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Elmhurst School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust

Big Cat Collins Reading Scheme

Application of Phonics to Reading & Beyond

Children need to be given regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned to reading fully decodable books. The 'Little Wandle' BIG Cat Collins reading books from Phase 2 through to Phase 5, match the progression of 'Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised' and enable every child in Reception and Year 1 to read confidently and fluently at home. These books are also available to those children in Year 2 and above who need additional time to learn how to apply their phonics to reading. Once automatic and fluent reading has been established, the children continue through the 'BIG Cat Collins' reading scheme until they are 'Free Readers'. 

Reading Practise Sessions

In January 2022, we launched 'Reading Practise Sessions' in Reception and Year 1. Every child now takes part in three adult led Little Wandle ‘Reading Practise Sessions’ a week. These replace one to one reading as every child is heard read during each session. This means that our Reception and Year 1 children read to an adult three times a week.


Each child is placed in a group with children of a similar ability. The book for each week is carefully selected so that it is fully decodable. This means that using the sounds that they know, they are able to read the book with increasing ease, fluency and confidence.


The ‘Reading Practise Sessions’ are 20 minutes long in Reception and 30 minutes long in Year 1. Each session has a plan with class teachers carefully considering the reading skills their team will teach:


Session 1: Decoding

In this first session our children will be concentrating on applying their phonic knowledge (the sounds they already know) to words and developing their fluency (this is the speed in which they read) with words.

Adults will record this read in their Home/School Reading log as: RSP1 with the date, title of the book and their signature.


Session 2: Prosody

In this second session, our children will have the opportunity to read the book again. This time the skill taught is based around prosody (developing reading with appropriate meaning, stress and intonation). It provides an opportunity to explore characters’ feelings, what words mean and how punctuation adds to the meaning.

Adults will record this read in their Home/School Reading log as: RSP2 with the date, title of the book and their signature.


Session 3: Comprehension

By the third session our children should automatically apply their decoding skills to read with greater accuracy and fluency, enabling their working memory to be freed up to focus on comprehension (key questions about the text read). Each week there will be a comprehension reading skill focus, these are based around:


· Drawing on their knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts

· Identifying/explaining the sequence of fiction and non-fiction texts

· Identifying and explaining the sequence of events in the text

· Inference and deduction

· Prediction


The children will be encouraged to develop accuracy and depth in their answers by pointing to illustrations/pictures, words or phrases. They will also be encouraged to make links between what they read/see in the book and their own life experiences. Adults will carefully model this skill until the children are confident to utilise it independently themselves.


Adults will record this read in their Home/School Reading log as: RSP3 with the date, title of the book and their signature.

Little Wandle E-books

In January 2022, we also gave every parent and child access to a Little Wandle E-book account. Every week, our Reception and Year 1 class teachers post on Class Dojo which e-book our parents should select and read with their child. This book will be the same book that your child has focused on in their three ‘Reading Practise Sessions’. This may be different to other peers in their class. This book is fully decodable and matches the children's current phonic knowledge. Parents will hopefully see how confident our children are in reading the book, along with modelling prosody and talking about the text.


Parents/carers please record your e-book read in your child’s Home/School Reading log as the following: E-book Reading with the date, title of the book and your signature.


Alongside this, we will continue to send home a further BIG Cat Collins book and library book. This now means that every Reception and Year 1 child has two reading scheme books to read along with a library book to read for pleasure with an adult.

Our library is regularly updated through the Buckinghamshire Schools Library Service to ensure books are up-to-date and appropriate to our learners. 


Parents and children are actively encouraged to share these books together so that reading fluency and reading for pleasure remain at the heart of our curriculum.  Our home learning activities, linked to each Key Stage topic, also give our children further cross-curricular reading opportunities at home. 


At Elmhurst we celebrate and value our reading achievement at every level, and aim to provide a stimulating Hygge reading environment in which our children make good progress and develop a lifelong love of reading. Just take a look at some of our reading areas across the school:  

Page last updated: 21/01/22