The Highway Primary School


“To teach word reading and spelling successfully, teachers need to understand the principles underpinning the teaching of word reading (decoding) and spelling (encoding). This should include understanding how the alphabetic code of English represents the sounds (phonemes) of the language with single letters and groups of letters (graphemes)….”

DfE Reading Framework 2021

Early reading and Phonics


At The Highway Primary School our aim is for every child to become a reader.

Our aims are for pupils to:

  • Build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
  • Be equipped to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read.
  • Read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure.
  • See themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
  • Be taught fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.


We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.  Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised draws on the latest research into how children learn best, how to ensure learning stays in children’s long term memory and how best to enable children to apply their learning to become highly competent readers.  We 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. 

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

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 readers. Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in in their first full week (Week 2) 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.

Find the full Reception and Year 1 teaching programme overview here.

Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read. Any child who needs additional practice has daily keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.

We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has 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 using the keep-up resources – at pace. 

If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan daily rapid catch up sessions. 

Teaching reading

We teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These:

  • Are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children.
  • Use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments.
  • Are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.

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:


Prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression

Comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.

In Reception these sessions start in the first half term. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.

In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.


Home reading

The decodable reading practice book is taken home (after their three reads at school) to ensure success is shared with the family. Reading for pleasure books (‘sharing books’) also go home for parents to share and read to children.


Children’s progress in phonics is continually reviewed through assessment. This 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 Keep-up 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 Keep-up support that they need.
  • By SLT/reading lead and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
  • 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 and plan to provide appropriate extra teaching.

Statutory assessment

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

Ongoing assessment for catch-up. Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through:

  • Their teacher’s ongoing formative assessment
  • The Little Wandle Letters and Sounds placement assessment the appropriate half-term assessments.


Our children will:

Our children will make rapid progress from their starting point in reading and writing. Attainment in reading is measured using statutory assessments such as the end of EYFS, Key Stage 1 and 2 and following the outcomes in the Year 1 Phonics Screening check. Additionally, we track our own reading attainment through the use of the half termly assessments. 

More importantly, we believe that reading is the key to unlock all learning and so the impact of our reading goes beyond the statutory assessments. We give all the children the opportunity to enter the amazing new worlds that a book opens up to them and share texts from a range of diverse cultures or genres to inspire them to question or seek out more for themselves. We want children to develop a lifelong love for reading and ultimately evolve from learning to read, to reading to learn.