Phonics and Early Reading

We are a Little Wandle school!

Our chosen phonics scheme is Little Wandle. It is a DfE accredited scheme. 

Kingfisher's Reading and Phonics Guidance

Here is our approach to Phonics and Reading:

Phonics and Early Reading Guidance




Reading curriculum intent

At Kingfisher, reading is promoted as an intrinsic part of teaching and learning. It forms a pivotal part of our curriculum. We recognise that the skill of reading provides children with access to the world around them and a wealth of knowledge which will support their learning and development in all other areas. However, we also believe that reading brings joy and experiences that cannot be achieved in any other way; discovering new worlds, reflecting on the past and exploring emotions from the viewpoints of others who are similar and very different.


Reading curriculum implementation


Early Reading 

Children have opportunities to apply their developing phonic knowledge and skills in the context of shared reading and writing across all subjects.  We aim to give children the skills they need to decode and blend quickly and securely. Children are given fully decodable books that are closely matched to their developing knowledge of Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence and their ability to blend.  We use Collins Big Cat Phonics for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised texts.  These reading books are closely matched to our progression document and are grouped accordingly.

Reading practice sessions led by a trained teacher or trained TA take place 3 times a week. The reading practice book is carefully matched to their secure phonic knowledge, this book is used for all three sessions to avoid cognitive overload. The first session is a decoding session. GPCs, tricky words and key vocabulary are recapped as necessary. The may include the definitions of new vocabulary.  Children then read independently and the teacher/TA will 'tap in'. This means they spend time with each child listening, supporting and praising as appropriate. 

Session 2 has a focus on prosody - reading with expression and intonation. Teachers and TAs model this and then children read independently as the teacher/TA 'taps in' as before. 

Session 3 has a focus on comprehension. The reading practice book is then taken home to practice fluency, build confidence and celebrate success. 


Developing a love of reading

Children in Foundation Stage start with wordless books to encourage an engagement with and a love for books straightaway. Children choose a sharing book weekly which supplements their phonically decodable reading book. We run story sessions with parents, weekly story assemblies, story clubs and have book related visitors into school. 


Reading at home

Research shows that children who read daily develop reading fluency at a more rapid rate and become more confident, eloquent writers. We aspire to this for all our children and believe that the most important thing that parents can do at home to help their children achieve at school is to share books with them.

We encourage children to read daily at home with their adults and try to ensure that those who do not get a daily read at home have one in school. Children with 50 reads are celebrated individually in Celebration Assembly and receive a book prize from the vending machine. 


Systematic synthetic phonics is a way of teaching children to read skilfully.  At Kingfisher, we follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised, a government validated scheme. This ensures that  all resources, vocabulary and mantras used are consistent across the school. This helps to reduce cognitive overload.  Children have 30 minutes of daily phonics teaching. Keep up sessions are used as necessary after the main lesson as a short, sharp intervention to stop children falling behind. Ideally this is on the same day. 

Phonological awareness and phonic knowledge is developed as soon as children start school. The initial focus is on teaching phonemes and recognising initial sounds. The teaching of phonics begins in Foundation Stage. Each phoneme (sound) and corresponding grapheme (letter) is introduced clearly; a focus is placed on recognising these so they can then start to read words by blending  the sounds together and segmenting to spell. In addition, they learn to read by sight a range of high frequency and common exception words. This focus provides children with the skills they need to begin to read and write words, captions and whole sentences as soon as possible. They then progress on to learning combinations of letters as digraphs (two letters to make one sound) e.g. ‘ck’ ‘oo’, ‘sh’ and trigraphs (three letters to make one sound) e.g. 'igh' and ‘air’. 

Daily phonics lessons continue into KS1 as the children become more confident at applying their phonics to reading and writing. They continue to learn new graphemes for phonemes they already know  e.g. 'a' as ai/ay/a/a_e, as well as alternative pronunciations for the graphemes they already know e.g. cow/ snow.  They are also taught the Common Exception Words for Year 1 and 2 set out in the National Curriculum. From Year 2 onwards, children will consolidate their knowledge and learn different spelling rules and when to apply them. 

Here is our phonics progression document detailing children's learning throughout the programme:

Little Wandle Curriculum Overview

Great importance is given to staff, children and parents to pronounce these phonemes correctly in order for children to accurately blend and segment. The link below has some videos that may be useful.  

Resources for parents

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  • Peglars Way, Swindon, SN1 7DA

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