What is phonics?

Phonics is how most children learn to read. Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. The written format i.e. the letter is called a grapheme. Phonics is about children knowing how letters link to sounds (graphemes to phonemes), for example, c as in ‘cat’, ll as in ‘fell’, ee as in ‘sheep’. Children use this phonic knowledge when they are reading and writing. This approach has been shown to provide a quick and efficient way for most young children to learn to read words on the page, fluently and accurately. We want children to develop this skill so that it becomes automatic. This also greatly helps them with their spelling.


At Kirtlington CE Primary we use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme for our phonics teaching. It is divided into five phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Phonics are the sounds that letters make and learning them helps children to decode words and begin to read and write.

Children in Rowan Class take part in daily, high quality phonics lessons.

When children enter nursery, they will begin Phase 1 phonics, which places emphasis on their listening skills. They will build skills around rhyme, alliteration and begin to identify the sounds in words.

Children in reception will work through phases 2-4, where they will begin to identify sounds and the matching grapheme (the letter). Children are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’, which are words with spellings that are unusual.

Here is a link to the Little Wandle parent page, where you can find out more about Little Wandle phonics and access resources to support your children at home.


This systematic approach ensures pupils are well prepared for their phonic test at the end of Year 1.


Little Wandle Phases