Open Mobile Menu


Phonics is the key to reading and writing and provides children with the skills needed to read and write independently. When learning phonics, children are taught the sounds and how to match them to letters. Children are then taught to blend these sounds together in order to read words. This skill is essential when reading unfamiliar words and then when reading independently.

At Rushbrook we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds to teach letter sounds, letter formation and blending from Reception upwards.

Phonics in Nursery

Phonics sessions in Nursery will support the children’s listening ability, focusing on phase 1 phonics and discriminating between sounds. Each class has a wise owl and monkey to help them sound out and blend them together in order to read.

They are taught to:

• Discriminate and recognise everyday sounds, such as transport noises and animal sounds

• Recognise alliteration (where the initial sound is the same)

• Recognise rhyme and say the words that rhyme to continue the rhyming string.

Phonics in Reception

In Reception, the children are taught the sounds and their corresponding letters using Little Wandle phonics scheme.

The children will learn to:

• Orally blend the words, putting the sounds together they can hear to create the word.

• Blend the letters in words in order to read them. For example, c-a-t = cat

• Read simple sentences containing these words.

• Begin to recognise digraphs (two letters that make a sound, such as sh, ay, ee) and trigraphs (three letters than make the sound such as igh) and read words and sentences containing these.

As the children work their way through the program, they are then able to read longer and more complex sentences, talking with others about what they have read to demonstrate their understanding. The program also teaches the children how to write the letters, and each letter has a rhyme to accompany it. The children are taught to segment the sounds they can hear in the words in order to write them, building up to writing short sentences.

Phonics in Year 1

When children reach Key Stage 1 they continue their phonics journey with the same approach across school using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds.

Phonics is taught twice daily as a whole class, as well as additional Phonics Interventions for children who require a catch up due to misconceptions or absence from school.

Children will have a key focus on words with digraphs, trigraphs and split digraphs as well as being introduced to pseudo words otherwise known as nonsense or alien words. The children learn to use this terminology and to apply into their learning. The weekly spelling homework matches the previous taught phonemes as well as Year 1 Common Exception words. These are tested each Friday.

Each session children will revisit, read, learn and write the new phoneme taught and apply it in context by writing a sentence.


Children are taught to recognise sounds on their own, read them within words and then within sentences. They are assessed each half term to ensure any missed learning by a child can be picked up and they can be placed in an intervention group.

At the end of Year 1, children complete the statutory phonics screening check, which is a simple test made up of 40 real and not real (pseudo) words. This test is done 1:1 with an adult and takes approximately 10 minutes per child to complete. This test assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through EYFS and Year 1. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in Phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital reading skill.

Phonics throughout school

After children finish Year 1, phonics remains a key part of our teaching and continues to stay at the forefront of children’s learning of English. Little Wandle is continued in the Autumn term of Year 2 with additional spelling and grammar activities. Any children who did not pass the phonics assessment at the end of Year 1 will take part in daily phonics interventions and then retake the assessment in Year 2. For children who need additional support with their phonics throughout school, they will take part in intense intervention groups picking up on misconceptions at the earliest point. We use a combination of the Little Wandle scheme and Phonics For Pupils With Special Educational Needs—Building Basics by Ann Sullivan.

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds

For more information about Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and videos to help your child learn from home, please visit the website:

Proud to part of the Bright Futures Education Trust
Rushbrook Primary Academy
101 Shillingford Road
Gorton, Manchester M18 7TN