St Stephen's Infant School

St Stephen's Infant School

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St Stephen's Infant School

  1. Learning
  2. Phonics

Phonics at St Stephen's

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised

We use the phonics program Little Wandle, which provides a rigid progression framework of lessons that support children in making rapid progress towards becoming fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1.

We have purchased hundreds of new books for individual reading and for groups. We assess all the children every 6 weeks and plan Keep-up groups for those who need support.

We also match the children's reading books to their level so that they can read 90-95% of the words fluently (or by sounding out.) This means that the children are successful when reading, so this boosts their confidence and enjoyment!  

Each week, 4 sounds are taught and Friday is a review day. Your child will be given a home learning sheet every two weeks so you can practise phonics at home.

  • Children are taught the single sounds of the alphabet first and then digraphs, which are two letters that make one sound. Some examples of these are;
  • ‘ch’ in chop
  • ‘sh’ in shed
  • ‘ee’ in bee
  • Note- ‘oo’ makes two sounds i.e. book, moon

There are also ‘trigraphs’ which are 3 letters which make one sound. i.e ‘ear’ in hear, ‘igh’ in night.

(See the progression sheet for Reception and Year below)

When we teach children to read a new word we use dots and dashes to help them spot single sounds and digraphs or trigraphs, which helps them blend the word.

We use Little Wandle resources in our Phonics lessons and each class has a frieze, sound mats and a 'Grow the Code' chart to support the children's learning. We link the graphemes to an image and use a caption to help children remember them. The children are very enthusiastic about the pictures and enjoy learning the new captions.

There is a clear progression which we follow and we use 'keep-up' sessions based on regular assessment to ensure children make excellent progress in Phonics. 

Click here to see the Reception and Year 1 programme progression

 Ph 2-5 sound mats.pdfDownload
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To support your child at home, please follow this link;


 Here is the Little Wandle Grow the Code chart; 

At the end of Year 1, children take part in a Phonics Screening Check. 

Here is some information about it. We have a workshop for parents on Tuesday 30th January 9-10am in the hall.

  Phonics Screening Check

             Information for Parents/Carers

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write.

The Phonics Screening Check is a statutory reading check that Y1 children take in June. The check is designed to see whether your child has made the expected progress in phonics.

The Phonics Screening Check tests children’s skills in;

  • Decoding (recognising the sounds in a word and saying them.)
  • Segmenting (breaking down a word into individual sounds or digraphs/trigraphs.)
  • Blending (hearing the sounds together to form a whole word.)

Your child will complete the check during the week beginning Monday 10th June 2024. The check consists of 40 words that the children have to read without assistance. Half of the words are ‘real’ words and half are ‘alien’ words. Alien words such as ‘steck’, are used to check if your child can decode unfamiliar words using their phonic knowledge.

Your child will sit in a quiet place with their class teacher to take the check, it takes around 10 minutes. We will decide if your child needs any adaptations such as expanding the size of the print, using a coloured overlay, having a break or using braille materials to support them.

In previous Phonics Checks the children have had to score 32/40 to meet the ‘pass threshold’. Every year the Department for Education reviews the threshold score and it could change, we will find this out later in Term 6.

Your child’s score will be communicated to you in their end year report.

If children do not meet the pass threshold in Y1 they have a second attempt in June of Y2.  Rest assured we work hard to ensure all children are fully supported on their journey to becoming a confident, fluent reader.