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Alderbury and West Grimstead Church of England Primary School

"Foundations for Life"

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How to help with Reading & Writing at Home

We hope that you will find the following information useful regarding how your child will learn to read.


Children will be taught to read using a ‘systematic synthetic phonics approach’. We will be following the ‘Little Wandle’ phonics scheme. This scheme teaches the letter sounds which are then blended to build words.


Learning Letter Sounds

Each phoneme (sound) that the children learn will incorporate a mnemonic (picture or phrase), which will help the children to remember the sound the grapheme (the sound written down) makes. The letters are not introduced in alphabetical order but in a carefully selected sequence that teaches groups of letters that can be used to make simple words. Sounds will be introduced at a rate of 4 a week. Ask your child to point out the sounds they have learnt on the grapheme mat.


Letter Formation

In Year R, we will be focussing on correct letter formation using the Little Wandle rhymes to support the children. We focus on printing the letters. This will then lead to the children writing in a cursive style in Year 1.













The children are taught to recognise the connections between graphemes and the spoken sound. When we read, we see the letters written down and change them into sounds. Blending is the process of saying the sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word, e.g. c-a-t is cat. It is a technique that your child will need to practise. To start with, you should sound out the word and see if your child can hear the word. The sounds must be said quickly in order for the word to be heard. Sound buttons are under the word, we point to them separately to sound out and then ‘sweep’ across more quickly to blend the sounds. Please see the ‘Pronunciaton Guide’ on our website which shows how to pronounce the sounds that we will learn in Owls Class.


Reading Books

The reading scheme that we will be using (Collins Big Cat) links in closely to the children’s progression in phonics. When books with words do begin to come home, please help your child to sound out and blend the words using the method explained previously. Pupils will read with an adult in school three times during the week before they bring home their book to celebrate their success with you. Please see our supporting video for further details.



This all probably sounds like a great deal of work, but please do not feel overwhelmed. ‘Little Wandle’ is taught in phases and each phase builds upon prior learning. The best approach with your child will be ‘little and often’. Your child may be extremely tired after a busy day at school and may not always feel like doing more, but don’t worry, this is normal! There is no doubt that the effort on your part is well worth it.


For further information about the Little Wandle Phonics and Early Reading Scheme, please visit


If there is anything that you are unsure about, please contact us.