Phonics Intent Statement

At Coombe Hill Junior School, we believe that for children to become confident and fluent readers and writers, phonics needs to be taught using a systematic and structured phonics programme.  This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised, building on the foundation of Early Years and KS1 phonics.  

We ensure that children develop their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell more challenging words as they move through the school, thus enabling them to access all areas of the curriculum and develop a love of reading and writing.

Some technical vocabulary explained:

Phoneme - the smallest unit of sound.

Grapheme - the letter or letters that represent a phoneme.

Digraph - two letters together that make one sound, e.g. sh

Trigraph - three letters together that make one sound, e.g. igh

Decode - to translate written words into sounds for reading.

Blend - to draw individual sounds together to make a word, e.g. s-l-ee-p

Segment - to split a word up into individual sounds to spell it.

Sound buttons - dots and dashes under words to show phonemes, 

digraphs and trigraphs.

Prosody - patterns and rhythm of sound - reading with expression

Phonics in the whole class setting

All our class-based staff have phonics training. When they listen to children read and when they read children’s writing, they are constantly assessing how confident children are using phonics to read and spell. Within the whole class setting, phonics knowledge is developed through English and Reading skills lessons.


Children develop their phonetic awareness through weekly spelling investigations; learning to segment words into individual phonemes and identify digraphs and trigraphs within words. 

During writing lessons, children use the Little Wandle phoneme support mat, ‘Grow the Code’, to identify correct graphemes needed to spell words accurately and develop their awareness of the variety of graphemes used to spell each phoneme. 

Reading skills

In Reading skills lessons, children focus on one text each week, spending time decoding and reading with prosody and comprehension.

In the decoding session, children learn how to read individual phonemes and blend them together to read whole words. 

Phonics in other curriculum subjects

When new subject specific vocabulary is introduced in other subjects, children identify the sound buttons and syllables in those words to support the reading and spelling of this new vocabulary. 


If, during their ongoing assessment, teachers feel that any child is not confident with an aspect of phonics, they will assess that child for possible phonics intervention using the Little Wandle Rapid Catch-up 7+ assessment materials. 

If it is decided that the child would benefit from phonics intervention, then they will receive daily support with learning phonemes, blending and segmenting, and reading.

Regular assessment will be done to keep track of the child’s progress and they will leave the intervention once they are confident using all the phonemes in the Rapid catch-up programme, and can read fluently enough to be able to read with prosody and comprehension. 

Reading books   

Children developing their phonological awareness will be given fully decodable books to read, matched to the level of phonics that they are working at. We use Collins Big Cat fully decodable books which are linked to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and 7+ Rapid Catch-up programmes. 

Once the children are confident with all phonemes taught within the phonics programme, their fluency will be assessed to see whether they are reading accurately and at a pace that enables them to fully comprehend what they are reading. A reading speed of 90 words per minute is required to integrate comprehension whilst reading. (Armbruster et al, 2001) 

On completing the phonics programme and moving on from fully decodable books, children then move onto our main Big Cat reading scheme.

Phonics Intervention Parent meeting

For more information on the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phonics programme, and videos showing how to pronounce all the phonemes, visit 

Phonics Briefing.mp4