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Learning to Read


At St. Anselm's, we believe all our children can become fluent readers and writers.  We teach early reading using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic synthetic phonics programme.  We start teaching phonics in the Nursery and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progress, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.  We then model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, as well as across the curriculum.  As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words they read.


Phonics in Nursery:

In Nursery, we provide a balance child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for 'Communication and Language' and 'Literacy.'  These include:

  • Sharing high-quality stories and poems
  • Learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
  • Activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
  • Attention to high-quality language


Our aim is to ensure that Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme-correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.


Phonics in Reception and Year 1:

In Reception and Year 1, we have a 30 minutes phonics lesson every day.  We ensure that children make a strong start in Reception by beginning formal phonics lessons in Week 2 of the Autumn term.  We build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible.  Every Friday, we review the week's teaching to help children become fluent readers.



Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-Up support taught by a fully trained adult.  These lessons are short, sharp lessons that last 10 minutes.


Reading Practice Session:

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions two times a week.  Each session has a clear focus: decoding/prosody and comprehension.


In Reception, these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.  In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.


Home Reading:

Children have access to decodable books in Collins Ebooks and a shared reading book from the library.