Your frequently asked questions

General

Yes! As of 10th July 2021 Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a phonics programme validated by the Department for Education.

We run regular free briefings about Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised and take care to run these at different times to ensure that as many schools as possible can attend. As well as a presentation of the key features of the programme we also allow plenty of time for questions during these sessions. We regularly update these FAQs to include issues that are raised.

Unfortunately we do not have capacity to offer 1:1 briefings with individual schools.

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised has been developed by Little Sutton and Wandle English Hubs and taken forward by Little Sutton Primary School and Wandle Learning Trust in partnership with other phonics and early reading experts. Our schools have developed a highly effective Letters and Sounds approach over recent years, with Phonics Screening Check results consistently amongst the top five per cent in the country.

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised has been built around the update (Department for Education – Letters and Sounds improving rates of progress 2021) that we were funded to produce by the Department for Education, as well as drawing on the latest research into how children learn best, how to ensure learning stays in children’s long term memory and how best to enable children to apply their learning to become highly competent readers.

Yes they are! Please hop to this link to book. We recommend that Headteachers attend these briefings along with your Reading Leader and other relevant members of staff.

For now we are running all our information briefings live to give everyone the opportunity to ask questions and get their answers in real time.

Although it is ideal to start our programme at the beginning of the academic year, you can start at any point.

Our training is available online and on-demand throughout the year and we run Welcome Zooms and Reading Leader training every week to get schools started. Our placement assessment resources support schools to identify gaps in learning and where to start teaching.

With only very minor exceptions, the phonics content of the original Letters and Sounds has been retained, particularly the progression, the important phases and the teaching sequence.

Phase 2 now includes all consonants and all the consonant digraphs: ff ll ss zz qu ch sh th ng nk.

Phase 3 includes ai ee igh oa oo oo ar or ur er ow oi ear air and double letters (‘ure’ has been omitted but the most common ‘ure’ words sure and pure are included as tricky words in Phase 3).

Phase 5 has been organised into a sequence.

Tricky words have been increased to include those in the National Curriculum and a few very common words originally listed in the Appendix of Letters and Sounds Next 200 common words in order of frequency.

Please see the programme progression overview for more information.

This really depends on the setting. For example, we have seen whole class teaching work well in schools with a high % of EAL children where word meaning is taught as blending and reading are taught. Using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised with SpLd children will be more about what exact conditions a school is working with. ASC children are very able to join the whole class teaching with the right adaptations in place – those would be part of your classroom practice. However, for some children it may be best for them to be part of the main lesson and then work with an adult.

Yes! Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is available to purchase by schools anywhere in the world.

 

Firstly we hope that your child is enjoying learning to read with Little Wandle! Our website is designed to support teachers and schools to teach our programme. They are the classroom experts and all questions about day to day learning within your child’s school should be directed at those teachers.

We have prepared some resources to support you with reading with your child at home. If your school has not yet had time to share these with you, you can find them here.

No. The matching resources are a core component of a validated SSP and using them ensures fidelity to the programme and consistency in the teaching. Our words, mnemonics, displays and so on are all referenced in our planning. Ofsted have clearly stated that schools should not mix and match resources.

Membership and pricing

Five things to know before completing the membership checkout form:

  1. Decide who you want as your Super User – when you fill out the checkout form you will be asked to name a Super User. Ideally this should be the person who is filling out the checkout form, and will usually be your Reading Leader. Your Super User has the highest level of access to your membership account information (including the pupil and staff data that will be stored in your account linked to assessment and CPD).
  2. Remember that when you are completing the checkout form you are creating the Super User account – keep a note of the password you create at checkout, which will only work with your Super User email address. Until your school has attended a Welcome Zoom and you have a Purchase Order number confirmed your account will be Pending when your Super User logs in.
  3. Make sure you have a Purchase Order number (your finance or business manager can provide this) – you will need to put this in at checkout. Your membership activation will be delayed if we do not have a PO number.
  4. Have your DfE number handy – you will need to add this at checkout. You will also be asked to add a Team name (e.g. Acme school phonics team, Team reading etc) this is for your internal use only.
  5. Look out for your Next steps email – by the end of the next working day after you have checked out we will send your Super User a Next steps email which will include details of how to book your Welcome Zoom.

