child practise reading regularly and develop fluency without any significant help from an adult to identify words.  Please listen and offer encouragement and praise, and enthusiastically acknowledge any achievement your child makes.  This boosts your child’s positive image of themselves as a successful reader. After your child has read the book, it may be helpful to talk about it, but only so far as your child is interested.

Sharing books

Your child will also continue to bring home books they have selected from the school library.  In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.

Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters or explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!

For more information about how you can support your child at home please click here.

Fluent readers

Once children become a fluent reader by meeting the expected standard in the Little Wandle fluency assessment, children begin to use the Accelerated Reader (AR) programme.

First the children will take a Star Reader test which is an adaptive computer based, multiple choice reading test. Once the children have taken their test they are given a ZPD range. This ZPD range shows levels of numbers which correspond to numbers displayed on the cover of our books. This is because AR levels our library of ‘real’ reading books (up to date fiction and non-fiction by well known and loved authors and some early reader books at the lower levels) using a number system, these numbers are based on the complexity of the words and content of the books.

The children read books from across their ZPD range between Star Reader tests, this allows us to target their reading experiences to ensure the best possible progress. For example, a child might be given a ZPD range of 2.1 – 3.1, this means they have 10 levels of books for them to read from, children may have the choice to pick their level from that range or the teacher may pick a level for the pupil to focus on.  

Pupils then take multiple choice quizzes about the books they have read to show their understanding of their reading allowing them to pick up reading target points and ‘bank words’ for every book they have read and successfully quizzed on. There are incentives and competitions linked to reading encouraging accelerated reading progress.  Using their Accelerated Reader login, Parents and Carers are able to see their child’s progress via the Accelerated Reader Home Connect portal they are also able to take quizzes online from home if they have finished reading their AR books using the school's Accelerated Reader login page.