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Reading and Phonics

Little Wandle

We use Little Wandle to teach phonics systematically across our EYFS, Primary and Key Stage 3. The resources on this page will help you support your child with saying their sounds and writing their letters. There are also some useful videos so you can see how they are taught at school and feel confident about supporting their reading at home.

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised has been built around the update (Letters and Sounds improving rates of progress 2021) and draws on the excellent practice of both Little Sutton Primary and Chesterton Primary, as well as our work with schools around the country.

Our complete phonics programme also draws 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.

Why does Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised work?

The answer is simple, but very important. Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised reflects the latest evidence-based understanding of how children learn.

What’s the research?

We strongly recommend these two books by leading neuroscientist, Stanislas Dehaene:

  1. Reading in the Brain (Penguin Books, 2010)
  2. How We Learn (Penguin Books, 2021)

These are particularly useful because they give both a detailed background and a clear summary of the latest thinking on how children learn, based on evidence from neuroscience, cognitive psychology and educational research.

For parents | Letters and Sounds (


What is Colourful Semantics?

Colourful semantics is a psycholinguistic approach that is often used to develop children's speech and writing abilities. The technique was developed by Alison Bryan and was first published in a case study [1997] with the child Alison was working with. Colourful Semantics has been described as “a theory that explains how people understand language”. The basic idea behind colourful semantic analysis is simple: we can learn about what someone means when they use words or sentences simply by looking for patterns in their speech.

We do this because there are regularities in our own linguistic behaviour which allow us to predict what will happen next. For example, if I say something like ‘I am going home now’ you know that it probably means that I want to go somewhere else later on. Furthermore, these predictions are not just based on my current state of mind; rather, they reflect an understanding of the way things work generally. This kind of knowledge allows me to make sense of your utterances even though I don't have any direct experience of them myself. In fact, all human communication involves such generalised inferences.

The key point here is that although we may be able to infer meanings from individual instances of language, we cannot rely solely on those inferences.