Little Wandle at Richard Avenue Primary School

At Richard Avenue Primary School we aim for all our children to become fluent, confident readers who are passionate about reading.

Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds!

More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners.

We can achieve this together through:

  • Little Wandle, a program to help to your child read at school
  • Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily, at home and at school
  • Giving children access to a wide range of books at school and at home

At Richard Avenue Primary School we use Little Wandle Phonics to give your child the best possible start with their Literacy development. Mrs Robson is our Little Wandle Reading Lead, so if you have questions about Little Wandle, contact school who can refer you to her.

What is Little Wandle?

Little Wandle (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, at Richard Avenue Primary School we begin the programme in Reception and will continue teaching LW to children beyond the age of 7, as we use a stage not age approach. Little Wandle was developed by Wandle and Little Sutton English Hubs and taken forward by Little Sutton Primary School and Wandle Learning Trust in partnership with other phonics and early reading experts. More information on this can be found here

How will Little Wandle phonics be taught?

All children are assessed regularly by our Little Wandle lead teacher or class teacher. From these assessments, children are grouped into stages, where they work with peers on the same stage.


When appropriate, children will be introduced to the initial sounds in short five minutes sessions.

In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down.

The children:

  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
  • Learn to read words using segmenting and sound blending
  • Read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
  • Work well with partners
  • Develop comprehension skills in stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove It’ discussion questions

The children:

  • Learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
  • Learn to write words by using segmenting and blending skills
  • Learn to build sentences by practicing sentences out loud before they write

The children:

  • They work in pairs so that they:
  • Answer every question
  • Practice every activity with their partner
  • Take turns in talking and reading to each other
  • Develop ambitious vocabulary

Here is a link to the information shared during our recent open afternoon for parents in school

Progressing through the stages

Children follow the same format as Early Years but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of Little Wandle phonics last 30 minutes.

Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Little Wandle sessions:

Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about
Participation – ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning
Praise – ensure children are praised for effort and learning, not ability
Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning
Passion – be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally.

Children will be taught how to read as follows:

Before you start to teach your child, practice saying the sounds below. These are the sounds we use to speak in English. Children initially begin using pictures for each sound, this will help children recognise the sound and then form the shape of the sound.

Blending sounds to read

We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.

At school we say the sounds we can see then we use the phrase ‘blend in your head’ for the children to put the sounds together to read. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.

This link will provide you with more information about the sounds taught as well as video clips to support with this

The children are taught the sounds in 3 sets.

Step 1:
Set 1 Sounds are taught in the following order together with rhymes to help children form the letters correctly and instantly recognise sounds ready for blending.

At this stage we do not use the letter names

Use this link to support your pronunciation sounds correctly

Step 2:
The children are then taught the long vowel sounds, using pictures and rhymes to help the children to identify and remember these:

Nonsense words (Alien words)- What ‘a load’ or nonsense!

As well as learning to read and blend real words children will have plenty of opportunities to apply their sound recognition skills on reading ‘Nonsense words’. These words will also feature heavily in the Year One Phonics Screening check in the summer term. These words provide endless opportunities for children to apply and practice their thinking in a range of different contexts.

Step 3:
Within all the Little Wandle sessions/books children will be exposed to tricky words. These are words that are not able to be sounded out as they do not contain single sounds which can be blended. The children are taught to identify the tricky part within each word and are encouraged to read these words on sight.

Dots and dashes represent the sound each letter(s) makes.

During the Little Wandle session, children will read the book three times and at each new reading they will have plenty of opportunities to practice using their developing comprehension skills.

To help at home:

Your child will start to bring books home when they are confident readers, relating to their reading stage. You will find they will bring home a phonics-based book, this will aid application, speed and fluency- developing speedy reading! Following on from this, they will bring a comprehension-based book which will begin to enrich their reading, which will require decoding skills. Only then, children will bring home enriched reading books which will enhance their understanding via inspirational language promoting depth to their understanding.

We regularly assess and track each child’s phonic ability across school. Within Key Stage 2, individual or groups of children who require phonic work are able to access this as keep-up Little Wandle sessions.

Children in KS2 primarily chose from a mix of genres and author sets. Within each class there is a mini library where books, both fiction and non-fiction, can also be accessed.

Useful websites for Parents

Please find a list of websites that you may find useful in helping you and your child learn about phonics. Games and fun activity websites are also included.

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds
BBC Bitesize – fun games for the children to play
ICT Games – fun games for the children to play
First School Years – fun games for the children to play

Other Useful Documents

Phonics and Early Reading Policy
Foundations for Phonics Progression
Complete Grapheme Mat
Year 1 End Points
Reception End Points