Little Wandle Letters and Sounds
All schools are now required to teach phonics through a government validated synthetic phonics programme. Our school has chosen and heavily invested in the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our systematic, synthetic phonics (SSP) programme to teach early reading and spelling.
The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at Gresham and feel confident about supporting their reading at home.
For even more information for parents, please visit the parent page of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds website.
How we teach phonics
- In Reception and Y1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught for 25 minutes every day.
- Reception and Year 1 children have three additional reading sessions each week teaching decoding skills, prosody (reading aloud/expression) and comprehension.
- By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 4.
- Phases 3 and 4 are revised in the autumn term of Year 1, before moving on to Phase 5.
- In Y2-Y3, phonic lessons are taught to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle by plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
- In Y2-Y6 there are planned catch-up sessions following a set model to address specific gaps.
- All staff including support staff have regular CPD and are confident to deliver a quality first phonics session.
How we assess phonic knowledge
- In Reception and Year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment).
- Children identified in Reception and Y1 who are in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
- In Reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker.
- Children from Reception to Y2 are monitored by book band level. This is especially helpful for transition to the next class, so rapid progress can continue.
- The children in Y1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the Summer Term.
- Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will re-sit this in Y2.
- Children who are currently in KS2 who didn’t leave KS1 at the expected level are monitored by phonics knowledge and reading progress termly.
- Children who are in Y2-Y6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions, are assessed through the teacher's ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.
What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to:
- Recognise the sounds that individual letters make
- Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make-such as 'sh' or 'oo'
- Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word
Children can then use this knowledge to 'decode' new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
The children are taught to read words by blending, which means pushing all the sounds together to make a word. The children are taught to spell words by segmenting, which means sounding out words and writing down the sounds they can hear.
By the end of Reception children are expected to be secure in Phase Three. By the end of Year One children are expected to be secure in Phase Five. When finishing Key Stage One, most children at Gresham Primary School should be secure in Phase Six. This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns.
Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way-starting with the easiest sounds and progressing to the most complex-it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7 years old. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills that they need to tackle new words. Children can go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and read for enjoyment. (Department for Education)
Supporting your child with reading
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.
There are two types of reading book that your child may bring home:
A reading practice book. This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
A sharing book. Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.
Reading practice book
This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.
Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.
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, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!