Little Wandle - Phonics
Little Wandle Phonics at Lowerhouses
We are a Little Wandle Phonics school! We operate the ‘Little Wandle’ Phonics programme designed by Little Sutton and Wandle English Hubs and taken forward by Little Sutton Primary School and Wandle Learning Trust in partnership with other phonics and early reading experts. Little Sutton and the Wandle English Hubs have developed a highly effective Letters and Sounds approach over recent years, with Phonics screening check results consistently amongst the top five per cent in the country. At Lowerhouses, we are dedicated to ensuring that each and every one of our children learns to read with accuracy and confidence. We believe that the ‘Little Wandle’ programme allows us to do this, as well as allowing us to support you in fostering a love of reading in your child that will last a lifetime.
At the core of the programme is the lively and vigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Children learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and how to sound-blend words for reading (decoding) at the same time as developing handwriting skills and spelling (encoding).
The children have the pleasure of reading exciting storybooks perfectly matched to their level – so that they have early success in reading. The children follow a structured programme of reading and writing activities in groups tailored to their level of learning. All staff that deliver the programme at Lowerhouses have been trained in the delivery of this programme.
Children are assessed regularly, and if required are placed in groups depending on the level of support needed. They are then assessed regularly through lessons and formally at the end of each half term. Children that are receiving any additional interventions (catch up or one to one) are assessed every 3 to 4 weeks. This ensures that the children are making progress and are receiving teaching suited to their ability. Tight tracking by a reading lead is in place to ensure that progress is being made.
After the children have read their book 3 times in school, they will bring their book home to continue practising their fluency and share their love of the book with you. To support your child reading their new book, use the information located on the back of the front and back covers. Please find some examples below:
In Nursery, we work hard to ensure that the children can:
- Differentiate between environmental sounds i.e. naming the sound they can hear without seeing the object that made it
- Effectively explore body percussion i.e. clapping, stamping etc.
- Find rhyming words i.e. cat, mat, sat, bat
- Hear the initial sound sin words when they are spoken i.e. ‘t’ in ‘tin’ or ‘c’ in ‘can’
- Verbally blend and segment i.e. If I say ‘c-a-t’ they can say ‘cat’ or if I say ‘bin’ they can say ‘b-i-n’
This ensures that they have all of the basic skills in place in order to help them to become effective readers.
As they move in to Reception, children will begin to be provided with books relevant to the sounds they are learning in school. The progression of 'Little Wandle' phases are as follows:
- Phase 2
- Phase 3
- Phase 4
- Phase 5
In the Autumn term, Lowerhouses Staff will hold parent workshops to support you in helping you with your child’s Phonics at home. It’s of paramount importance that we;
- Pronounce all sounds correctly
- Share a story every day together
There’s a wealth of sessions available online. The Little Wandle website has lots of resources and links to support your child at home. They are available at:
They also have full lessons on YouTube.
We would urge you to watch these as often as possible to keep them fresh in your mind.
As parents, it’s important to make sure that we understand the key terms in phonics so that we can carry on the good work our child has done at school at home!
Blend: this is when you say the individual sounds that make up a word and then merge or blend them together to say the word as used when reading.
Consonant: most letters of the alphabet are consonants, except for the vowels: a,e,i,o,u.
CVC Words: this is an abbreviation used for consonant-vowel-consonant words. It describes the order of sounds. Some examples of CVC words are: cat, pen, top, chat (because ch makes one sound).
Other similar abbreviations include:
- VC (Vowel Consonant) words e.g. on, is, it.
- CCVC (Consonant, Consonant, Vowel, Consonant) words e.g. trap and black.
- CVCC (Consonant, Vowel, Consonant, Consonant) words e.g. milk and fast.
Digraph: this describes two letters which together make one sound e.g. ee, oa, ea, ch, ay. There are different types of digraph:
- Vowel digraph: a digraph in which at least one of the letters is a vowel: boat or day.
- Consonant digraph: two consonants which can go together: shop or thin.
- Split digraph (previously called magic e): two letters, which work as a pair to make one sound, but are separated within the word e.g. a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e. For example cake or pine.
Grapheme: it’s a written letter or a group of letters which represent one single sound (phoneme) e.g. a, l, sh, air, ck.
Phoneme: it’s a single sound that can be made by one or more letters – e.g. s, k, z, oo, ph, igh.
Pure Sound: it’s the skill of pronouncing each letter sound clearly and distinctly without adding additional sounds to the end e.g. ‘f’ not ‘fuh.’
Segment: it’s the opposite of blending as it means splitting a word up into individual sounds when spelling and writing.
Tricky Words: they’re the words that are difficult to sound out e.g. said, the, because which don’t follow phonics rules.
High Frequency Words: high frequency words are those which appear most often in the language – many are also common exception words (e.g. ‘I’, ‘the’, ‘you’). Children are taught to learn these words by sight in order to increase the Fluency of their reading.
Common Exception Words: common exception words are words in which the English Spelling code works in an unusual or uncommon way. They are not words for which phonics ‘doesn’t work’, but they may be exceptions to spelling rules, or words which use a particular combination of letters to represent sound patterns in a rare or unique way.
Trigraph: this is when three letters go together to make one sound e.g. ear, air, igh, dge, tch.
Vowel: the letters a, e, i, o, u.
Please find the 'Key Mantras' we use when teaching the Little Wandle programme.