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Phonics and Early Reading at Crabtree Farm

At Crabtree Farm Primary School we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised synthetic phonics teaching programme.


In F1 we provide a balance of child-led and adult-led experiences for all children that meet the expectations for Communication and Language and Literacy. These include:

  • sharing high-quality stories and poems

  • learning a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes

  • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending

  • attention to high-quality language

We ensure F1 children are well prepared to begin learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) and blending in F2.


In F2 and Year 1, we teach phonics for up to 30 minutes a day. In F2, 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.  Children make a strong start in F2: teaching begins in week 2 of the autumn term.


We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:

  • Children in F2 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 Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

  • Children in Year 2 review and continue to learn to read and spell words using the Phase 5 GPCs.


Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read.  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 does not widen. We use the Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up resources – at pace.  These short, sharp lessons last 15-20 minutes daily and have been designed to ensure children quickly catch up to age-related expectations in reading.

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 of approximately six children

  • 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 F2 these sessions start in week 4 of the autumn term. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.


In Years 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.  Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read with children.

Pronunciation Guides

Phonics and Early Reading at Crabtree Farm

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