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About our school

About our school

At Shakespeare Primary School we teach

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Phonics


At Shakespeare Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/ Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. 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.

Phonics lessons

Foundations for phonics in Nursery

  • We provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. These 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.
  • We ensure Nursery children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics every 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.
  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
  • 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 Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

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. We use the Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up


At Shakespeare Primary School, we value reading as a crucial life skill. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week

  • We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. 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 rotates and 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.
  • In Years 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.

Supporting Your Child with reading
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.

Your child will come home with two books a week. The first on a Tuesday which is a phonics book. This is a book matched to the phonics that they know.
Encourage them to –

  • Sound out the words using their phonics. Do not ask them to use pictures to help them guess words.
  • Blend the sounds together to read the word. Support them if needed and encourage them.
  • Then read the word again fluently – without sounding out. Some children might need more practise with this.
  • Re-read the book as this will support their fluency.

If children are to become lifelong readers, it is essential that they are encouraged to read for pleasure. The desire of wanting to read will help with the skill of reading. To help foster a love of reading, children will then bring a story book home on a Friday. This is for you to read and share with them.

When reading the book encourage them to-  

  • Tell you what you have just read
  • Link it to what they know and their experiences
  • Ask them what they are wondering as they read
  • Tell you how characters are feeling and how they know this
  • Make predictions about what they think will happen next and why

When you have read the book encourage them to –

  • Explain where the story is set
  • Explain what the characters are like at different points in the story
  • Explain what happens in the beginning, middle and end of the story
  • Explain if they liked the book and why

Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 1

The Phase 2 letters and the sounds that they make video, to support learning at home.

Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 2

The Phase 2 letters and the sounds that they make video, to support learning at home.

Phase 3 sounds taught in Reception Spring 1

The Phase 3 digraphs and trigraphs and the sounds that they make video, to support learning at home.

How we teach blending

Children need to blend sounds in words to read. How we teach blending video,  to support learning at home.

Quick guide to alien words

Alien words are used in the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Y1 to check children's ability to apply the sounds that they know into reading unfamiliar words.

How we teach tricky words

This video explains what tricky words and how we teach them.

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