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Early Reading and Phonics


Our priority is that every child is a fluent reader by the end of KS1, regardless of their background, needs or prior attainment. 

We aim:

  • To inspire and challenge our children, to achieve excellent standards including all aspects of the National Curriculum objectives for reading.  
  • To engage and excite our children in reading and phonics in order to promote a love of reading for every child.   
  • To equip our children with a wide ‘reading diet’ so that they become well rounded readers  
  • To close the ‘word gap’ in order to expand pupils' vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the texts they are reading, through planned tier 2 vocabulary teaching.
  • To ensure that any gaps in learning are closed and pupils meet age related expectations in reading and phonics.  


The SSP programme: 

  • Phonics is implemented through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.  This programme was chosen due to its rigour and systematic approaches, providing our children with a fast paced, ambitious approach with fully aligned resources and decodable reading books. It also provides a well-sequenced, thorough approach to teaching children to read with fluency. 
  • There is a priority for ongoing CPD for all staff through the use of the Little Wandle training portal.   

The fundamentals:

  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term. 
  • Phonics is taught in a whole class approach. Any gaps in knowledge are addressed through additional keep up sessions ( in addition to whole-class phonics sessions) from the start of the year in order for children to ‘keep up’ with their peers. 
  • We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
  • We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
    • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
    • Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy
    • Children in Year 2 begin the year by reviewing Phase 5, once they have completed Phase 5 and have a reading fluency of 60-70+ words per minute, they begin the Little Wandle Spelling programme before completing the Little Wandle Fluency programme.  

Assessment and extra practice:

  • 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. This is extended into Year 2 and KS2 for any children who are not working at the age related expectation for reading.
  • The reading curriculum is ambitious for children with SEND and those who are disadvantaged. 
  • We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and use this information to close any gaps.

Decodable reading books: 

  • We teach children to read through reading practice sessions. These:
    • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children.
    • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids.
    • are monitored by the class teacher, who works with each group on a regular basis.
  • 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:
    • decoding
    • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
  • In Reception, these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books closely matched to their phonic knowledge.
  • Reading Practice sessions continue in Year 1, children read books that are closely matched to their phonic knowledge and continue to develop their decoding, prosody and comprehension skills.
  • In Year 2 children continue their reading practice sessions, once they have a reading fluency of 60-70+ words per minute and they have completed all of the Phase 5 books, they start the Little Wandle Fluency Programme which includes a broad range of texts to develop their reading skills. 

We Love to Read: 

In Reception and Year One, children have daily ‘We Love to Read’ sessions.  High-quality stories and books have been selected to read aloud to children, including traditional and modern stories, and non-fiction books,  they are organised, listed and shared. In these stories and non-fiction books, children encounter others whose experiences, setting and perspectives are both similar to and different from their own. Teachers re-read stories and talk with children about them to build familiarity and understanding.  Tier 2 vocabulary is planned and taught for the 'Super Six' We Love To Read books in Reception and Year One.  These are six books that will be read repeatedly over the school year, so that children know them well.  The tier 2 vocabulary chosen from these books is taught in a ‘We Love to Read’ session and explored in wider contexts, once children know the story well.  Reception and Year One children enjoy an additional storytime as a class at the end of the day, high quality texts are planned and selected for this storytime.  Children in Reception and Year One enjoy learning new poems and rhymes.  Children learn to recite a poem or rhyme each week.  Poems, rhymes and songs are planned and listed for each year group.

Reading at home:

  • Parents are informed to know how best to support children in learning GPC’s and blending to read through our phonics information sessions. 
  • Reading at home is strongly promoted.  Children take home their decodable book that has been read in school to read at home, they also choose a high quality library book from our school library to share at home and read for pleasure.  


  • Phonics teaching is strong, as a result of high quality, ongoing CPD. 
  • Children are passionate about reading, sharing their love of reading with family and friends.  
  • Phonics screening check results are in line with or above national:
    • June 2023 Year 1 Phonics Screening Check result: 80%

Phonics and Early Reading at ECPS

This is how we say the phase 2 sounds...

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This is how we say the phase 2 sounds...

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This is how we say the phase 3 sounds...

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Phonics and Reading Policy 

National Curriculum

Useful Websites