Phonics at Firs

At Firs Primary School, we believe that phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme in order for all of our children to become fluent readers and writers.

We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme in order to plan and provide daily engaging and active 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 ways 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 Reception and follows a very 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, our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.

At Firs, we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing in phonics lessons and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language and language skills because we know that this is crucial to ensure the development of reading and writing in all subjects.

Following the Little Wandle programme, we:

  • teach children that phonics helps us to read and write
  • follow a specific four-part lesson structure and teaching sequence (review, teach, practise, apply) which promotes independence, resilience and success for all learners
  • ensure that all phonics teaching is delivered with pace and expression
  • include an active element in all lessons which ensures participation for all learners
  • use decodable books in phonics lessons so that children can directly apply their new knowledge and phonics skills at an appropriate level
  • ensure that children take home a book that matches their phonic ability – this is a book for them to read independently
  • invite parents to attend phonics workshops to support them with the development of their child’s phonics skills

Our Phonics and Early Reading Policy is completely based on the Little Wandle programme content, in order to ensure consistency, and can be read if you click on the following link:


What is 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.

Written language can be compared to a code. Knowing the sounds of individual letters, and how those letters sound when they are combined, helps children to decode words as they read. Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.

Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. For example, the sound ‘k’ can be spelt as ‘c’, ‘k’, ‘ck’ or ‘ch’. Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them to decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters ‘t’, ‘p’, ‘a’ and ‘s’, they can start to build up the words ‘tap’, ‘taps’, ‘pat’, ‘pats’ or ‘sat’.

Information for parents

You may find the following videos helpful. It is really important that you use ‘pure sounds’ when you are supporting phonics at home. Notice how the children don’t add an ‘uh’ sound at the end, so they say ‘t’ not ‘tuh’.

Use this downloadable information to help your child remember how to write their letters and say their sounds:



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