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St John the Baptist Primary School

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Phonics & Reading

Early Reading in EYFS & KS1


Our chosen systematic synthetic phonics scheme is Little Wandle. The scheme starts in Reception and runs through KS1, with all children beginning at the same point with the view that all children keep up and learn to read at the same rate.  


Our phonics journey begins as soon as our children join us in nursery. To lay the foundations of phonics and to develop an early love of books, our nursery children are exposed to a range of nursery rhymes and stories. Children are encouraged to vocalise different sounds by teaching them to recognise and make common animal sounds, voice sounds, instrumental sounds and environmental sounds, such as vehicle sounds. The use of familiar stories, with repetition, encourages children to join in with known, predictable phrases, develops alliteration and rhyming stings and patterns. The concept of 'sequence' is introduced through children sequencing and retelling simple events from familiar stories. Children are asked simple questions to introduce retrieval and early inference skills. Through these sessions we build up the children's stamina to sit, focus and listen, in preparation for more formal sessions phonic teaching in Reception. 


When children move to Reception, more formal phonics sessions take place using our chosen scheme of 'Little Wandle'. Our aim is that children are ready to start these sessions within the first few weeks of Reception. As well as these daily, focussed sessions, our continuous provision promotes phonic practice through games. Through reading a range of books, children are encouraged to make links between their lives and other texts, as well as expressing their opinions. The early skills of sequence, retrieval and inference are built upon though questioning and exploring storylines. Children are encouraged to take their knowledge of stories and books and apply it to their independent play.  


In KS1, our phonics programme continues, with keep up and catch up sessions when needed. Our Little Wandle reading sessions complement the phonic sessions. We aim that, by the end of KS1, children are  confident in their phonic ability and are becoming fluent readers. When children are ready to come off the programme, they are taught using the VIPERS model in preparation for KS2.


To ensure our phonics teaching is accessible to all children, some children may access Little Wandle SEND, which follows a graduated approach to teaching phonics. 



Little Wandle - Reading at home


It is important that children achieve success in their reading, therefore the books your child brings home will be exactly matched to the sounds and tricky words they have already been taught and are currently learning. This means your child can read the book, practice their learning and feel confident in their ability to read fluently. You can help your child with their reading by listening to them read their book at home, ideally 3 times per week.


Your child will bring home two reading books. The first book is from our reading scheme and is matched to their phonetic ability so they can successfully read the book. The other book is a 'Love to Read' book which has a red love heart sticker on the book. We ask that an adult  shares this book with your child to develop their enjoyment of stories, vocabulary and that you both enjoy this special time.  


You can find more information and parent help and videos at

Here you will also find videos on how to pronounce each phoneme - this is fundamental to children being successful readers. 


To help your child to apply their phonics in their reading, when they come across a word they are struggling with, we use the following strategies in school:



If you have any questions about how we teach phonics or the books your child is bringing home, please ask your child's class teacher.

Reading in KS2


In KS2, our focus is continuing to develop a love of reading and exposing children to high quality texts through their reading book and our English teaching. We embed and further develop reading comprehension skills. We are developing our use of VIPERS to teach the children these skills. We aim that children complete Little Wandle phonics by the end of KS1; however, we recognise that some children may still need to continue with a phonics intervention into Lower Key Stage 2.



Reading at home in KS2


Children will take home a staged reading book, as well as a free choice book. At home, please keep listening to your children read for as long as possible. We recognise that as children get older, they are are more likely to want to read independently. You can still help by asking them to tell you about what they have read - asking about the storyline and characters. The BBC website has 6 'Learner Guides' to understanding comprehension.

The VIPERS bookmarks will be sent home to help you with the types of question to ask your child.

We love to read


In school we foster a love of reading and provide activities above and beyond the classroom lessons to promote books and reading:


  • ERIC time - children can choose any book they love and get themselves comfortable and cosy in their favourite place to read in the classroom - including the teachers chair! This happens daily in Reception and KS1, then weekly on a Friday in KS2.
  • 'Recommended Read' books - we are just introducing Mrs Coe, Miss Irwin and Mrs Elliman's books we know children will love to read. There are stations in EYFS, KS1 and KS2 where children can borrow a book to take home to read or share - we hope they will love it as much as we hope and tell their friends! 
  • Richard Drake, from Drake's Bookshop, visits school regularly to share his recommended books and enthuse children about reading. 
  • Visits from the Library Bus and visits to the local library.
  • Annual Book Fair.
  • £1 Book Shop on a Friday in school.
  • Beanstalk reading volunteers.



Everyone Different, Everyone Loved