Early Reading / Phonics

Phonics Subject Leader: Miss A MacKenzie

Hello, I am Miss MacKenzie and I have the pleasure of being the Early Reading lead here at Holy Trinity. I have a real passion for phonics and value its importance in developing our children’s reading skills that will unlock a lifetime of reading. Reading is crucial to access the rest of the curriculum, and to experience the enjoyment that delving into a book can provide. Furthermore, phonics unpins the understanding and skills for spelling and writing. It fills me with happiness and pride to aid children in their reading journey and witness their confidence grow as they begin to read individual words, to sentences to whole books.

At Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, Phonics is taught using the structure of our systematic synthetic programme ‘Little Wandle Letters & Sounds’. Phonics allows children to see letters written on a page and provides them with the tools to understand it properly. Beyond reading and writing, it helps children develop general thinking skills. We believe it is truly important to have a strong understanding of sounds and reading for children to access the curriculum.

For any more information on Holy Trinity’s Phonics Curriculum, please contact the office.

horton kirby c of e uses little wandle


At Holy Trinity, we believe that high-quality consistent teaching of phonics and early reading will grow a love of reading and provide all children with the ability to become fluent readers. Reading is a vital skill that is core to widening accessibility to many other areas of the curriculum and life. A strong foundation in reading in primary school can empower and encourage a child.

Our curriculum is literacy-rich and provides a plethora of opportunities to read and write in a range of contexts for different purposes whilst also celebrating our diversity.

A dedicated interactive area for reading (Media Merge Room), supports a growing love for reading regardless of pupils’ social and economic circumstances, ethnicities, first language and/or special educational needs and disabilities. Across the curriculum, pupils are offered opportunities to read independently, with or be read to by an adult and enjoy reading with prosody to bring a text to life which will enable all to flourish.


We use 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 different sounds, and that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Through the Little Wandle programme, phonics is taught in a specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school.

Daily Phonics Lessons

  • We follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught for between 20-30 minutes daily and there is a review session on a Friday to consolidate learning.
  • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and Phase 3 Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) and apply learning to read Phase 4 words with fluency and accuracy. Phase 2 encompasses the most common single letter sounds in words containing constant-vowel-constant (CVC words). Phase 3 includes the rest of the single letter sounds, plus sounds made up of two letters and three letters. Phase 4 gets children to apply their learning so far too longer words with adjacent consonants.
  • Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 (see above for information) and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) with fluency and accuracy. Phase 5 introduces alternative spellings for sounds learnt.
  • In Years 2 and 3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.



Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

Assessment for Learning is Used:

  • daily within the class to identify children needing same-day Keep-up support.
  • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs), words and spellings.

Summative Assessment is Used:

  • every six weeks to assess progress, identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, identify any children needing additional support and plan the Keep-up support that they need.
  • by SLT and scrutinised through Little Wandle’s assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.

Statutory Assessment

  • Children in Year 1 sit the statutory Phonics Screening Check.
  • Any child not passing the check re-takes it in Year 2.

Ongoing Assessment for Catch-Up

Children in Years 2 to 6 are assessed through their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as through the placement and half-termly summative assessments.

Phonics in Each Stage

Phases 2, 3 and 4 are taught in Reception.

Children in Reception and Year 1 will participate in Reading Practice Sessions with a teacher. The books the children will be reading in these sessions are the Big Cat Little Wandle Books. These books will be carefully matched to the child’s current reading level. The children will read the same book three times, focusing on different reading skills in each session.

Autumn 1 Graphemes

In year one, we will review phases 3 and 4. We will start to introduce phase 5.

Children in Reception and Year 1 will participate in Reading Practice Sessions with a teacher. The books the children will be reading in these sessions are the Big Cat Little Wandle Books. These books will be carefully matched to the child’s current reading level. The children will read the same book three times, focusing on different reading skills in each session.

Phonics Graphmes
If the children need further support in their Phonics when they move into KS2, they will be put in an intervention that is tailored to them.

Early Reading Progression

SEND Information

Our SEND and disadvantaged pupils are given the necessary support in class to fully access the supported Phonics curriculum. Learning is adapted where necessary to support SEND/EAL pupils to give equal opportunities for all to be confident in approaching any problems faced. Interventions, support and challenges are constantly revised and adapted to ensure all children are supported in achieving learning. The above areas are robustly and continuously monitored to ensure any gaps in learning are addressed.

Remote Learning

Phonic books will be sent home. Teachers will put the GPC’S the children have learnt in their Phonic sessions, in their Phonic Books, for the children to take home. Regular practice of these GPC’s will support your child in their reading and writing.

Home Reading

  • Children take the same book home from their in-school reading session to give an opportunity for further practice and develop fluency.
  • Children also take a reading-for-pleasure book home for parents to share, read to, and enjoy with their children.

The language for teaching phonics is specific. Here is a glossary of some common terms, if you have any specific questions please contact your teacher or our phonics lead.

Phonics is the knowledge of how alphabetic sounds work and how these sounds are combined to correspond to the spoken word.

It includes the skills of blending for reading and segmentation for spelling.

  • Blending is the skill of building words by merging phonemes together – this is used when reading words.
  • Segmentation is breaking down a word into its component phonemes –this is used when spelling words.
  • Phonemes are the smallest unit of sound in a word. It is generally accepted that there are different phonemes in the English language.
  • Graphemes are the written symbol of a phoneme.
  • Digraphs are phonemes written with two letters
  • Trigraphs are phonemes written with three letters
  • Split digraphs are two letters that make one sound, but the letters are not adjacent in a word (they are split by another letter e.g. i_e as in time).
  • High Frequency Words are the most commonly used words in the English language and if children can master these.
  • Alien words are made up words to test children’s ability to blend.

At the end of Year 1 there is a statutory phonics check which takes place in June.  Children in Year 2 who did not meet the expected standard in the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, will be re-assessed in Year 2.

To support children’s progress in Year 1 towards the required standard for the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check children are assessed periodically throughout the year using previous years’ test materials.

This is a test of children’s ability to blend and read using the 44 phonemes. They are asked to read a series of real and nonsense or ‘alien’ words.

For further information, visit the government website here

Phonics Extra Resources