Our pricing is based on school size with the options of small school (15 pupils or fewer per year group), 1Form Entry, 2Form Entry and 3 Form Entry+.

Part of our onboarding process includes checking your school size to ensure that you have picked the most appropriate membership level for your school.

If you require supplier details please drop us an email and we will send these to you. We can also check and sign supplier forms if required.

 

Five things to know after you have submitted the membership checkout form.

  1. Look out for your Next steps email – by the end of the next working day after you have checked out we will send your Super User a Next steps email which will include details of how to book your Welcome Zoom. Check your Junk folder if you can’t see it.
  2. Remember that your account is still pending until you have attended your Welcome Zoom and have a PO number in place – when your Super User logs into our website with their email and the password they created at checkout they will see our Pending Panda.
  3. We will send you an email to let you know your account is live – check your Junk folder, your Super User can also log in to check. If they see a Green Iguana your account is live.
  4. Once your membership is live your Super User can invite colleagues to join your team and see all website content – your Super User will see the option to ‘Add members’ when they log in. They should follow the instructions there – putting in the email address of each colleague they wish to invite and pressing send to issue their invite. The number of colleagues the Super User can invite is linked to the size of your school 30 colleagues for 1 FE and small school, 60 for 2FE and 100 for 3FE+
  5. The invites your Super User sends from within their Super User account will have the sender Letters and Sounds – colleagues should check their Junk folder if not received. Colleagues click on the link within the email invite to register their email and create their own individual password for our website. Colleagues will know they’re logged in when they see the My Letters and Sounds heading in their navigation bar and the Green Iguana in their My Account area.

As a not for profit organisation, our focus is on making membership both affordable and great value for money. Annual membership rates based on school size are as follows.

Small school (15 or fewer pupils per year group) – £300*

1 form entry – £750

2 form entry – £995

3 form entry+ – £1,250

A discounted rate is available if your school has done our Letters and Sounds online training in or after 2020.

*Please note that the small school discount is our best possible priced membership which means the £200 discount cannot also be applied to a small school membership subscription.

 

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a not for profit complete systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme.

An annual membership gives your school access to:

  • Weekly content for every phonics lesson for Reception and Year 1, including the use of mnemonics and catchphrases to teach Phase 2 and 3 GPCs.
  • Video and written guidance on application of phonics to reading, spelling and writing, development of vocabulary and the encouragement of reading for pleasure.
  • Full Keep-up Reception and Year 1 teacher’s guides with one-to-one and group support plus video guidance to support children at risk of falling behind.
  • Assessment for learning in the classroom to ensure 100 per cent participation, inclusion and support for the lowest 20 per cent. Formal daily timetabled Keep-up for children in the lowest 20 per cent to ensure they reach age-related expectations.
  • Support for parents to encourage their child’s reading at home, including pronunciation videos and other aspects of phonics.
  • How to videos modelling every aspect of teaching phonics, reading and Keep-up.
  • Materials for assessment every six weeks, including next steps for teaching, identification of children who need Keep-up, an online tracker for you to record and analyse data (available from Autumn 2021) and support to match children’s secure phonic knowledge to the appropriate decodable reading books.
  • On-demand, high quality whole school online training.

Firstly thank you for your membership! Your Super User will have received a Next steps email from us containing important things you need to do before your membership will be marked as active. Super Users should check Junk folders for this Next steps email in case it’s hopped in there by accident.

  1. Click on the link in the Next steps email to book your Welcome Zoom – this should be attended by your Super User (who in most cases will be your Reading Leader) and preferably your Headteacher also
  2. If you did not include a PO number on your order form our finance team will also need to get in touch with your named finance contact to get this in place.

With the above two steps sorted, your membership will be made live and you can start enjoying your Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised content!

Website

Firstly welcome and thank you for your membership! In your My Letters and Sounds account area content is organised in six main sections.

Getting started – it won’t surprise you to hear that’s this is where we recommend you start! Our short video and accompanying downloads provide a detailed introduction to setting up to use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.

Weekly content – we think of this as the engine room as it’s where you’ll find termly overviews, templates and plans for every lesson. Make sure you scroll right to the bottom of the page to find your Reading session videos and downloads. We’ve also added links here to our videos and other resources to help you organise your word cards.

