Early Reading and Phonics

In Autumn 2021, we researched which of the DfE validated phonics programmes to adopt. We chose Little Wandle.


Little Wandle has been devised so that children are taught a cumulative progression of GPCs that they can immediately practise through oral blending, reading and spelling words and sentences.


Children can review and revise GPCs and words daily, weekly and across terms and years in order to move this knowledge into their long term memory.
This momentum of progress is aspirational yet achievable, if schools maintain pace, practice and participation by all children.
The spiralling curriculum, which includes periods of review, ensures that all children have adequate time to learn new GPCs, then practise, retrieve and apply their learning so that it moves into the long term memory and reading becomes automatic and fluent.
The programme lends itself to a mastery approach to teaching phonics. This means that all children in the class learn the same content at the same time and it applies the principle of all the children keeping up.



Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

·We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
·Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
oChildren in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
oChildren in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.


Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

·Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
·We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace. 


If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.


We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week.


Are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children.
We use books matched to children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids.
Are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.

Each reading session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:

Decoding – word reading
Prosody – teaching children to read with understanding and expression.
Comprehension – teaching children to understand the text.

In Reception these reading 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 Year 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books (in our school this is any child who is not reading fluently at Turquoise Book Band)


Home Reading – EYFS and Year One


The decodable reading book can be taken home to ensure that the success is shared at home on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.


 phonically decodable books that go home have been carefully matched to the children’s phonic ability using Little Wandle guidance ‘Matching 2007 Letters and Sounds Big Cat Phonics books to Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.’


We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.



Take home a book to enjoy sharing at home.


Take home a book to enjoy sharing at home.


Take home a book to enjoy sharing at home.


Take home the book from the reading sessions to share success at home.


Take home the book from the reading sessions to share success at home.


Please click on the Phonics and Early Reading Intent to look at the reading books in our scheme and how they are carefully matched to the phonic ability of the children. 

There are parent videos and resources available on the following link to help you to support your child with reading at home. 



To view our early reading and phonics intent, please click here.

To view our programme overview, click here.

To view a terminology of phonics guide, click here.