Phonics & Reading

At St Francis School, we have adopted the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised’ Phonics Programme (April 2022). The programme has been validated by the DfE and is an approved programme which provides effective systematic and synthetic teaching of phonics.


Learners who are on the Phonics Reading Pathway at St Francis will follow Little Wandles Phonics. Learners will have daily phonics lessons/keep up sessions as well as the Little Wandle reading practice sessions which are taught three times per week.


Phonics Lessons

Phonics lessons are taught for approximately 10-30 minutes each day and this is built up over a period of time depending on the learner’s needs and ability. When sessions are for 10 minutes, there will also be additional opportunities for daily oral blending games in other aspects of the curriculum.


Phonics ‘Keep-up’ Sessions

Any child who needs additional practice has daily ‘keep-up’ support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.


Reading Practice Sessions

Children need to be given regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned by reading fully decodable books. The phonic progression in these books must match the progression of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. It is advisable that reading practice sessions take place at least three times a week. Each reading practice session needs to have 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 3 key reading skills:

  • Decoding
  • Prosody – reading with meaning, stress and intonation
  • Comprehension – understanding the text

Ensuring Consistency and Pace of Progress

  • Every teacher delivering Phonics within our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
  • Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
  • Lesson templates, Prompt cards and ‘How to’ videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
  • The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.


Ensuring Reading for Pleasure

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.


  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at St Francis School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures.
  • In a Semi-Formal classroom, children who are able to, will read on a daily basis, reinforcing their phonics skills and fluency.
  • Children on a Semi-Formal Pathway have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school regarding a child’s reading.
  • As our children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • Children have open access to a library area within school where they can exchange their home reading books


‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’

(OECD 2002)



Reading  School Policy

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