Little Wandle Phonics

Here is a copy of the Phonics meeting shared with our Reception parents in September.

Following on from the September Phonics Meeting for Parents and Carers. Please find below additional information regarding our phonics scheme – Little Wandle 

At Brackensdale Spencer Academy we prioritise learning to read so that the children can access the wider curriculum and make sense of the world. We use phonics to do this and start right from Nursery. Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write. It helps children to hear, understand and use the different sounds that distinguish one word from another. We use a systematic synthetic phonics programme called Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, which is approved by the Department for Education.


In Nursery, the focus is on listening to and identifying different sounds using support from Little Wandle’s Foundations for phonics. We use Little Wandle’s engaging games to teach oral blending and phonemic awareness as well as other resources to meet the needs of each child.

We also support language development and a love of books through:

• sharing high-quality stories and poems with children

• learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes

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

• ensuring high-quality language is used in the setting

Reception and Year 1

Children have daily phonics lessons as a whole class following the Little Wandle planning. These lessons are quite short at the beginning of Reception but soon build up to 30 minutes a day. By the end of Reception, the children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 4. By the end of Year 1 the children will have been taught up to the end of Phase 5. Each lesson, the children revisit GPCs and words they have learnt before as well as learning new GPCs and applying them to new words. These are then practised in reading and writing sentences as part of the phonics lesson, as well as across the curriculum.

During each lesson, teachers assess the children’s understanding and identify any children who are in need of further support in the daily keep-up sessions. Keep-up sessions match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures and resources, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that learning is secured.

Children are able to apply their phonic knowledge by reading fully decodable books. These are matched to their reading ability so each child can successfully read. The reading sessions are about 15 minutes long and take place three times a week in small groups. The sessions follow the structure set out by Little Wandle so that the children begin by recognising the sounds before reading the words. They are then able to read the sentences and book fluently and with understanding before demonstrating their comprehension.

Each group reads the same book at each of the three sessions over the week and then a copy of the book is available to read again at home. This means that the children’s success can be shared and celebrated at home and each child is a confident reader.


In Reception and Year 1, children’s phonics knowledge is assessed every six weeks using the Little Wandle assessment. This helps to keep track of children’s progress as well as informing next steps for teaching and identifying any gaps in the children’s learning (leading to keep-up sessions).

Children will take part in the statutory phonics screening check in the summer term of Year 1. We make sure that the children are familiar with the format of the phonics screening check by taking part in mock testing at the appropriate time. This is done in an informal way to ensure that the children see it as a fun activity and are able to celebrate their achievements.

Year 2 and beyond

Children who continue to require support in Year 2 and KS2 take part in phonics sessions and interventions appropriate for their needs. These will also follow the Little Wandle format, planning, progression and resources and the phonics skills and knowledge will be embedded during their Sounds and Syllables spelling lessons.

If you are a parent who would like to help support your child at home, follow this link for further information from Little Wandle:

Why learning to read is so important

  • Reading is essential for all subject areas and improves life chances.
  • Positive attitudes to reading and choosing to read have academic, social and emotional benefits for children.

How children learn to read

  • Phonics is the only route to decoding.
  • Learning to say the phonic sounds.
  • By blending phonic sounds to read words.
  • Increasing the child’s fluency in reading sounds, words and books.
  • Learning Common Exception Words (Tricky words) by sight and ensuring they are embedded.

Reading fully decodable books

  • Children must read books consistent with their phonic knowledge.
  • It is essential not to use other strategies to work out words (including guessing words, deducing meaning from pictures, grammar, context clues or whole word recognition).
  • Books must be fully decodable and follow the Little Wandle scheme
  • Children need to read books in a progressive sequence until they can decode unfamiliar words confidently.

The role of Parents and Carers

  • Have a positive impact on their child’s reading.
  • Should model the importance of reading practice to develop fluency.
  • Children take home books they have read at school to re-read at home to build fluency.
  • There are two different types of books that pupils bring home: reading practice and books to share for pleasure.
  • Reading at home encourages a love of books, along with developing vocabulary and discussion.
  • Parents should use voices, expression, discuss unfamiliar vocabulary, talk about the pictures, and predict what might happen next.
  • Give positive yet informative feedback in the home reading diary at least 3 times a week

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 all of 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.

Sharing book

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!

Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 1

This “Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 1” video is designed to be shared with families by schools using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to help them to support learning at home.

Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 2

This Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 2 video is designed to be shared with families to help them to support learning at home.

Phase 3 sounds taught in Reception Spring 1

This “Phase 3 sounds taught in Reception Spring 1” video is designed to be shared with families to help them support the learning at home.

How to say Phase 5 sounds

This “Phase 3 sounds taught in Reception Spring 1” video is designed to be shared with families to help them support the learning at home.