Burnley Brow Phonics and Early Reading

Reading is at the heart of the curriculum

“This school is determined that every pupil will learn to read regardless of their backgrounds, needs or abilities. All pupils, including the weakest readers, make sufficient progress to meet or exceed age-related expectations.”  Ofsted 2019, School Inspection Handbook


Phonics for reading and spelling

At Burnley Brow, we want all of our children to become fluent readers and confident writers. Children in Nursery spend time developing the foundations for phonics using the seven aspects of Phase One and the Tune in for Talking programme. Reading and spelling is taught using the systematic synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. We start the formal teaching of phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to use their phonics skills to decode any unfamiliar words as they read. At Burnley Brow, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.



As a school, we value reading as an important life skill and use Bug Club decodable books alongside the phonics scheme. By the time children leave us, we expect them to be able to read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose. Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. The Reading Leader is highly experienced at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.


Foundations for Phonics in Nursery

In Nursery, we provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the curriculum expectations for ‘Communication and language’ and ‘Literacy’. Children are given opportunities to share high-quality stories and poems. They learn a range of nursery rhymes, action rhymes and familiar stories. Children take part in the ‘Tune into Talking’ programme which develops all aspects of Phase One Phonics. They have lots of opportunities to develop their listening and attention skills and explore making sounds with their voices. Children spend time developing their oral segmenting and blending skills so that they are prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in Reception.

Phonics in Reception and Year 1

We teach phonics for 25 to 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons twice a day, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. At the end of each week, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.

Children make a strong start in Reception. Phonics teaching begins in Week 3 of the Autumn term. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:

· Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.

· Children in Year 1 review Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

In all Phonics lessons, we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised lesson plans. These lessons follow a similar structure and contain familiar activities to ensure that lessons are quick-paced with the focus placed on phonics. Lessons are delivered using agreed routines, mantras, resources and actions to prevent cognitive overload.

· We use the phrase ‘my turn, your turn’ when giving direct instructions.

· If we are introducing new phonemes to children for the first time, we use set mantras to help them remember these.

· When orally blending, we segment words using our phonics fingers before swiping across them to blend.

· When blending to read we point to each phoneme and then swipe underneath.

· Before the children read the focus sentence for the lesson, they are asked to look for words containing the phoneme for the sessions along with any other digraphs, trigraphs or tricky words that they know.

· If we are segmenting words for writing, we use our phonics fingers to segment before swiping across to blend.

· Only Little Wandle resources are displayed and used within all phonics lessons.

Additional Keep-Up Sessions

We want all children to make expected progress in Phonics and want to ensure they ‘keep up and not catch up’ so that they all learn to read. If a child is identified as falling behind in their phonics learning, then daily keep-up sessions are put in place to address this using agreed planning and materials from Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but are in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their phonics learning.

Phonics in Year 2

In Year 2, Phonics lessons continue for those children who are not fully fluent in their reading and for those who have not yet met the required standard in the Phonics Screening Check. Additional practice sessions using the Little Wandle keep-up materials are planned as these children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. For those children that are fully fluent readers, time is spent learning the spelling rules from the English National Curriculum for Year 2.

Key Stage Two Phonics

For those children in Year 3 who have not yet passed the Phonics Screening Check, we timetable daily Phonics lessons using the Little Wandle Rapid Catch Up materials as they urgently need to catch up. These materials are also used with other children in KS2 who still need to address gaps in their phonic knowledge.


Children are given opportunities to practise their independent phonic application by reading decodable books which are matched to the phase and phonemes they are working on. In Early Years and Key Stage One, all children are expected to read with an adult at least twice a week either individually or as part of a guided reading group. Children who have been identified as working within the lowest 20% of each class will read daily whilst those working below age-related expectations will read at least three times a week. In addition, Reading Ambassadors work with children in Reception and Year 1 to provide extra support and to help them to develop a love of reading.

