Reading and Phonics Information

Phonics and Spelling

St Mary’s follows the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ programme for teaching phonics and early reading. Phonics is taught in discrete daily lessons and is continually reinforced in English and Guided reading sessions. Phonics activities are focused, engaging and consistent to ensure all learners are participating and making progress

Children in the EYFS take part in a range of activities aimed at developing their listening skills. Grapheme-phoneme correspondence is introduced and children are taught the process of segmenting and blending to enable them to read and write simple words.

Year 1 is a foundation year for both reading and spelling, with children being taught important spelling patterns and exception words as well as how split digraphs work. They will learn both digraphs (sounds made by two letters, such as ‘ee’ or ‘ir’) and trigraphs (sounds made by three letters, such as ‘igh’ and ‘tch’). They will look at how the same sounds can be made by different groups of letters, for example: oy and oi (as in ‘toy’ and ‘coin’)

Children will also be taught ‘common exception words’. These are words commonly found in the English language, but which do not follow the phonic rules that have been taught so far. Examples of these in Year 1 are: ‘were’, ‘once’, ‘school’, ‘house’.

In Year 2 a more formal spelling programme is introduced. Children continue to develop their phonological awareness, as well as taking a more in-depth look at rules and patterns within different words. For example, they may look at one particular sound and then see how it is represented in different words. Children will also learn another group of common exception words. Examples of these in Year 2 are: ‘sugar’ and ‘eye’.



The Early Years Foundation Stage use Collins Big Cat reading books which are closely matched to the children’s phonic ability. These texts include only previously taught letter sounds and a small number of appropriate exception words.

Year 1/2

In Key Stage 1 the children continue to be taught using Collins Big Cat phonically decodable texts; moving on to Little Wandle Fluency books when appropriate. These short chapter books continue to closely match the children’s phonic level whilst also developing their fluency and comprehension skills.

Children read to a teacher in small groups three times per week. The reading practice sessions focus on three key reading skills:

  • Decoding
  • Prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
  • Comprehension: teaching children to understand the text practice sessions

Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2 a wide variety of banded books are used for those children that still require a structured level of reading. They are supplemented with class reading materials in each classroom. The children then choose from a wide variety of reading materials in their classrooms, with some books sourced from Winsford Education Library.