Phonics at The Brook

‘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.

Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them 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” and “sat”.’

(National Literacy Trust) 

At The Brook we have devised a systematic, developmentally appropriate approach to the teaching of phonics and reading.

We have provided access to phonics and reading via three separate but cumulative pathways.

These are:

1.       Pre-phonics

2.       Phase 1 phonics

3.       Little Wandle Letters and Sounds from phase 2

Our pre-phonics curriculum is unique to The Brook and is our response to the OFSTED requirement that we have high expectations of all of our children regardless of their background, needs or abilities. The approach ensures that children are developing the skills and attitudes necessary to begin to access the slightly more formal learning that is required for phase 1 phonics.

‘When children are able to, they progress to the phase one teaching programme. Phase One activities concentrate on developing children’s speaking and listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting. These activities are intended to be used as part of a broad and rich language curriculum that has speaking and listening at its centre, links language with physical and practical experiences, and provides an environment rich in print and abundant in opportunities to engage with books. Phase One activities pave the way for children to make a good start in reading and writing.’

(Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics)

The Brook have chosen ‘Little Wandle’ as the provider of its’ formal phonics curriculum. Children access this scheme when they are assessed as being secure in most areas of the phase one curriculum. We use Little Wandle from phase 2 onwards.

Every member of staff (including the Senior Learning Team) have undergone rigorous training to ensure that we deliver this scheme to a high standard and with consistency across the school.

Little Wandle provides information and resources for parents on its’ website which can be accessed here:


In addition the following videos are helpful guides to the pronunciation of sounds that we teach at school. Due to the needs of individual children, progress will vary, and these links illustrate the progress made by neuro typical children in a mainstream setting.



Supporting your Child at Home

It is essential that parents and carers and school work together to support your child’s reading in a positive and enjoyable way. We invest time to develop reading relationships between home and school and our recent workshop for parents was an excellent way in which we demonstrated our commitment to this and was so well attended! Thank you.

We provide a balance of books to send home for early readers, including: • (when appropriate) a reading practice book matched to your child’s phonic stage that they can read independently • a sharing book that they can talk about and enjoy with you.

The desire of wanting to read will help with the skill of reading. To help foster a love of reading, children take a book home that they can share and enjoy with their parent/carer. We involve the children in the choice of this book and they may bring the same book home for several weeks in a row!

These books offer a wealth of opportunities for talking about the pictures and enjoying the story. It is important to offer a variety of books, including non-fiction, so they can enjoy a range of writing.

Parents/carers need to understand that they should not expect their child to read this book independently and certainly should not try to get their child to do so. The book is for the parent/carer to read to or with the child. Again, it is good to talk about the book with the child, but important not to turn the discussion into a test. The goal is enjoyment.

The development of phonics and reading is a school priority. We have a robust and comprehensive approach to the teaching of phonics whilst ensuring that our unique children remain at the centre of this process.

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