Phonics at VRPS


See further guidance below for parents around the phonics screening check and the progression of phonics through the Letters and Sounds Scheme.  Here you will also find useful videos to support you at home.

Parents Area - Little Wandle Letters and Sounds



At Victoria Road, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle progression which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, our children are able to tackle unfamilar words as they read. We also 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. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. 

We value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, we aim for them to read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamilar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose. 


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. Every Friday, we review the week's teaching to help children become fluent readers. 
  • Children make a strong start in Reception. Teaching begins in the first couple of the weeks of the Autumn Term once all children are in for full days.
  • We follow the Little Wandle expectations of progress (see overview below).  Children in Reception are taught to read and spell using phase 2 and 3 GPC's and words with adjacent consonants (phase 4) with fluency and accuracy. Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPC's with fluency and accuracy.

Daily Keep Up Lessons 

  • 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 and above 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 doesn't widen. We use the rapid catch up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonics knowledge and teach to these using the radid catch up resources at pace.
  • These short, sharp lessons last 15-20 minutes and have been designed to ensure children quickly catch up to age related expectations in reading.

Reading Practice Sessions

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 6 children.
  • use books matched to the children's secure phonics knowledge.
  • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.

Each reading session has a clear focus so that the demands of the session do not overload the children's working memory. The 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.

Home Reading

The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family. Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children.


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. It is used weekly in the review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPC's, words and spellings.
  • Summative Assessment for Reception and Year 1 is used every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing support and to plan the keep up support they need. 
  • Fluency Assessments are used to measure children's accuracy and reading speed.
  • Statutory Assessment - children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in year 2.
  • Rapid Catch up assessments are used for pupils in Year 2-6.

Files to Download

Victoria Road Primary School
Victoria Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 5RE