Immaculate Heart Of Mary

Catholic Primary School A Voluntary Academy
Together with Jesus, we love to learn and learn to love.



'Together with Jesus, we love to learn and learn to love'

At Immaculate Heart of Mary we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and ensure that children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. The precise way in which phonics is taught ensures that the children quickly and successfully acquire a secure knowledge, enabling them to develop as capable readers and confident writers.

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics for 20-30 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.

  • Coverage:

    • 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.

    • Children in Year 2 consolidate Phase 5 GPCs and use the rapid catch up programme to support children who did not pass the Year 1 Screening Check.

Keep up lessons

  • Where a child may need additional support in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, we carry out interventions, tailored to their Phonics needs.

  • We timetable 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. We use assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using specialised Keep Up activities.

  • If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we will implement support to address specific reading/writing gaps.

Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week

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

    • are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups.

    • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge.

    • 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:

    • decoding

    • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression

    • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.

  • In Reception, children who are not yet decoding have 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.

  • The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.

Through the teaching of systematic Phonics, our aim is for children to develop as capable readers and confident writers by the end of KS1, reading with increasing fluency, whilst developing a love of reading. We value reading as a crucial life skill and encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.


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 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.

Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2.


 Handy Hints: 

The following videos show you the pronunciation of sounds taught in Phonics.  Notice how the children don’t add an ‘uh’ sound at the end, so they say: ‘t’ not ‘tuh’.


Phonics Screening

Useful Documents