Clanfield Church of England Primary School

Early Reading & Phonics

Reading lies at the heart of the curriculum at Clanfield CE School. We are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers and it is our intention every child at Clanfield CE School has the opportunity to love books and love reading. 


For pupils to succeed in education, reading has got to be a priority. Our aim is for all pupils- irrespective of their needs, abilities or backgrounds- to learn to read fluently, with understanding and enjoyment so that they become lifelong readers. Once children can decode effectively, we aim to build word recognition and develop comprehension skills in order to produce secure, confident, independent readers who enjoy the benefits of reading. We will let them experience all the doors learning in English opens.
We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts in Reception and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Clanfield, we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


How we teach phonics

  • In reception and Y1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
  • Phonics starts in reception in week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start.
  • By the end of reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4.
  • By the end of year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5.
  • Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible.
  • Y1 lessons are 30 minutes long.
  • In Y2-Y3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
  • In Y2-Y6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting 10 minutes in length and taking place at least three times a week.

Reading practice sessions

  • Children across reception, year 1, year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
  • These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group.
  • The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
  • The children then take the same book home the following week to ensure success is shared with the family.
  • In reception these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not decoding, do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised.

How do we assess phonic knowledge?

  • In reception and year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment).
  • Children identified in reception and Y1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
  • In reception and year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker.
  • The children in Y1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will re-sit this in Y2.
  • Children who are in Y2-Y6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.

By KS2, we expect all pupils to be ready for the whole class reading sessions which are undertaken daily. We use a VIPERS strategy to reinforce teaching of vocabulary, inference, prediction, evaluation, recall and summary. The focus here is on vocabulary development, the development of specific reading skills and immersion in a wide range of texts. These lessons use class novels as a stimulus for deeper thinking and link a range of fiction and non-fiction texts to these in order to further develop contextual knowledge and understanding.

We also promote reading for pleasure as this itself plays a major role within reading development. Each day the children will be read aloud to. This is often held before or after lunch so that it does not get missed off the busy day. Over a year, children will have access to 6 forms of text complexity in order to successfully navigate reading with confidence. These are based on Doug Lemouv 5 plagues of the developing reader. We believe, if we expose pupils to books that feature these complexities we are ensuring rigour in their reading which then prepares them for the next stage of their education. As important, each class has a well-stocked library and books are celebrated regularly with recommendations from teachers sent home in weekly newsletters. Our reading environment also promotes the whole school love of reading. 

Click on the links to see our Reading Overviews and Phonics and Early Reading progression document:

Progression Grid

Phonics Policy

Y1/2 Reading

Y3/4 Reading

Y5/6 Reading