Reading and Phonics


At Houghton Conquest Lower 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 want every student to experience enjoyment in reading for pleasure and the wonderment of discovering new worlds, bigger dreams and exciting facts about the world around them.

 “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss

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 our Preschool 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 Houghton 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

Reading practice sessions

Guided Reading – VIPERS

From Year 1 onwards, Guided Reading and comprehension sessions take place: We teach sessions which focus on developing pupils’ level of fluency understanding of the text, through discussion, written and oral tasks; and the exploration of new vocabulary. Pupils will be taught to retrieve, infer, predict, summarise, analyse and evaluate texts. Pupils explore vocabulary, prediction, sequencing, making inferences and retrieving information, ensuring that they are able to make justified responses using evidence from the text. Children are taught all these specific skills through VIPERS. VIPERS stands for: Vocabulary, Inference, Predict, Explain, Retrieve and Sequence of Summarise.  Pupils explore a wide range of high quality fiction and non-fiction texts in their lessons, which are based around age appropriate texts linked to the topic being studied.


 How do we assess phonic knowledge?

Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school.

Little Wandle Reading books progression including phonics focus
Little Wandle Programme Progression – Reception and Year 1 Overviews
Little Wandle Phonics Glossary
Reading – Progression of Skills

Online Phonics Lessons

How we say our sounds

Guide to Tricky Words

Parent Support