Striving for excellence – if you’re looking for Foundations for phonics content this is where you’ll find it. We also have contributions from Professor Kate Cain on Developing vocabulary and Professor Teresa Cremin on Developing a reading for pleasure culture in your school.

Assessment – guidance, mark sheets and the assessments themselves can all be found in this section, plus detailed FAQs. Your assessment tracker is accessed via a separate website which your Super User will be sent a password for.

Whole school CPD – you’ll find a treasure trove of training materials here including your whole-school CPD consisting of six modules with accompanying questions. Once all your staff have completed their modules your Reading leader will be able to request your whole school CPD report. Also in this section you’ll find 96 How to videos modelling every aspect of teaching and your Reader leader support area with a full programme of webinars.

Engaging parents – you’ll find guidance on Engaging parents in this section; if you’d like to share videos and downloads directly with parents you can send them a link to the For parents page which is a public link outside of the membership area.

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a collaboration between schools based in London and the Midlands. Our videos have been made by teachers and pupils at both schools, which explains the difference in pronunciation for some sounds. Please refer to the three How to say your sounds downloads in the For Parents section for more detail.

Resources

Update on availability of resources Friday 14th January

All of the individual readers and the readers set are in stock.

The classroom resources are all in stock, except for:
Grapheme Cards for Reception: Phases 2 and 3 and Word Cards and Tricky Word Cards for Reception: Phase 3 which we are expecting stock of on 25th January
Grapheme Chart for Year 1: Phases 2, 3 and 5 will be back in stock from the 17th January.

Please be aware that due to the high level of orders for Little Wandle readers and resources, it will take 5-7 working days from when the order is placed for in stock items to arrive.

We provide regular general updates on delivery times in this FAQs section.

If you have any questions about your school’s order in particular  please contact Collins Primary directly.

No, we won’t be producing a tricky word map.

We believe that children learn the words by where they are on the mat rather than by thinking about the sounds in the words and remembering the tricky bit.

Also the tricky words do not remain tricky as children learn more of the alphabetic code. So you would have to keep on changing the tricky words as the code grows.

Ideally the child would say the word, sound it out, think what bit is tricky and then have a go at that bit. The effort makes it memorable, just copying the word doesn’t move it into the long term memory.

Last term we picked up an issue with the Grow the code chart and the Keep-Up guides which Collins have now rectified.

Orders placed on the Keep Up Teachers Guides and the Year 1 grapheme chart from the 4th November should be correct when supplied. If you ordered before this date you should have been contacted by Collins with your corrected pages for the Teacher Guides and your missing ‘ie’ sticker if you ordered direct from Collins.

If your school ordered direct from Collins and hasn’t received them please contact Collins directly.

A number of schools have contacted us worried that they are missing some word cards. When we have investigated further this has turned out to be a misunderstanding about independent reading versus teacher-led blending.

Our Independent reading is done using the pre-made word cards.

Our Teacher-led blending is done by using the large grapheme cards to make the word.

Members can find guidance on this in:

  • Templates in the Weekly content section
  • Prompt cards purchased from Collins
  • Teacher-led blending video in the How to videos area

Yes. Through our partnership with HarperCollins we’re delighted to be offering 120 full decodable books matched exactly to our progression. The readers feature an exciting mix of stories and non-fiction to foster a love of reading in all children. A set is available which includes one copy of each of the 120 readers with a built-in discount of 20%. You can browse books and look inside at this link.

Once you have purchased books you can download the word lists for each book at this link. Print them off, cut them up and use them during your pre-read to help children gain fluency and confidence. 

All your daily teaching materials are available to download as part of your membership. In addition we have grapheme, prompt and tricky word cards, wall friezes, grapheme mats and teacher guides available to purchase, through our partnership with HarperCollins.

An easy-buy pack of resources is available with 30% discount. Please see the HarperCollins website at this link for more information and to purchase your resources.

Under the Copyright Licensing Agency licence for schools you can photocopy up to one chapter or 5% of a book. The other resources will not be covered by this license and should not be photocopied.

Your Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised membership includes downloadable weekly content for every phonics lesson for Reception and Year 1. Take a look at examples of Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 5 weekly content plans.

The card length is dictated by the size of the word. Some letters take up more space than others so the number of letters on a short card can differ.

