Applecroft School

Nurturing Potential, Inspiring Minds, Changing Lives

Get in Touch

Interactive Bar

Google Translate


Google Search



Early Reading

Our Approach to Early Reading:

At Applecroft School we understand that learning to read is vital.

It is an essential component in improving life chances and a necessary skill required to fully access all other curriculum areas. Furthermore, positive attitudes to reading, and choosing to read, have academic, social and emotional benefits for children.


To find out more, read our 'Reading Policy' here.


We believe that for all our children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme.


At Applecroft, we use the 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised' to plan and provide daily, engaging phonics lessons.


In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Applecroft, we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


Little Wandle Programme Overview:

Programme Overview for Reception and Year 1.


How We Teach Phonics:

How children learn to read:

- Phonics is the only route to decoding

- Learning to say the phonic sounds

- By blending phonic sounds to read words

- Increasing the child’s fluency in reading sounds, words and books


  • In the Nursery, children follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for Phonics’ guidance. The focus is on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes
  • 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 on a Friday
  • Phonics starts in Reception in week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start
  • By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4
  • Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible
  • By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5
  • Year 1 lessons are 30 minutes long
  • In Years 2-3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment
  • In Years 2-6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions taking place at least three times a week


The Importance of Reading Fully Decodable Books:

  • Children must read books consistent with their phonic knowledge
  • It is essential not to use other strategies to work out words (including guessing words, deducing meaning from pictures, grammar, context clues or whole word recognition)
  • Books must be fully decodable and follow the Little Wandle scheme
  • Children need to read books in a progressive sequence until they can decode unfamiliar words confidently.


Reading Practice Sessions:

  • Children across Reception, Year 1, Year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session
  • These sessions are 15-20 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group
  • The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised
  • The children then take the same book home the following week to ensure success is shared with the family
  • In Reception, these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not decoding, do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised.


How Do We Assess Phonic Knowledge?

  • In Reception and Year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment)
  • Children identified in Reception and Year 1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme
  • In Reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half-term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker
  • The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2
  • Children who are in Years 2-6 and need ‘keep-up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.


The Role of Parents and Carers:

  • Have a positive impact on their child’s reading and develop a love of reading
  • Should model the importance of reading practice to develop fluency
  • Children take home books they have read at school to re-read at home to build fluency
  • There are two different types of books that pupils bring home: reading practice and books to share for pleasure
  • Reading at home encourages a love of books, along with developing vocabulary and discussion.
  • Parents should use voices, expression, discuss unfamiliar vocabulary, talk about the pictures, and predict what might happen next
  • Give positive yet informative feedback in the home reading diary at least 3 times a week.


Supporting Your Child With Reading:

Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home and don't worry if you weren't a great reader at school - you can still make a positive difference to your child!


There are two types of reading book that your child may bring home:

  • A reading practice book

This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently. Remember to praise your child and celebrate their progress and how well they are doing!

If your child is reading this book with little help, please don't worry that it is too easy - learning to read is not a race - your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading and most of all, enjoyment!

Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.


  • A sharing book

Your child will not be able to read this on their own. 

In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is vital that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.

Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!

Sharing a book is a great way to snuggle up and enjoy quality time together. 


To find out more please contact Mrs Natalie Clementson, our Reading Leader via