Button Lane Primary School

Only the best is good enough

Phonics and Reading

Reading Leads - Mrs Hutchinson, Miss Gordon & Mrs McDermott

At Button Lane Primary 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

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 Nursery 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, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. At Button Lane we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing both inside and outside of the phonics lesson 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 we teach phonics

  • In the nursery, children follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised ‘Foundations for Phonics’ guidance. The focus is on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes.
  • In reception and Year 1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
  • Phonics starts in reception in week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start.
  • By the end of reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4.
  • By the end of year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5.
  • Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible.
  • Year 1 lessons are 30 minutes long.
  • In Year 2 and Year 3, phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment.
  • In Year 2 through to Year 6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting 10 minutes in length and taking place at least three times a week.


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 in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – 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.
  • The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2.
  • Children who are in Year 2-Year 6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.



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.


If you would like more information, here is the Reception and Y1 programme of progression.




Button Lane Primary school believes that reading is central to a child’s understanding of the school curriculum and of its vital importance in life. Fluent readers can engage critically with a range of texts, develop their ability to analyse, consider and question and also grow to love their language. We aim to develop a love and appreciation of reading and hope to achieve this through careful planning and teaching using up to date strategies. We use quality reading materials and resources within: phonics, literacy and whole class reading sessions. 

At our school your child will:

• Develop phonetic skills which lead to blending and reading fluently. 

• Build confidence and positive attitudes to reading. 

• Enjoy the feeling of achievement gained by progressing through our recently enriched reading scheme. 

• Experience reading for pleasure through the sharing of a class novel with regular visits to the school library. 

• Be monitored through the use of a range of assessment strategies including informal assessments and formal testing as appropriate. 

• Be supported to maximise their reading potential. 

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Reading Corners

Books are at the heart of our school life and our curriculum at Button Lane. We want our pupils to discover their own genuine love of reading. Our reading corners form part of every classroom from our Early Years to Year 6 and contain specially selected texts for children to read and enjoy.  All of our reading areas are intended to provide our children with a comfortable space to enjoy reading. Have a look at some of our reading areas across school.