Phonics- Early Reading

At Woodside, we believe there is no greater skill that we can teach a child than how to read fluently and for pleasure - thus opening a world of endless learning possibilities and academic success.
We understand that if children have a positive start with early reading and phonics, it will have endless benefits across all areas of learning. Numerous studies have shown when children learn to read at an early age, they have greater general knowledge, expand their vocabulary, become more fluent readers, develop problem solving skills, grow in self-confidence and flourish with creativity and their imagination.

At Woodside 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 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.


 Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • 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.
  • 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 Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

Children entering Year 2 will revisit Phase 5 which develops a variety of spelling strategies including word specific spellings e.g. see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary. Also the accurate spelling of words containing unusual GPC's.


 Teaching reading in Reception and Year 1:

  • 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 that are 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.

 Home reading in Reception and Year 1:

  • The decodable reading practice book read in practice reading sessions is taken home during the week to ensure success is shared with the family.
  • Reading for pleasure books go home at the weekend for parents to share and read to children.

 The Phonics Screening Check

The National Phonics Screening Check is performed in June of Year 1. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who did not meet the required standard for the check in year 1 enter again in year 2 with additional support.