Guided reading begins in Reception during the spring term for those children who are blending confidently. In guided reading sessions, children focus on developing the skills of decoding, comprehension and prosody. Prior to reading books, it is important that phonemes and tricky words which are relevant to the text will need to be recapped. Unknown vocabulary is also introduced and explored with the children in order to support their understanding of the text.

All guided reading sessions follow an agreed structure to ensure consistency in teaching and to prevent cognitive overload in children. (See Appendix 1)

Reading books are sent home which are closely matched to the phonemes that they are confidently working on in class. Children will also take home an interest book which they can share with parents so that we develop their love of reading. It is important when sending books home that parents are clear which book the child needs to read independently and which book is for sharing.



Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it. In every lesson, assessment for learning is used to identify children who need additional keep up sessions so that they continue to make progress. At the end of each week, there is a review lesson. During review lessons, gaps can be identified so that these can be addressed immediately to secure fluency of GPC’s, word reading and spelling.

At the end of every half-term, children are assessed using the Little Wandle assessment materials and their responses are recorded on a whole class assessment grids. These assessments grids are used to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed for the cohort, class, groups and individuals using the Little Wandle Keep-Up Materials.

Teachers are asked to record children’s attainment in phonics at the end of each half-term on the school’s assessment system O’ Track. Assessments are recorded in the following way:


Phase __ (Select number of phase they are working on) Children are working at the beginning of that phase.

Phase ___+ Children are working within that phase.

Phase ___++ Children are working securely within that phase.


All assessments are scrutinised by the Phonics Lead and other members of the SLT to ensure that children remain on track to achieve end of year expectations. Attainment gaps for different groups of children are also identified so that these can be narrowed and additional support for teachers can be put in place.

New Arrivals The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised placement assessment is used with any child new to the school to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge so that we can plan and provide appropriate extra teaching. For children who are new arrivals within Year 2 and KS2 the Little Wandle Rapid Catch Up assessment and teaching and learning materials.

Statutory Assessments

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.


Monitoring and Evaluation

The Phonics Lead is responsible for carrying out regular monitoring activities to ensure consistency in the teaching and learning of phonics. Data is scrutinised half-termly to identify those children who are on-track towards attaining end of year expectations and those who are vulnerable so that actions can be put in place to address this. Lessons are observed regularly to ensure fidelity to Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Areas of strength in relation to the teaching of phonics are identified along with areas for improvement. When areas for development are identified, these are addressed through individual coaching with the phonics lead or through staff development sessions. Weekly staff practice sessions are delivered by the phonics lead. During these sessions, staff practise delivering different elements of phonics lesson to secure consistency in phonics teaching across school. Reports of all monitoring and evaluation activities are submitted on a termly basis.





















Appendix 1

Structure of Guided Reading Sessions

Session Structure

1 Introduce the book to the children. Read the title together and use the information on the cover to make simple predictions about what the text will be about. Look through the book focusing on the illustrations and ‘book talk’ what the children think is happening. Introduce phonemes on cards that will be covered in the book. Ensure children recognise these phonemes and place them in the centre. Practise reading words from the book using my turn/your turn that contain these phonemes, modelling how to segment and blend as needed. Show children tricky words that will be found in this book and practise reading. Place these in the centre. Display any unfamiliar vocabulary from the text and discuss the meaning of each word with the children. Support understanding of this vocabulary with images. Children are to the independently read the book at their own pace. Adult is to rotate around all children listening to them read ensuring that they are applying their reading and phonic skills correctly. Ask simple retrieval questions based on the text.

2 Look at the book from session 1 again. Using the cards, recap phonemes from the book and practise reading words from the text which contain these. Recap tricky words that are found in the book and the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary. Model reading the book to the children focusing on prosody. Show children how to use expression and intonation appropriately. Children are to then re-read the book focusing on developing fluency and expression within their reading. Adult is to rotate around all children listening to them read and supporting them to develop these skills. Explore children’s understanding of the book using retrieval, inference/ deduction, prediction, ma