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Phonics and Reading

How we teach phonics

  • In September 2022 we began to implement Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. 
  • During Early Years children's phonics journey begins in Nursery with Little Wandle 'Foundation to Phonics' through everyday activities and provision.  These include tuning into sounds in the environment and lead to orally hearing and saying sounds in words. We focus on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes.
  • At Catchgate we then continue to visit aspects of early phonics throughout Phases 2-5. 
  • Children in reception and Y1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
  • Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
  • In Reception teaching of Phase 2 sounds begins within the first 2 weeks to ensure the children make a strong start. 
  • By the end of reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4. 
  • By the end of year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5. 
  • Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to a longer session of up to 20 minutes as soon as possible.
  • In Year 1 lessons are 20 minutes long. When children move to Year 2 and 3 phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but specific gaps will be identified through assessment and addressed through a Little Wandle Rapid Catch-up Programme. 

Reading practice sessions

  • Children across reception, year 1, year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
  • These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week on. a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. There are approximately 6 children in a group.
  • The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
  • The children then take the same book home each Wednesday and read this book at home, returning it on Monday of the following week, to ensure success is shared with the family.
  • In reception these sessions start by week 4 of the autumn term. Children who are not decoding, do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised.
  • Children will bring a reading for pleasure book home to share with an adult.  This book is to look at together with a focus on vocabulary and developing a love of books. 

How do 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 Year 1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and ‘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 on FFT.
  • The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2.
  • Children who are in Year 2 to 6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.


To find out more information about how we teach phonics and early reading follow the link below to the parents section of the Little Wandle website. 

How letters are taught during phonics sessions


Children are taught to recognise letter shapes with a mnemonic to remind children how the letters are formed in writing.  

Parental Engagement 


We recognise the importance of reading at home and the role parents play in reading to children.  


Keep an eye out for some exciting reading opportunities for you to join in with throughout this school year.


Reading at Home

2023-2024 Little Wandle Phonics Overview

CBeebies Bedtime stories


Below is a link to quality stories read by celebrities.  These are a lovely way to ensure children are accessing the important language and vocabulary of stories.  Please watch them with your children and talk about the stories and meaning of words after.  

Story Time Online


Below is a link to a selection of stories read by American Actors.  Please watch with your children and use these an opportunity to ask questions about the plot and discuss the rich language and vocabulary.

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