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Early Reading and Phonics

Introducing young children to the awe and wonder of books requires a systematic teaching of phonics.

Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. In EYFS and Year 1, we teach Early Reading and Phonics through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.


At Hazelwood we follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised 'Foundations for Phonics' guidance which contributes our provision for ‘Communication and Language’ and ‘Literacy’ and sits alongside our stimulating language-rich provision.

The most important aspects of Foundations for Phonics that we develop in the Nursery are:

  • Sharing high-quality stories and poems with children
  • Learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhyme
  • Activities that focus on listening and attention skills, including oral blending
  • Modelling and exposing our children high-quality language with

Reception and Year 1

In Reception and Year 1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.

  • Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session every Friday
  • Phonics starts in Reception starts in the 2nd week of school to ensure that the children make a strong start to their journey as lifelong readers
  • 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 when the children are ready to do so
  • Lessons in Year 1 are 30 minutes long
  •  Additional Reading practise sessions happen every week, to help build fluency in decoding.
  • Once children are able to blend, they receive 1 decodable book a week to help them to develop their fluency and expression. 

“I am getting better with tricky words because we practise them every day.”

“The books that we read are fun. I like using my sound mat to help me with the writing so I can find the correct digraphs.”

(Year 1 children) 

Phonics ‘Catch Up’ support

At Hazelwood, we believe that every child has the right to read fluently and confidently to enable them to be able to fully access the curriculum on offer. Therefore, in order to support children who are not yet reading at age related expectations and who need further teaching on how to read and decode, we provide additional phonic support using Little Wandles. Children are assessed and if they require support with decoding, interventions are set up and are run by staff members that are trained to use Little Wandle resources. These age/stage appropriate interventions follow a set model and structure to address specific reading gaps. These children also receive a phonetically decodable reading book as we believe that this is vital in ensuring our aim to achieve fluent, confident readers.  

Support for parents and carers

The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their phonemes (sounds) and writing their graphemes (letters). There are also useful videos so you can see how your child is taught at school, to be able to confidently support their reading at home. Little Wandle Support

In November, we held a successful phonics workshop for parents and carers. We were delighted that over 50 people were in attendance. The slides from the meeting are below.