Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skillfully. They are taught how to:

  • Recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;
  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make - such as /sh/ or /oo/; and
  • Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. It is particularly helpful for children aged 5 to 7 and begins at Lanesend when the children start Reception. Most children who receive effective teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.

Little Wandle

At Lanesend, we use Little Wandle as our Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme for early teaching of reading and writing. Phonics is making connections between the sounds of our spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down. Our phonics teaching follows the cycle of revisit and review, teach, practise and apply. Our aim is to teach children to sound out and blend in order to read words.

Lesson Structure

Revisit and Review 

Quick flash review. Each session will begin by rapidly revisiting any sounds that children have been previously taught.

Teach and Practise 

The session will move onto introducing the new sound and practising pronouncing it. Within the teach and practise section, children will be given the opportunity to form the sound, match to the letter, orally blend the sounds in words, follow teacher led blending words and be taught tricky words.

Examples of this are:

  • Timed reading of sounds/words/tricky words.
  • Reading words quickly: ask children to find the digraph and then read the word fluently.
  • Reading longer words using the chunking method. Aim to read some longer words fluently each time.

There will also be opportunities for:

  • Oral blending throughout the day
  • Teacher- led blending throughout the day

Practice and Apply 

Children now have the opportunity to play games to use the new sound in action and apply it into reading and writing words.

Home Support

The early stages of learning to read are so important for your child’s development. We want you to be as involved as possible in being part of their reading journey. Our aim is to support all families in gaining confidence to support their child in practicing reading at home. We hope you following link useful to tell you more about Little Wandle:


Below are words that your children will become familiar with as they are taught the phonics programme.

Grapheme – The letter or letter group which is the sound (phoneme) written down

Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound that can be identified in words

Blending – When reading a word, identify the graphemes in the word and say the corresponding sounds in order to hear the word as a whole. E.g. read cat   c- a- t

Segmenting – When spelling a word, break it down into the sounds you hear and write the grapheme for each identified sound. E.g. say shop = writing c- a- t

Decode – Breaking a word down into sounds to be able to read it.

Encode – Breaking a word down into sounds to be able to spell it.

Digraph – When two letters make one sound when they are together. E.g. shop

Trigraph – When three letters make one sound when they are together. E.g. night

Split digraph – When two letters that are “split” by having another letter in the middle of them. E.g.  a_e in game or i_e in tide.


Supporting your child with reading 

Collins Big Cat Decodable Books

The children following Little Wandle in Reception, Year One and Year Two will have two daily Phonic sessions and they will also have reading practice sessions in groups at school three times a week. The children will have the same book for each session, with a different focus each time:

  • Decoding - the process of seeing written words on a page and being able to say them out loud
  • Prosody - reading with rhythm, stress and intonation
  • Comprehension - developing understanding of what they have read

We have purchased the Collins Big Cat books that go alongside the Little Wandle Scheme. These are completely decodable and matched to what is being taught in the lessons. Each week, the children will bring home the same book that they have been reading in their practice sessions, and these will be changed once a week.

As the aim is to create fluency in independent reading, the children should be reading their decodable book daily at home so it is revisited several times. The book from the Little Wandle Scheme is carefully matched to your child’s stage of reading, so if your child is reading it with limited support, please do not worry that it is too easy; it is designed to develop fluency and confidence. Providing lots of praise and encouragement will really help their fluency and confidence. If they are unsure about a word, read it to them and ensure you talk about what it means.

Reading for Pleasure Library Books

In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure too. We want to continue to promote and develop a strong love for reading in all our children and this is achieved by sharing books together. To support this, children will also bring home a second book from our library as a ‘high quality text’ which we ask you to read to the children and share the pleasure of a book together. Reading these books also aids the children’s language and imagination. This will help them in all aspects of the curriculum. Please do not ask your child to read the sharing book to you as it will be beyond their level, although they may recognise some sounds or words in it, or even know the story or parts of the text off by heart.

When reading with your child, the key to unlocking comprehension is asking them questions and having beneficial discussions. Questions unlock thinking and discussing the pictures, predicting what might happen next, using different voices for different characters, thinking about character’s personalities and relating the books to their own lives are all fantastic ways to work on comprehension. Exploring a range of non-fiction texts is also invaluable for the children’s knowledge and understanding of the world and they are able to choose these to bring home too.

Please continue to support us with reading daily with your child at home. Our main aim is to make reading enjoyable and no child is ever too old to be read to.

Useful Documents and Websites

Our Phonic Scheme:


Key Mantras of Little Wandle

What is the Phonics Screening Check?

The Phonics Screening Check is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge, which helps to confirm whether your child is making expected progress in reading.

What are ‘non/pseudo-words’?

The check will contain a mix of real words and ‘non-words’ or ‘pseudo-words’ (or ‘nonsense/alien words’). Children will be told before the check that there will be non-words that they will not have seen before. The children will be familiar with this as we already use ‘non-words’ when we teach phonics. Non-words are important to include because words such as ‘vap’ or ‘jound’ are new to all children. Children cannot read the non-words by using their memory or vocabulary; they have to use their decoding skills, which assesses their ability to decode.

After the check

We will tell you about your child’s progress in phonics and how they have done in the screening check in the last half-term of Year 1. If your child has found the check difficult, we will tell you what support we have put in place to help them improve and how you can continue to help them at home.

Children who have not met the National standard score in Year 1 will retake the check in Year 2. All children are individuals and develop at different rates.

Previous Phonics Screening Checks
Below are some previous checks that you can download and practice with your child:

2017 Phonics Screening Check

2018 Phonics Screening Check

2019 Phonics Screening Check