Little Wandle – Letters and Sounds

At Spon Gate Primary School we use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds teaching programme to support the children with learning phonics.  Learning phonics will help your child with their reading and writing as they will learn to blend together the sounds in words to read and will learn to separate out the sounds in words to help with spelling when they are writing.  The children in Reception and Year 1 have a daily Letters and Sounds lesson which lasts about 20 minutes.  Children in other year groups who still need support with learning phonics will also have a daily lesson.

Below is the key information you may need to support your child at home with their development of letters and sounds and early reading.

Key Information

Phase One

Children start working on Phase One of Letters and Sounds in our nursery class.  Phase One helps to develop the children’s speaking and listening skills through a range of games and activities.  It encourages the children to talk and to increase the number of words that they can use and understand. 

In Phase One children will share stories and poems with their teacher, will learn a range of nursery rhymes and action rhymes and will play games that encourage active listening.

Children usually move to Phase Two at the start of the Reception year.  This is the start of systematically learning phonics through learning grapheme-phoneme correspondences.  A phoneme is a sound in a word and a grapheme is the letter or sequence of letters that represent that phoneme.  There are about 44 different phonemes in spoken English. We convert graphemes to phonemes when we are reading aloud and we convert phonemes to graphemes when we are spelling.  In order to read an unfamiliar word a child must recognise each grapheme, not each letter e.g. sounding out ship as sh-i-p not s-h-i-p.

Below is an overview of what phoneme/graphemes are taught in Phases 2-5 of Letters and Sounds:

Phase Two

s                   a                   t                    p

i                    n                   m                  d

g                   o                   c                   k

ck                  e                   u                   r

h                   b                   f,ff                 l,ll                 

ss                  j                    v                   w       

x                   y                   z,zz               qu

ch                 sh                 th                  ng                 nk

Phase Three

 ai                 ee                 igh                oa

oo                 ar                  or                  ur

ow                 oi                  ear                air


Phase Four

By the end of Phase 3 the children have learnt one way of writing each of the 44 different sounds we use in spoken English.  Phase 4 concentrates on rehearsing what they have already learnt and applying it to reading and writing longer words.

Phase Five

In Phase 5 the children are taught some further graphemes for reading:

ay                 oy                 wh                 a-e

ou                 ir                   ph                 e-e

ie                  ue                 ew                 i-e

ea                 aw                 oe                 o-e

au                 u-e

They are also taught the common alternative pronunciations for some graphemes e.g. ea eat and bread

Finally the children learn all of the alternative spellings for phonemes e.g. feet, meat, these, field, happy, key, he, donkey

If you would like more information about Letters and Sounds, please visit the parent section on the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds’ website: Alternatively, please speak to your child’s class teacher to get further information