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St Pancras Catholic Primary

St Pancras
Catholic Primary School

Phonics & Reading


Phonics and Early Reading at St Pancras 


From January 2022, we started using a validated Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme (SSP) called Little Wandle to teach Phonics and Early Reading. The programme is designed to teach children to read fluently from Reception (Rainbows) to Year 2, using the skill of decoding and blending to read words and encourages reading for pleasure too.

The progression of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised has been devised so that children are taught a cumulative progression of GPCs that they immediately practise through oral blending, reading and spelling words and sentences, and, later on, reading fully decodable books. Children review and revise GPCs and words daily, weekly and across terms and years in order to move this knowledge into their long-term memory. Building on their alphabetic code enables the children to tackle the spelling of unfamiliar words too with frequent modelling during Phonic lessons and across the curriculum.


We start teaching Phonics in Rainbows using whole class teaching and all children are actively encouraged to participate. All children are taught together but for those who are struggling, we give additional daily-targeted support to enable them to catch up. We follow the Little Wandle progression to ensure children build on their growing alphabetic code.

Phonics is taught daily for up to 25 minutes. In Rainbows, the lessons initially start with being 10 minutes long and quickly build up to longer sessions. Each lesson follows the same routine to avoid cognitive overload with a review session on Fridays.

Children in Rainbows 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 Phase 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy in readiness for the Phonics Screening Check in June. We expect to be at least in line with National Expectations.

Daily keep-up sessions

It is essential that every child learns to read as quickly as possible so daily keep-up sessions are planned to ensure no child is left behind. These are carefully targeted using the same resources, mantras and structure as the main lessons but are shorter and with more repetition.

Children in Year 2 and beyond are assessed using the Little Wandle Placement Assessment and targeted support given if gaps in their Phonic knowledge is highlighted. Any child in Year 2 who did not pass the Phonics Screening Check will be supported with the daily keep-up sessions.

Reading lessons

The three times a week reading lessons began in February 2022 in both Rainbows and Year 1. Each lesson focuses on a different reading skill. The first lesson focuses on decoding, the second on prosody – reading with expression and understanding and the third reading sessions focuses on comprehension – teaching the children to understand what has been read and indicating where the answer was found.

The children are put into groups of approximately six children and The Big Cats reading books are matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge. Members of staff fully trained in Little Wandle take the reading lessons and the class teacher rotates around the groups to ensure they read with each group.

Children in Year 2 and beyond who have been targeted for Phonic support will also access reading lessons in this context. This will begin in the coming weeks.


We all use the same resources, mantras and structures in both the Phonic and reading lessons to ensure consistency and fidelity and reduce the cognitive overload of the children. Lesson plans, templates, lesson prompts and how to videos are accessible to all staff via the Little Wandle website. Phonic resources have been purchased for Rainbows and Year 1 with extra for keep up sessions in other year groups. 

The Reading Lead and SLT will monitor both Phonic and reading lessons to ensure consistency using the Little Wandle audit form.


Children in Rainbows and Year 1 are assessed every six weeks to ensure their progress and target any keep-up support needed using the Little Wandle assessment sheets. Children in Year 2 upwards are also assessed using Little Wandle if phonics is a barrier. With quality-targeted support, we expect the children to make accelerated progress to close the gaps with their peers.

Extra targeted support will be put into place for any child not reaching the threshold in the Phonics Screening Check as they move into Year 2.


The children will progress into Year 2 and beyond as confident and fluent readers. They will make good progress from their starting points and use their phonic knowledge to read unfamiliar words. Children will enjoy listening to stories and develop their reading for pleasure. Reading outcomes will be at least in line with National Expectations. Phonics Screening results will be at least in line with National Expectations.



Reading at St Pancras 

Reading at St Pancras


We recognise the importance of reading and continue to develop a love of reading as well as reading to gain new knowledge and understanding. We build upon the solid foundation of early reading established in Rainbows and Year 1 and we aim for the children to become confident and fluent readers with an excellent understanding of what has been read.


In Y2, guided reading lessons takes place in groups using a range of resources – Rigby Star orange level upwards plus extracts from KS1 SATs papers and book sets from the library. Comprehension tasks are assigned with a range of question types to ascertain their understanding. Where Phonics is a barrier, the reading lessons will take a similar format as the reading lessons in Rainbows and Y1 – one lesson focusing on decoding, the next lesson working on both prosody and comprehension.

KS2 – children have whole class shared reading lessons three times a week using a range of high quality fiction and non-fiction texts from and PiXL 3 in 3 reading. They work on a specific reading skill and the children are asked a range of question types linked to the reading skill.

All children access Accelerated Reader and take quizzes once they have read their chosen reading book. Results are monitored closely and success is celebrated in the Celebration Assembly and in the newsletter.

Each term, children from Y2-6 use the Reading Assessment from PiXL to assess comprehension and results from this inform intervention and plan for future lessons. Reading speed tests from PiXL are also used to monitor and inform interventions for children.


Reading underpins everything we do so we ensure reading happens across the curriculum. The children will leave St Pancras as confident and fluent readers who read a wide range of genres including poetry for pleasure. The children will read books to enhance their knowledge of the wider world and share their knowledge with others. Every child will make good progress from their starting points which will be clear from the progress shown in assessments and in how many leave St Pancras with at least the expected standard.