Phonics and Reading

Reading is one of the most important skills that children will ever acquire. In the National Curriculum, reading is integral to ‘the teaching of every subject’ and gives children ‘a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually’.

At Stanwix 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.


In Reception and Year 1, our pupils are taught Phonics for around 20 minutes each day. We also support any children who need additional practise with short Keep Up Sessions throughout the week.
The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home.

Find our full teaching programme overview here : Programme Overview Reception & Year 1

Resources to support your child at home:
Click here to access videos to show you how to pronounce the sounds. Choose the “Support for Phonics” tab. Notice how the children don’t add an ‘uh’ sound at the end, so they say: ‘t’ not ‘tuh’. Use the downloadable information to help your child remember how to write their letters and say their sounds.

To find out how we teach phonics lessons in school, click here and select the “How We Teach” tab.

Rapid Catch-Up
Phonics teaching continues into Year 2 and KS2 for any children who need more time to develop their phonic knowledge and reading fluency. To ensure that our Phonics teaching matches the needs of these older children, we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Rapid Catch-Up Programme and use matched reading books written especially for children who are aged seven or above.

Reading Practice Sessions
We ensure that our early readers build their confidence, fluency and develop a love of reading as soon as they start school. In Reception, children are taught positive reading behaviours by using wordless books until they are able blend and read simple words. Then, by using books which are part of the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Programme, we know that our pupils are reading a story which is exactly matched to their current phonic knowledge.

Reading practice sessions are:

  • Timetabled throughout the week
  • Taught by a trained teacher or teaching assistant.
  • Taught in small groups.

Children will read the same book throughout the week to develop their fluency and confidence. The first time, we work on decoding (sounding out) the words; the second time, we focus on prosody (which is reading with expression and using our storyteller or David Attenborough voice); and finally, we look at comprehension.

Children in Reception, Year 1, some Year 2 and some junior children will bring home two types of reading book:

  1. The reading practice book: Collins Big Cat Phonics for Little Wandle:

Your child should be able to read this fluently and independently. This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current phonic stage based on recent assessments and they have practised reading it in school. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it is ‘too easy’; your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise and celebrate their success! If they cannot read a word, read it to them. After they have finished reading, talk about the book together.

This symbol will be on the back of your child’s reading practice book:


2. Sharing books: for example, Oxford Reading Tree, Songbirds, Bug Club or Library book:

If children are to become lifelong readers, it is essential that they are encouraged to read for pleasure. To help foster a love of reading, children will choose a book to share and enjoy with you at home. Please note, there is no expectation for your child to read this book independently. The book is for you to read to or with your child. Again, it is good to talk to your child about the book. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters and explore facts in non-fiction books. The main thing is that you have fun!

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

Click here for more information about how you can support your child when they are reading at home. Click the “Books Coming Home” tab and watch the informative video.

Reading After Little Wandle

Once our pupils have completed the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Programme, we continue to develop their fluency and comprehension skills through weekly Shared Reading and Guided Reading lessons.

Shared Reading lessons take place with the whole class and focus on teaching the key skills needed for comprehension. A challenging text is used as the teacher aids understanding by reading aloud and modelling their thinking processes. Lots of opportunities are provided for the children to discuss the text and promote essential skills for good reading.

Guided Reading lessons are taught by a teacher or teaching assistant once a week. A small group of similar ability children explore a text which is slightly harder than we would expect them to read independently. These lessons provide a chance for children to practise the skills needed for comprehension and fluency, and to engage in focussed discussions.

We also provide our pupils with a wide choice of books to read independently at school and at home. These books follow a colour band system to indicate their level of difficulty. We encourage all parents and carers to have a positive approach to reading and nurture this at home by reading together regularly – at least three times a week.

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is encouraged in many ways at Stanwix School as summarised below.

Author Profile

Each term, a different author / poet is used as a focus to encourage pupils to read more widely. Pupils may find out about the writer’s life and achievements, and we will provide a range of books for the children to enjoy.


Each Year 1 child is paired with a Year 6 Buddy who helps them to learn high frequency words. Each week they meet to practise spelling their set of words and share a story together.

School Library

We are very lucky to have a fantastic Library in school! Children are allowed to borrow books during lunchtime to enjoy at home. A group of very helpful Year 6 Librarians help to run these sessions.

Reading Records

We use Reading Records to monitor reading at home on a weekly basis and reward the children with Team Points. At Stanwix School, we expect pupils to read a minimum of three times a week and record this with a signature from an adult.

Author Visits

We regularly invite local authors to come into school and inspire our pupils.

Most recently, we had lots of exciting visitors during our school cluster Literacy Festival in June.

Themed Days

We love to celebrate World Book Day by dressing up as our favourite book characters and talking all about the best authors!

Book Fair

Every year we hold a brilliant book fair in the school hall. Children and parents/carers can buy books at a great price and raise money for school to spend on the Scholastic website.

Music & Drama Festival

The Festival is a highlight in our school calendar! Performance poetry is a key area where we excel and many children from across KS1 and KS2 take part.

Carlisle Library

Our Reception pupils thoroughly enjoy visiting our local library for a story time session.

Whole School Story

This year, to celebrate National Storytelling Week, we are promoting a story across the whole school and encouraging our pupils and families to enjoy the story together in lots of ways.