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“If a child memorizes ten words, the child can read only ten words. But if a child learns the sounds of ten letters, the child will be able to read 350 three sound words, 4320 four sound words and 21650 five sound words.” Dr. Martin Kozloff



We all know that reading is a key skill essential for all aspects of everyday life including independent learning and the world of work; at Redby Academy we believe it should be at the centre of children’s learning. Our aim is to ensure every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want all children to love reading and to want to read for themselves. In order to achieve this, as a school we have adopted Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as our systematic and synthetic phonics (SSP) validated programme. 


Little Wandle

‘Our complete SSP has been built around the update (Letters and Sounds improving rates of progress 2021) and draws on our own schools’ excellent practice, as well as our work with schools around the country. Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised also draws on the latest research into how children learn best; how to ensure learning stays in children’s long term memory and how best to enable children to apply their learning to become highly competent readers.’ (Wandle learning Trust 2021)


Published by Wandle Learning trust in 2021, it aims to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for the teaching of phonic skills for children starting on entry to Redby in Reception, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.


The phonic approach encourages us to directly link letters (graphemes) to sounds (phonemes), and to teach children pure sounds like sbk when encountering the alphabet. So, children learn how to put sounds represented by letters or letter groups (like ch – digraphs, or igh - trigraphs) together to read words in a more straightforward way.


The relationship between the letter(s) and the sound is called a letter-sound correspondence, also known as a grapheme-phoneme correspondence (or GPC).


The Reception and Year 1 Programme Overview outlines the letter-sound correspondences children will learn in different phases. ‘Tricky words’ are introduced at each phase also. These words are common and useful for early reading and writing, but children won’t be able to decode them following the phonic rules taught up to that point. When children reach the end of the programme (end of Year 1 and into Year 2) children are then exposed to, and practise reading and writing, common exception words. Both of these are often words which occur most frequently in written material and have little meaning on their own, but they do contribute a great deal to the meaning of a sentence. Children need to be exposed to these, and read them aloud, on a regular basis.


Reception and Year 1 Programme Overview


Phonics in Early Years

The teaching of phonics in Early Years is based around the Little Wandle Foundations for Phonics and is implemented alongside stimulating language-rich provision.



The most important aspects of Foundations for Phonics to develop in Nursery are:

• sharing high-quality stories and poems with children

• learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes

• activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending

• attention to high-quality language with children


Foundations for Phonics is used to ensure the correct provision is in place and that children are well prepared to begin grapheme–phoneme correspondence and blending at the start of Reception. The provision includes a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences which in turn prepares our Nursery children with the Foundations for phonics.



Children will access rigorous phonics teaching from the onset in Reception. Phase 1 will begin with establishing routines and setting up behaviours for learning. All children should progress through the GPCs (the different sounds – phonemes – and their corresponding graphemes) in order. Those children who take longer to learn to blend will still continue to learn new GPCs and will receive additional blending practice. Children then progress through Phases 2, 3 and 4 with teachers delivering rigorous phonics, review and assessment lessons; the Little Wandle Reception Programme Overview (see document below) is followed stringently.


Children are taught in mixed ability classes. Those children who need extra support receive this from a teaching assistant either alongside the main group with the class teacher or in a smaller focused group setting. This depends on the day-to-day needs of the children and the content being taught. Any other children who are identified as needing further ‘keep-up’ phonics receive this in addition to the main teaching in both in a group, and then a separate one-to-one setting.


Each child receives a matched phonically decodable reading book to read to an adult at home - this is the same book the children read in school with the class teacher. It is personalised to them directly and each child accesses this on the Collins Big Cat eBooks app or online platform.  In Spring 2, children then also select a book of their choice to read for pleasure together with an adult (this does not need to be matched to their phonics level).


Reception Programme overview

Phonics in Key Stage 1

Summer term assessments from Reception are used to identify gaps in learning for classes and individuals on entry to Year 1. This information will supplement the consolidation of Phases 3 and 4 in the first four weeks of the Autumn term. This ensures that all children are secure before they start learning the Phase 5 GPCs.


Children will be taught daily in ability groups. This is due to nature of the cohort and how at present it is a mixed ability set up of Year 1 and 2 pupils. The Year 2 children receive any required catch-up phonics sessions to address areas of weakness from Year 1 before quickly progressing to working on spelling patterns and common misconception words. The rest of the children receive the rigorous daily phonics lessons from the Little Wandle Year 1 Programme Overview (see document below).


In Year 1, the first four weeks of the Autumn term consolidates Phases 3 and 4 to ensure that all children are secure before they start learning the Phase 5 GPCs. Daily keep-up sessions and targeted one-to-one support takes place for those children who are identified as needing additional blending practise in addition to the main lesson.


All children who access phonics receive a phonically decodable reading book matched to their current level to read to an adult at home. Like in Reception, this is the same book the children read in school with the class teacher. It is personalised to them directly and each child accesses this on the Collins Big Cat eBooks app or online platform.  They will also take home a separate book of their choice to read with their adult at home that doesn’t have to match their phonics level/phase. Year 2 children and those in Year 1 who have progressed beyond the Little Wandle phonics programme, access books from the whole-school Accelerated Renaissance Reader scheme. They will continue to do so throughout the rest of Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2.


In Year 1 Summer Term, children will sit the Phonics Screening Check. The findings from this will then determine the Autumn Term Year 2 curriculum highlighting pupils who need further phonics teaching and areas for development/keep-up.


Year 1 Programme Overview

Year 1 Grapheme Mat


Phonics Catch-Up in Key Stage 2

On entry to Key Stage 2, those children who still require phonics ‘keep-up’ will receive daily sessions from a fully trained staff member. Depending on the nature of the needs of the children, this could be in a mixed age-range group. These children will be monitored closely and assessed regularly by the teacher and Reading Lead.


Children in Key Stage 2 can also be given logins to access Collin Big Cat eBooks meaning they can read the matched phonically decodable books that they also access in school. Parents will be informed that their child is receiving phonics and will be offered advice in how to further support their child at home.

Key features of effective phonics practice

We believe that the seven key features of effective phonics practice are:

  • direct teaching in frequent, short bursts
  • consistency of approach
  • secure, systematic progression in phonics learning
  • maintaining pace of learning
  • providing repeated practice
  • application of phonics using matched decodable books
  • early identification of children at risk of falling behind, linked to the provision of effective keep-up support.

Glossary of Terms