Golden threads

At The Dolphin School we believe that for all our children to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme.Little wandle


We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily engaging 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 combinations 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 The Dolphin School we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lessons and across the curriculum.

We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


How do we assess phonic knowledge?

  • In reception and year 1 at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment).
  • Children identified in reception and year 1 as at risk of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place. These sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
  • In reception and year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker.
  • Children in year 1 complete the statutory Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
  • Children who do not meet the national standard in the Phonics Screening Check in Y1, will recomplete this in Y2. Support continues to be put in place for these children.


Reading for pleasure – Early Years and KS1


Alongside daily teaching of phonics, reading for pleasure is an important part of our Early Reading offer. We ensure children develop a love of reading and are exposed to a range of interesting and relevant authors. We promote a love of reading in the following ways:

  • Teaching of poetry, which includes performing and learning a range of poems by heart.
  • Daily storytime.
  • Book areas within the classroom which have a careful selection of books, including books which represent our school’s diversity.
  • Alongside children’s decodable reading book, children also take home a reading for pleasure book each week.  In each year group, children will take home a range of books by authors, including some which they have read in class.


If you are a parent and would like more information about how to support your child with phonics at home, please follow this link to find the Reception and Year 1 overview as well as videos of the sound pronunciations, letter formation sheets and other helpful resources.

Phonics Screening Check

The statutory phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 in order to give teachers and parents information on how children are progressing in phonics. It helps to identify whether children need additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill. It is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England, and is usually taken in June.

At The Dolphin School, we are very proud of the impact our phonics teaching has on ensuring our pupils are confident and independent readers who enjoy reading for pleasure. In 2019, 86% of our pupils passed the phonics check.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Toni Morrison

Please click here for a copy of the Phonics Workshop

Please click here for the Phonics Workshop handout

Please click here for a list of 'words to spell'