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Norfolk Hill, Grenoside, S35 8QB

0114 2467380







Grenoside Primary

Phonics at Grenoside Community Primary School


Grenoside Community Primary School – Phonics and Early Reading Overview, Policy and Procedures                                                                 


Phonics (Reading and Spelling)

At Grenoside Community 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 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. At Grenoside, 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. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


At Grenoside, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. 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. Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.



Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics for up to 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.


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 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 Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Keep-up resources – at pace. 
  • If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics ‘catch-up’ lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. These short, sharp lessons last 10 minutes and take place at least three times a week.


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 on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’
    • 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 Year 2, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.


Home reading

  • The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
    • Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.
    • We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.


Additional reading support for vulnerable children

  • Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.


Ensuring consistency and pace of progress

  • Every teacher and teaching assistant in EYFS and KS1 has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
  • Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
  • Lesson templates, Prompt cards and ‘How to’ videos ensure staff all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
  • The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.


Ensuring reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)


We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.


  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Grenoside and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • Children from Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • The school library is made available for classes to use at protected times. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc.).




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 class to identify children needing Keep-up support
    • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
  • Summative assessment is used:
    • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
    • by the Phonics and Early Reading Leader and SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.


Statutory assessment

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

Ongoing assessment for catch-up

  • Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as through the half-termly Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised summative assessments.


Children at Grenoside will become confident and fluent readers and writers due to focussed phonics teaching. Those children who are cognitively able with become proficient in reading and understanding text. They will apply their skills of decoding to read unfamiliar words by segmenting and blending, and will have a good level of understanding of what they read. This will allow the readers to make predictions, find and retrieve facts and information from text, apply skills in inference to answer questions and summarise what they have read.  For those children who have barriers to learning or significant special educational needs, the school will aim to develop strategies for them to become readers. The highly skilled SENCO, who specialises in supporting children with dyslexia, will support learners by supporting teachers to set individual phonics targets for children, in order to make steps towards the goal of reading. 



All discrete phonics sessions should follow the clear sequence of: 

For the order in which grapheme phoneme correspondences are taught please see the document ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised 2021: Programme Progression’. Weekly planning and planning templates are provided by Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised and followed and adapted using the teacher’s professional judgement.

Good practice in Phonics sessions

  • Cued articulation can be used alongside the teaching of sounds to work towards a multisensory approach – encouraging children to look carefully at the lips and mouths of teacher to say the sound clearly. (Mirrors may also be used for children to watch their own mouths forming the sounds.) http://www.soundsforliteracy.co.uk/cued-articulation.html#development


  • Correct vocabulary should be used when teaching phonics (further terminology available via Little Wandle website):
  • - phoneme - the sound that a letter makes
  • - grapheme - how the sound is represented on paper
  • - digraph - two letters together that make one sound
  • - trigraph - three letters together that make one sound
  • - segment - splitting words into separate phonemes
  • - blend - joining the sounds together as a whole word
  • - decode - the ability to segment and blend
  • - tricky words - the words that must be learnt fluently as they are not yet decodable


  • The large picture cards and mnemonics are used to introduce any new graphemes.


  • Flash cards should be used to teach sounds and develop reading of words – sounds buttons and lines used to support children when reading digraphs and trigraphs.


  • The pupil involvement of all pupils should be maximised in each session to promote engagement with learning. This can be done by:
  • - All the class reading sounds together
  • - The whole group segmenting and blending to read words together
  • - Paired reading of sentences before whole class re-read



Phonics Phases:

Year Group


Age Related Expectations for End of Summer Term



Phase 4 secure



Phase 5 secure and passed phonics screening




All phonics secure and embedded


Reading Books


Year Group 

At Age Related Expectations

Above Age Related Expectations



Phase 4 Set 1


Phase 4 Set 2 or above


Phase 5 Set 4


Phase 5 Set 5 or above




KS1 Free Reader


Free Reader accessing any texts – library, class library etc.