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Phonics and Early Reading


In order to become successful and lifelong readers, we believe that becoming a fluent decoder is a priority. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts in reception and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Fulbourn we also model these strategies through shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. Dialogic practice underpins our approach to all learning because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

Phonics in Reception and Year 1

  • 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.
  • Phonics starts in reception in week 2 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 30 minutes over time.

Reading practice sessions 

  • From Reception to the end of Autumn term in Year 2, children apply their phonics knowledge by using a fully matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
  • These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week. 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 the following week to ensure success is shared with the family.
  • In reception these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not decoding do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised.

Phonics in Year 2 to Year 6

  • In Y2, phonic lessons are taught twice a week to children where appropriate to ensure all children have consistent knowledge of the phonic code.
  • In Y2-Y6 there are planned phonic ‘ rapid catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting 10 minutes in length and taking place at least three times a week.
  • Where appropriate, some children may use our SEND 'graduated' approached. This is taught in small groups or 1:1 and moves in very small steps. This approach is daily and multisensory to support the children to remember their new learning. 
  • Any children who are still decoding to read will have a Little Wandle decodable reader that will be closely matched to their reading ability.