Phonics and Early Reading


At Great Wishford we believe that reading is central to the entire curriculum and is the most important life skill: phonics is crucial to unlocking the reading code. We aim to:

  • Deliver daily phonics through a high-quality phonics programme and consistently implement it to equip children with the skills they need to decode and become fluent readers.
  • Provide children with books that are closely matched to their phonic abilities so they can be successful when practicing
  • Use assessment in a timely way to ensure pupils are supported to catch up quickly through targeted intervention
  • Ensure the highest number of children possible pass the phonics screen check which expectations that are aspirational yet achievable


At Great Wishford School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics from the start of Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

A systematic approach: To allow our children to develop a strong phonic awareness and effective blending and decoding, we have chosen to use a DfE validated synthetic phonics programme called Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. The programe is a systematic, synthetic approach to teaching phonics, with clear expectations that are laid out term by term from Reception to year 2.

Access to appropriate books: Children practise reading using fully decodable books that are closely matched to their developing phonic level. We draw upon Collins Big Cat (for Letters and Sounds) texts . Reading books are closely matched to the phonics programme and are grouped accordingly.

 The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds (Revised) SSP includes 6 weekly assessment tasks which allow the teachers to identify pupils that may need extra support. On-going teacher assessment at the point of delivery also highlights which pupils may need Keep-Up Support.

Reading practice

Reading practice sessions three times a week

  • Children read three times a week in a small group with a trained adult, using decodable books matched to their ability using LW assessments and book matching grids
  • Progress is monitored by the class teacher and Reading Lead
  • Each reading practice session has a clear focus for teaching: decoding, prosody 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 we continue to teach reading in this way, during interventions, for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.

Home reading

Pupils take home their decodable practice book and a reading for pleasure book to share with their family. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share phonics and reading information.


Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily ‘keep-up’ support, taught by trained adult.
  • Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the pedagogy, but in smaller steps with more repetition, to secure children’s learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check.
  • 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.
  • The placement tests, used for pupils who only just passed the PSC, identifies children in Year 2 to 6 who have gaps in their phonic knowledge. They receive ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.

Additional reading support for vulnerable children

  • Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.


At Great Wishford, by the end of Year 1, children can decode, segment and blend confidently, and most are ready to move from learning to read to reading to learn. In addition, they feel successful in reading and are more willing to read because books are matched to their ability. The use of timely and targeted intervention means that almost all  children become confident fluent readers by the end of KS1, with a high number of pupils passing the phonics screening check at the end of Year 1.

Little Wandle parents page