School Logo

Wooburn Green Primary School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Phonics and Reading

Curriculum Intent

At WGPS we believe reading is essential for academic success but, more importantly, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We aim to promote reading for pleasure, and hope to instil this love of reading in all children through the culture of our school. 


In order to read, children need to have a strategy to be able to decode words and this strategy is phonics. Children need to practice and secure their phonic decoding skills until they become automatic and fluent readers.


At Wooburn Green Primary School we teach phonics through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme.


Through our phonics curriculum we intend that our children will be able to:

  • experience high quality phonics teaching, which provides children with critical skills to be able to read and write.
  • to decode real and non-real words.
  • read easily and fluently and become confident readers
  • understand the meaning of the words they are reading


We aim for the majority of Y1 pupils to pass the phonics screening test (at least in line with national figures).


We have carefully ensured that our phonics teaching is complimented by our reading scheme at WGPS. Pupils in EY and KS1 are given reading books each week, which directly link to the phonics sounds they are being taught so that phonics knowledge is consolidated. 


It is our intention to ensure that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils (including those with SEND) are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education by ensuring all children have the appropriate word reading and comprehension skills.

Phonics - Little Wandle

Curriculum Content

The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme begins in the earliest years with the Foundations for Phonics programme, which we deliver to our Pre-School children. This ensures that our children are well prepared to begin to learn grapheme-phoneme correspondences and blending to read in Reception and Year 1, where they will follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression which is designed to ensure that all children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

At Wooburn Green, we understand that being able to read is the most crucial skill that we can teach our children as without it they will find it increasingly difficult to access other areas of the curriculum and their life chances will be significantly reduced. The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme is designed to ensure that no child is left behind and where teachers think that this may be the case, children will be supported with Little Wandle’s daily keep up or catch up in Reception and Year 1, or Rapid Catch up in Year 2 and Key Stage 2. In addition to our daily phonics lessons, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. This runs alongside our strong focus on language development in all year groups, as we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

A consistent approach

Little Wandle is the only scheme used throughout school as we know that a consistent approach lowers cognitive load and gives our children the best chance of success. Every adult at Wooburn Green is trained to deliver Little Wandle phonics and reading to ensure that phonics and reading are delivered in the same way in every year group and by every adult. This includes all adults using the same language, the same routines and the same resources. Weekly content grids, lesson templates and ‘How to’ videos all help to ensure that all adults maintain consistency in their teaching and this is monitored half termly by the Reading Leader and SLT so that any misconceptions or inconsistencies can be rectified as soon as possible.

Foundation for phonics in Pre-School


Foundations for phonics is started with our youngest children in Pre-School. Sessions take place daily with a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences supporting all children in meeting the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and Language’ and ‘Literacy’. These may include:

  • sharing high-quality stories and poems
  • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes
  • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
  • attention to high-quality language.

By the end of Pre-School, children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.



Children start phase 2 of the Little Wandle phonics programme as soon as possible after starting Reception, usually week 2 of the Autumn term when children are settled in their new surroundings. Phase 2 teaches children the first 32 phonemes (36 graphemes) and follows a carefully sequenced progression so that children are able to start to read and write as soon as reasonably possible.

Phonics is delivered every day in Reception so that children have plenty of opportunities to revisit, practice and apply their phonic knowledge. Repeated practice is also provided in morning tasks and within the provision in the classroom. It is very important that children learn to pronounce the phonemes correctly. Where children pronounce the phonemes incorrectly or use letter names, they will not be able to successfully blend to read words.

These guides and videos will show you how to pronounce all of the Phase 2 phonemes. You can use these with your child at home to help them with their pronunciation of phonemes and recognition of corresponding graphemes. Parents will also be invited to attend a phonics meeting with the Phonics Leader in the Autumn Term. 

By the end of the Autumn Term, we aim for all children to be able to blend to read words with Phase 2 sounds. As part of our commitment to ensuring all children can read and that no child is left behind, we will monitor how children are keeping up with the daily phonics sessions and will provide daily keep up sessions as and where needed.

In the Spring Term, children will progress through Phase 3 of the programme, learning many new phonemes and graphemes including digraphs (2 letters making 1 sound, and trigraphs, 3 letters making 1 sound).

This video will show you the phonemes that are taught in Phase 3.

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 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.

Year 1

Children in Year 1 continue to follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. They learn how to ‘grow the code,’ learning that there are different ways to represent the different phonemes that they learnt in Reception.


By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught all of the phonemes and graphemes in the English language and should be able to decode and read any word. They should be reading age appropriate texts with confidence and fluency. Our aim is for children to have completed the Little Wandle programme by the end of Year 1.


At Wooburn Green Primary School, it is our aim that every child will learn to read, no matter what barriers they may have to their learning. Children with special educational needs follow the Little Wandle Phonics programme as outlined above. This may, however, be personalised depending on individual learning needs. Please speak to a member of staff if you require more information about how we deliver the Little Wandle programme to children with SEND.

Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.

We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 and above who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up resources – at pace. 

These short, sharp lessons last 15-20 minutes daily and have been designed to ensure children quickly catch up to age-related expectations in reading.

Year 2

From September 2023, Little Wandle introduced a Phonics and spelling programme Year 2 consisting of daily lessons. The first 5 weeks recap Phase 5 Phonics, the next 5 weeks teach bridging to spelling and the last 20 weeks are based around spelling.

