English - Phonics

Phonics at Stocksbridge Junior School


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. Pupils are taught how to:

  • recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes;

  • identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make – such as /sh/ or /oo/;

  • blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.


Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read. Research shows that when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read. Almost all children who receive good teaching of phonics will learn the skills they need to tackle new words. They can then go on to read any kind of text fluently and confidently, and to read for enjoyment.


At Stocksbridge Junior School, we understand that having a secure knowledge of phonics is vital to enable our pupils to read and write independently. If children move to KS2 with gaps in their phonics learning, we need to fill these gaps so they can access the KS2 English curriculum successfully.

 “Pupils who are still struggling to decode need to be taught to do this urgently through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they catch up rapidly with their peers. If they cannot decode independently and fluently, they will find it increasingly difficult to understand what they read and to write down what they want to say.” (National Curriculum 2014)

This is why we teach phonics through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. This approach ensures that children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.



Any child who joins us in Year 3 requiring additional phonics teaching, receives daily phonics lessons, taught by a fully trained adult.

  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for children who have gaps in their phonics and/or have not passed the phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these. Pupils accessing phonics interventions are assessed each half-term to ensure that the gaps in their phonic knowledge are rapidly closing.
  • Pupils accessing phonics interventions also receive reading practice sessions three times a week.



  • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of children.
  • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading.’


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.


Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

  • Assessment for learning is used:
    • daily within class to identify children needing additional support
    • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
  • Summative assessment is used:
    • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the support that they need.
  • The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised placement assessment is used:
    • with any child new to the school, who is not fluent in reading, to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and to plan appropriate extra teaching.


Ongoing assessment for catch-up

  • Children accessing direct phonics teaching in Year 3 to 6 are assessed through:
    • their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment.
    • the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds placement assessment.