We would suggest you do two piles for shuffle time. Shuffle the short cards and read those and then shuffle the long cards and do those. It’s a good way of focusing on the chunking method with longer words anyway. If you only have one longer card, keep that to the side/on your lap,  and pop it in the pack at random after you have shuffled.

No we won’t be creating PowerPoints as they are not part of our pedagogy. Our programme uses direct instruction and assessment for learning to ensure that children are being taught what they need to be taught in the moment. We want to empower teachers to teach and our physical resources do that.

We have created guidance and a look-up tool to support organisation of Review word cards (which are needed across various teaching weeks). Members can find these resources in the Weekly content section of the website.

We have also made two quick films to support members to organise  word cards for the week, and then by the day. We are continually looking for ways to support members to use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised as effectively as possible and will create more resources as appropriate.

You can find members’ own organisation ideas on our Twitter and Instagram channels @LettersSounds.

Teaching and organisation

The reason that there are no actions to teach the sounds is that we want the children to think about the sounds and blending them together. When movements are introduced these become the thing that children are thinking about rather than the sounds and blending.

We don’t have catchphrases for Phase 5 GPCs as we don’t want to overload children with additional information that is not needed.

We use the Grow the code chart to help children link the new Phase 5 GPCs to the Phase 2 or 3 GPCs and their mnemonic or catchphrase. We want our children to focus on the grapheme and what sound it makes, so we only think about that.

We do have a word linked to each Phase 5 GPC that you can refer to. For example /oa/ as in snow, these are on the back of the Phase 5 grapheme cards.

We have guidance and an interactive look-up in the Weekly content section of the website to support members to find and organise the Review words cards. The same Review word cards are needed at various points throughout the year and these resources help members to easily see the first time each word is used, and then each week it is needed subsequently.

We share our own and member photos of organisation ideas on our social media channels – find us on Twitter and Instagram @LettersSounds

Reading and handwriting

Yes, we have resources outside the paywall on how to select decodable books and matching existing Collins Primary Letters and Sounds decodable readers to our progression as far as possible. You can find those resources here.

Once you are in membership we provide more detailed, ongoing guidance as part of your Getting started and Reading Leader support.

Reading practice sessions are in groups of ideally six children but could run to 10 children if they are all at the same level. These sessions are timetabled three times a week and taught by a trained adult.

Children practise reading in books matched to their secure phonic knowledge when reading words. In most cases this means you will have several groups of children in your class on different books. A set of six books should be adequate for a one-form entry school. Larger schools will need more books.

Initially the GPCs in the Phase 2 books are cumulative and the children should be given them in order. Children should start reading practice sessions once they are able to blend. As this happens at different times for children, some children will begin reading practice sessions sooner than others. Any child who cannot blend needs additional blending practice every day until they can blend and can begin reading practice sessions.

From Phase 3, the books contain all the GPCs taught at that phase and so any book in that set can be used. This means you can run several groups at the same reading level as there are plenty of books at every level and they can be used in any order. Members can find some ideas for reading practice timetables in the Reading Leader webinar 1 section of the website.

Ofsted has been trained to understand what matching decodable books to children’s secure phonics knowledge at reading words looks like. They know that it looks like children reading books with GPCs that they have secured in word reading e.g. that they were taught and can read fluently. It does not look like children reading books with GPCs that they have learnt that day or that week. That knowledge is not secure. The correct level for instructional teaching is 90% fluency. This is decoding one word in ten; the rest should be fluent.

Children gain fluency in reading these GPCs in words through practice in the Revisit and review part of the lesson which moves the children’s knowledge of the GPCs and application in words into their orthographic store. They also practise the GPCs in words in short sentences that they read every day in the Practise and apply part of the lesson. This repeated practice and retrieval helps children get to the point of being able to read the appropriate books with fluency so they are reading at a level of success and not frustration.

The books children practise with are matched so that they get lots of successful practice and become fluent in reading them. The cognitive load of sentence reading is far higher than word reading. Our progression and books go far beyond just teaching the GPCs, we ensure children can read multi-syllabic words, compound words and words with suffixes, the books match this too.

You should check that your children are fully fluent before you stop using the Big Cat for Little Wandle decodable books.