Year 2 and beyond - Rapid Catch Up

There may be a number of reasons why children in Year 2 and beyond are not yet able to decode confidently or read fluently. They may have gaps in their learning or may be new to school, having never done phonics before. Where this is the case, we will support these children by using the Little Wandle Rapid Catch Up Scheme. This is a much faster paced and age appropriate version of the Little Wandle scheme which enables children to access age appropriate reading and therefore the full curriculum much more rapidly, and also prepares them for the KS3 curriculum when they move onto secondary school.

Ongoing assessment for Rapid Catch-up in Years 2 to 6

Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through:

  • the Rapid Catch-up initial assessment to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan appropriate teaching
  • the Rapid Catch-up summative assessments to assess progress and inform teaching
  • the Rapid Catch-up fluency assessments when children are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books for age 7+.

The fluency assessments measure children’s accuracy and reading speed in short
one-minute assessments. They also assess when children are ready to exit the Rapid Catch-up programme, which is when they read the final fluency assessment at 90+ words per minute.

Reading practise sessions

Small group reading provides children with an opportunity to practice and apply what they have learnt in phonics. Reading sessions are taught by fully trained adults to small groups of approximately 6 children. Teachers will use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and matching grids to ensure that children are given a book that is fully decodable in line with their secure phonic knowledge. Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills. 


Read 1 – DecodingChildren will be introduced to a new book. They will practice decoding the words in the book and will discuss the meaning of any new words before reading. Children will then have the opportunity to decode to read their books independently, with adults tuning in and scaffolding where appropriate
Read 2- ProsodyChildren will develop comprehension of what they are reading by learning about and practicing reading appropriate parts of the text with expression.
Read 3 – ComprehensionChildren will talk about their text, using it to recall information or infer. They will be taught to use parts of the text to justify their answers


Little Wandle Progression

Statutory assessment – Phonics Screening

In the Summer term of Year 1, children complete the government’s phonics screening check. This assesses children on how well they can decode a number of words. Year 1 class teachers will hold a meeting for parents in the Spring term to ensure that parents feel confident in supporting their children during the phonics screening check. Children who do not pass the phonics screening check in Year 1 are re-screened in Year 2.

Curriculum Implementation

At Wooburn Green, phonics and reading are embedded throughout the entire curriculum. EYFS and KS1 pupils participate in 30 minutes phonics lessons each day. Reading skills are taught discretely five times a week in 30-minute sessions for all pupils in both KS1 and KS2. Pupils from Preschool-Year 6 also participate in daily story time to promote love of reading.



Little Wandle is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme, which provides high quality planning and resources for the teaching staff. This ensures there is a consistent approach to the teaching of phonics at Wooburn Green. 


Each lesson is carried out in the same structure:


Revisit and Review

Teach and Practise

Practise and Apply.


What does a phonics session look like at Wooburn Green?


Revisit and review – Go through flashcards or allow the children to play a quickfire game to practise something they have learned before and help build their confidence.


Introduction and engagement - The teacher will explain to the children what they will be learning today and get them enthusiastic and motivated for the session. This could be by showing pictures or objects with the sound in and getting the children to guess or find the sound.


Teach - The children will be taught a new phoneme/grapheme or a new skill. This will be taught in a fun multisensory way and may well involve: writing sounds/ words, songs, actions, pictures, puppets, writing giant letters in the air, using different voices, moving around the room, treasure hunts.


Practise - The children should be able to read a variety of real words with the sound in. They should have the opportunity to write words with the sound and use phonics buttons to represent the sounds. This could be done by using pictures, missing words in sentences, fill in the missing sounds, make words with the sound using letters displayed. The sound or word should be visibly displayed at all times during the lesson.


Apply - The children will have a go at reading or writing sentences of words that involve the new sound/word they have just learned. Writing should be completed in Phonics book. Games are available with real words and alien words.



  • Children are expected to write in book each lesson (sound/words/sentence).
  • Reading books are changed twice a week.
  • Spellings given to children on Monday based on sounds they have learnt and common exception words.
  • Spelling tests completed on a Friday


In order to achieve the intended outcomes, we teach the National Curriculum objectives, which are mapped out through a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.


We make use of the VIPERS approach to develop reading skills, which include:

  • V – Vocabulary
  • I – Infer
  • P – Predict
  • E – Explain
  • R – Retrieve
  • S – Sequence or summarise


These are considered the core skills of reading and link specifically to the National Curriculum reading domains. Others (such as visualisation) will also be included as necessary. Teachers will ensure children have a balance of skills across the week and over each term so that they have opportunities to develop their complete reading skills.


Reading Domains Links to VIPERS


KS1 Content Domain Reference


1a draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts


1b identify/ explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction, such as characters, events, titles and information.


1c identify and explain the sequences of events in texts

Sequence and Retrieve

1d make inferences from the text


1e predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far



KS2 Content Domain Reference


2a Give/explain the meaning of words in context


2b retrieve and record information/ identify key details from fiction and non/fiction


2c summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph


2d make inferences from the text/ explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text

Infer and Explain

2e predict what might happen from details stated or implied


2f identify/explain how information/ narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole


2g identify/explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases


2h make comparisons within a text



We encourage reading for pleasure through children having a choice of challenging and enriching texts as well as building in time for children to read independently and as part of a whole class. All children have daily opportunities to read a variety of material in school, including regularly with an adult. Each class in KS2 has a class reading book which allows teachers share their own love of reading with their pupils.


Children leave Key Stage 2 as competent readers with a shared love of stories and a secure understanding of what they have read. Pupils are able to engage in discussions about plots and characters, recommend a book to a peer and evaluate an author's use of language and the impact this has on the reader. Pupils read in all subjects in the curriculum and will read different genres to develop their understanding about a topic.

Useful Links: