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English - Early Reading and Phonics

Being a Reader 


‘Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river’

Lisa See

At Charlton, it is our aim that children become fluent, confident readers and develop a love of reading.

Reading is one of the most significant ways of making a difference to children’s life chances, whatever their socio-economic background. Research shows that children who are good at reading do more of it: they learn more, expand their vocabulary and increase their ease of access to more reading. Without reading, it is impossible to access written information, on paper or online. Crucially, being unable to read significantly narrows the range of work and life opportunities a person can access.

At Charlton, we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to support our teaching of phonics and early reading.



We teach whole class phonics sessions for 30 minutes a day, and each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.

Any child who needs additional practice has daily keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up support matches 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.

Through the daily phonics sessions, children will learn a catchphrase to match the sounds which they are learning. These will be different to mantras previously used. These catchphrases become even more important when children start learning alternative spellings for the same grapheme. For example, e.g. ur curl the fur or er a bigger digger.

As children learn different spellings, they ‘grow the code’ and learn to use grapheme charts, which can be found in each classroom, to help them choose the right spelling. These will continue to be used throughout in the year.  

Common exception words or tricky words (words which cannot be decoded using phonics but are frequently used) are built into the new scheme and children are explicitly taught to apply their phonic knowledge to these words so that they can explain which parts of a word are tricky which parts are phonetically decodable and read them fluently.


Reading practice sessions

In these sessions, children are taught by a fully trained adult and fully decodable books, which are matched carefully to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments are used for the three sessions.

Each reading practice session has 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 three key reading skills:

  • decoding
  • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
  • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text

The same carefully matched book will be used by a group for the three sessions to support the children in being able to read with automaticity.

At the end of each term, children’s secure phonic knowledge will be assessed so that they are matched to the correct phase for their reading practice session.

Reading books

Reading practice books will be sent home once children have had their three reading practice sessions.  The way in which reading is taught in the practice sessions and the way in which books are carefully matched to the children means that by the time the book gets taken home, it should be extremely easy for children to read and they will likely be reading each word at a glance.

The practice book will not be fully decodable and is intended for adults to read to children- not for children to read aloud. Children may change their sharing books as regularly as they like by visiting the class library. We want to support all children in developing a love of reading and for them to continue to be motivated to read throughout their lives. Hearing books read to them is an invaluable opportunity for children to be exposed to rich vocabulary and language and to learn more about a variety of topics.

For further information about our scheme, Little Wandle, including how to videos, please visit the website:

Children who meet the standard of the phonics screening checks will be provided with a colour banded reading book to continue to support their reading. Children will be able to draw on their secure phonic knowledge to read these books and they will progress through the colour bands. Adults will regularly assess children to ascertain which colour band children should select from. This information will be shared in your child’s reading record.


Miss Rachel Smith - Phonics Lead


Charlton Primary School
OX12 7HG


01235 762861