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Philosophy and approach

The systematic teaching of phonics has a very high priority throughout the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and beyond. At Cornerstone Schools we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through phonics children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words.

What you will see in phonics lessons

We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be carefully sequenced, progressive and consistent in EYFS and KS1 across all four Cornerstone Schools.

Children in pre-school work on Phase One phonics, which concentrates on developing their speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2.

As children move into Reception and then KS1 they continue to build on their listening skills and are introduced to Phase 2-6. They have discrete, daily 30 minute phonics sessions where they revise previous learning, are taught new graphemes/phonemes, practise together and apply what they have learnt. Children work through the different phases and as they grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound.

Any child who needs additional practice has daily keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. All teaching staff, learning support assistants and senior leaders in our Cornerstone Schools have been fully trained in the delivery of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.

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 children, using books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge. 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

At the Cornerstone Schools, we are passionate about ensuring all our pupils are given plenty of opportunity to read for pleasure and develop a lifelong love of reading. It is for this reason that all our early readers will bring home a Read to Me book which is a text chosen by the child for sharing, enjoyment, engagement and togetherness. Our Read to Me books have been carefully curated by staff in order to promote a love of literature and embed a rich literary base within school. Pupils are free to change these books as many times as they want.

The decodable reading practice book from the reading sessions in school is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.


Phonics and Early Reading Policy

Progression overview Reception

Progression overview Year 1

Glossary of Little Wandle terminology



Through the consistent, systematic and daily teaching of phonics our children become fluent, confident readers by the end of Key Stage One.


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
  • 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.


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
    • the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds placement assessment
    • the appropriate half-termly assessments.


The way we prioritise phonics and early reading ensures children move through school with a passion for reading and with increasing comprehension and fluency skills.


Useful documents to support your child at home:

Phase 2 Pronunciation Guide 1

Phase 2 Pronunciation Guide 2

Phase 3 Grapheme Information Sheet


Videos to support parents and carers

Phase 2 sounds taught in Reception Autumn 1, Autumn 2

Phase 3 sounds taught in Reception Spring 1

Follow the link https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/resources/for-parents/ and click on the tab ‘Support for phonics’.


A guide to Alien words

How to teach tricky words

How to teach blending

Follow the link https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk/resources/for-parents/ and click on the tab ‘How we teach’.




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