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Our Learning

Reading and Phonics at Lonsdale


Pupils at Lonsdale School engage in daily reading activities within lessons, in reading clubs or in dedicated reading sessions. All pupils from KS1 to KS4 (and some in KS5) have a reading record. This log is shared between school and home, too, so that parents can also see which books their child has read or is reading. Parents, school staff and pupils have a space to comment in the reading records. These comments can relate to difficult words encountered, reading skills practised or mastered or any other relevant comments which will help the pupil progress further in their reading.

Reading is important across all key stages and is encouraged as part of weekly homework tasks, too.

The Lonsdale School library is visited by all classes as part of English and other lessons throughout the week. Pupils can also use the school library during lunchtimes or self-study times. Our school library hosts a wealth of fiction and non-fiction books as well as various reading schemes like Oxford Reading Tree, Project X or Pearson’s Phonics Bug.

Lonsdale School subscribe to Audible to access a wide range of audio books, too. Audible is accessible on a number of iPads in school and REP.

We are sourcing relevant reading schemes like the Talisman or Totem series, which are targeted at older readers on early reading stages to ensure that older readers at the beginning stages of reading have access to age-appropriate reading materials at suitable reading level.

Pearson’s Bug Club, an all-stage reading and phonics resource is available throughout the school via an annual subscription. All pupils also have home access to a wealth of e-books and reading materials on Bug Club. Please contact the form tutor to receive a Bug-Club home-access login.

Our specialist reading teacher tests our pupils’ vocabulary, reading and comprehension skills annually using standardised tests, such as BPVS, Salford and Suffolk Reading Tests and Reading Now. The reading scores are logged on each pupil’s Individual Learning Plan (ILP), and the reading-test data forms part of the whole-school assessment.


Lonsdale School use the DfE-approved “Little Wandle” programme. It sets out a detailed and systematic approach for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers.

There are five phonic phases. You can see the progression through the programme below. But please note that at Lonsdale pupils will move through the phases in the same sequence but at a speed appropriate to their learning and not necessarily at the stated times.

Please see the video below to find out more about how we support reading and phonics at Lonsdale School: 

For some of our pupils, especially those with hearing or speech impairments, the “Little Wandle” programme may not be the most suitable approach to learning to read. There are other approaches like “Look Say” or the whole-word method, which may be more suitable for some of the Lonsdale learners and are used alongside “Little Wandle”.  Phonics training at Lonsdale School is open to all staff.

ELKLAN training furthermore teaches many strategies and skills in order to encourage more effective speaking, listening and group interaction skills, which will further benefit pupils’ speech, language and communication development.


How to find us

Get in touch

  • Brittain Way, Stevenage
    Hertfordshire, SG2 8UT

  • 01438 726999