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The Sherwood School

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Statement of Intent: Phonics and Early Reading

At The Sherwood we feel it important to encourage a love of reading from the very start and throughout children’s time at school. Children read with a teacher at least once a week, either in a Guided Reading session or individually. Throughout the school we use a range of exciting lessons to teach and nurture a love of reading and books. 

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You have the right to a good quality education. You should be encouraged to go to school to the highest level you can.


At the Sherwood we intend:

  • for children to become enthusiastic and motivated readers
  • to develop children’s confidence in reading a wide variety of genres and text types 
  • for children to have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with understanding of what they have read. 
  • to encourage a love of literature and an enjoyment of reading for pleasure 
  • to use reading to provoke thought within children.



What do we teach? What does this look like?

At The Sherwood we follow the Little Wandle “Letters and Sounds Revised” programme to teach phonics.

All children in Reception and year 1 have a 20-minute phonics session every day where they are introduced to new sounds and practise the sounds they are familiar with. In nursery children start looking at the sounds in the environment and when the children are ready they are taught phonics in small groups in discrete sessions.  In year two children focus on phase six which mostly consists of grammar and spelling. In KS2 children will have access to phonics through interventions if needed.



The impact of our teaching of phonics will ensure children:

  • are enthusiastic and motivated readers who are confident and will enjoy reading a wide variety of genres and text types
  • have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with a secure understanding of what they have read
  • be inspired by literature and will read for pleasure.

Teachers and support staff complete daily phonics assessments using formative strategies, as well as through regular monitoring activities, to record children's progress.  Assessments are made both during carpet sessions and throughout daily interactions with children. Progress is also evidenced through children's reading and writing, where progress can be seen over time.


Definition of Phonics

Phonics is the systematic teaching of the sounds, or ‘phonemes’ that accompany the written letters ‘graphemes’. It is designed to teach children to become confident and fluent readers in English.


Phonics Terms

  • Phonemes: The smallest units of sound that are found within a word
  • Grapheme: The spelling of the sound e.g. ng
  • Digraph: Two letters that make one sound (sh, oo, th)
  • Trigraphs: Three letters that make one sound (igh)
  • CVC: Stands for consonant, vowel, consonant (pig, top, sat)
  • Segmenting is breaking up a word into its sounds
  • Blending: Putting the sounds together to read a word
  • Tricky words: Words that cannot easily be decoded (the)

Little Wandle Phonics

We use the Little Wandle Phonics scheme to support pupils in school. 

Little Wandle provide advice for parents and carers on how to support your child's development of phonics.  Visit this website to find out more. We have copies of the resources at the bottom of the page to help you.

Progression in Phonics


Phonic Knowledge and skills

Phase One
(Nursery and Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks & (Throughout year 1)

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple cations.

Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks

& (Throughout year 1)

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

& (Throughout year 1)

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)

Now we move onto the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


Examples of Phonics Resources in the Early Years

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

At the end of Year 1, children will undertake the statutory Phonics Screening Check. This is a short assessment to make sure that children have learnt phonics to the required standard.


There are 40 words in the screening check which the children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of real words for example (‘dig’) and fake/alien words for example (‘splog’).  Children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read the words.

Preparation for the check takes place during daily phonics carpet times and guided reading. But, you can also help your child at home by reading and practising phonics. Please see the websites below to practise phonics at home with your child.