Our final assessment checks children’s progress and also matches them to the final set of our Phase 5 books (set 5). Make sure your children can read these books fluently and with understanding before you move off the programme.

Group practise sessions can begin in Reception as soon as children are able to blend. These sessions should be short and sweet, 10 minutes maximum, to start with and build up in length as the books become longer and more complex.

Children who are not blending yet should have daily additional blending practise with a trained adult. This should take 10 minutes too. Schools will organise these sessions in a variety of ways according to their staffing levels. Our Reading Leader webinars and Welcome Zoom will equip you to make these choices.

We teach letter formation using our formation phrases, which make a link between the mnemonic and the letter. As per the Department for Education guidance we do not teach cursive.

We encourage schools to also make time to teach handwriting outside the phonics lesson. Use our Phase 2 grapheme information sheets to remind you of the letter formation phrase and pronunciation phrase for each grapheme. Autumn 1 sounds, Autumn 2 sounds, Spring 1 sounds, How to write capital letters.

Once your children have established letter formation please use your school handwriting policy/programme to teach handwriting.

 

EYFS and Year 2

We have integrated Phase 6 throughout much of the programme as children need to be able to read words in the past and progressive tenses and with the suffixes in Phase 6 so that they can read fully decodable books that have a normal syntax and are not constrained by a restriction on verb tenses. For this reason we have included many suffixes in Phase 6 in the programme so children have ben taught to read the words before the meet them in the books.

As reading and spelling are reversible processes, and because we teach spelling alongside reading, children will learn to spell words with these suffixes too. However, we know that spelling is harder than reading and so we would expect schools to continue teaching spelling by applying the alphabetic code and rules about suffixes in Year 2 as detailed in the National Curriculum.

Our Foundations for phonics section includes a guidance document and video that explore how to support language development, story reading, phonological awareness and oral blending in Nursery. We also include Prompt cards that explain how to play the oral blending games and we will be growing a bank of videos to support those games.

We make a strong start teaching phonics in Reception so all children get to learn to read quickly. This is recommended by Ofsted and the Department for Education.

More importantly, we want children to learn to read as a priority. Phase 1 is not a prerequisite for children progressing to Phase 2 where they begin to learn the sounds that letters make.

We teach oral blending in every lesson in every phase as we know it remains an important part of blending words to read. The initial phonics lessons are lively short lessons that will take 10 minutes. They will help your children learn the routines and are full of fun. We play an oral blending game every day to start with. Schools across the country start teaching phonics in this way every year and find it really helps children settle in.

CPD

If your school has already done the DfE accredited training your staff only need to do the following Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised training. All CPD is available in the membership area of the website as on-demand video for maximum convenience.

Module 1 – staff need only complete Your details part 2 so that we have information about the role and year group for each person to include within your training report (Your details part 1 is pre-populated and should not be edited). Please note that Once staff reach page 3 of Module 1 they can skip to the end and press submit. They do not need to complete any of the assessment questions and this will not affect their results.

Module 4 – complete in full.

Module 6 – complete in full.

 

 

Your school membership package for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised includes comprehensive on-demand online training consisting of six modules and access to a whole school training report. The six modules take around five hours to complete in total and can be done a module at a time if required.

Membership also includes ongoing CPD supported by a practice map which identifies exactly what your teachers need to practise to improve the teaching of phonics and reading.

There will be no immediate changes to the current DfE Letters and Sounds online training programme delivered by the validated Letters and Sounds English Hubs. The training is based on the Key features of effective phonics practice which are the foundations of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. You can continue to book this training.

If your school has taken part in the training in or since Summer term 2020 and you wish to make Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised your validated programme, you will be entitled to £200 off your first year’s membership. The CPD element of the package includes two additional modules of training, which you will need to do in order to teach our new programme.

In a very small number of cases members have advised that they cannot see our CPD modules or the questions underneath them. Our videos are embedded from Vimeo and our questions are on an embedded Google Form.

If you are having trouble viewing these the most likely reasons are:

  • You are working on an older browser version which may need updating.
  • Your school’s IT department has an adblocker in place which is blocking all embeds (including our videos). If that is the case you should ask them to whitelist our website.

We are working on upgrades to how the CPD area of the website works. In the meantime please keep your own written note as you complete each Module and let your Reading Leader know when you have completed them all.