Phonics at Wednesbury Oak
Wednesbury Oak Academy is determined that every child will learn to read, regardless of
background, needs or abilities. We want our children to be fluent, confident readers. We work to
inspire them to become life-long readers who enjoy books and have a desire to read for pleasure. In
order for the children to have the will to read, and be able to read to learn, they need to have secure
skills in reading so that they can read with fluency and comprehension. We want every child to read
widely, and to gain a rich knowledge across the curriculum. Reading is such an important life skill
that it is imperative we enable them to become independent readers who can easily process
information, fully engage in all learning and be well prepared for their next stage of their education.
By the end of KS1, children will be fluent at decoding, and by the age of 11, we aim for children to be
able to read with confidence, fluency and good understanding.
We teach early reading through the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Little Wandle Letters
and Sounds Revised. Right from the start of Reception children have a daily phonics lesson which
follows the progression for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and this continues in Year One to
ensure children become fluent readers. We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we
build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as
quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent
Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term. We follow
the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress (please click here for the
progression). Four new phonemes and their corresponding graphemes are taught (GPCs) each week
and they are then used in the final lesson of the week to review the week’s learning. Children will
also learn tricky words during these sessions. In the Autumn and Spring term, Reception learn phase
2 and phase 3 GPCs and then will spend the final term learning phase 4.
Year 1 begin the Autumn term with 3 weeks of revision of phases 2, 3 and 4 before learning phase 5,
which will be completed by the end of the year.
Year 2 children will begin the year by revisiting phase 5 and other previously taught phases to ensure
all children are completely confident with applying these GPCs in both their reading and also their
writing. (please see the overview here for what this progression looks like). Half termly assessments
take place through Reception and Year 1 to help inform future teaching and help identify children
who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and need additional practice. Daily assessment of learning
also takes place within the classroom so staff can quickly identify any children who are in danger of
falling behind and provide the appropriate daily ‘Keep Up’ intervention.
For support with the pronunciation of the phonemes taught, please refer to the videos below
Reading Practice Sessions
Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2, read fully decodable books with an adult 3 times per week
during our ‘Reading Practice’ sessions. These books are then sent home for children to build their
reading fluency and showcase their developing skills and phonetic knowledge to their
parents/carers. These 3 reading practice sessions each have a different focus; decoding, prosody and
comprehension. Our reading books in Reception, Y1 and Y2: Little Wandle Letters and Sounds
Revised Big Cat books.
For further information please read our Early Reading Policy.