It’s me, Debbie, writing to describe this very exciting development – the availability of the Wand Phonics body of work – an interactive, digital platform created by Wand Education in collaboration with Phonics International Ltd.
If you have any questions about accessing/purchasing the Wand Phonics digital platform, please contact Jane Webb on 03335 776434 (UK representative of the company Wand Education).
Wand Phonics provides full audio throughout: for the instructions and the various phonics activities including the smallest sounds of speech (the phonemes) of the alphabetic code, sounding out and blending of the cumulative words, oral segmenting of picture-words for spelling, and the audio for 226 cumulative texts!
Being able to provide full audio and interactivity for supporting teaching (also contributing to training teachers and teaching assistants), for learning, and for informing and sharing with parents and carers on their mobile devices, is pretty much the dream of a phonics-programme author and consultant like me!
There is ongoing, automatic assessment for nine out of the thirteen bite-sized phonics activities of each routine ‘teaching and learning cycle’ of the 120 lessons (the lessons are ‘chunked’ into ten colour-coded groups). Teachers can access the results of these activities for each learner. The assessments also reward and inform the learners as they do the activities:
“As a literacy support teacher, I often work with learners who find reading difficult and need little and often practice. Wand Phonics has allowed me to provide that extra practice for learners in a fun and engaging way through a digital platform. These learners can sometimes be resistant to their work as they find it challenging. However, Wand Phonics has been quickly adopted by my learners as a non-threatening way to access work they are already familiar with from their No Nonsense Phonics Skills workbooks. Learners are still ‘learning’, but feel like the pressure has been taken away from them as they know throughout each activity, Debbie is audibly there to guide them. Learners delight in telling me how many ‘stars’ they have earned as they experience success throughout the programme.“
Schools investing in the annual licence (only £99 + VAT) can set their pupils’ homes up to access the digital platform. Not only can the children undertake the ‘teaching and learning cycle’ phonics activities in their home, parents and carers can learn EXACTLY what is meant by the ‘letter/s-sound correspondences’ (the alphabetic code), they can hear the sounds, see correct letter formation (linked to the sounds), learn about the core phonics skills: decoding (sounding out and blending for reading) and encoding (orally identifying the sounds from beginning to end and allotting letters and letter groups for spelling) and their various phonics sub-skills (print-to-sound for reading, sound-to-print for spelling).
Wand Phonics may be particularly supportive of teachers and teaching assistants new to phonics provision and the many complexities of the English alphabetic code, and also very supportive of teachers, learners and parents in contexts where English is being taught as a new or additional language.
The letter/s-sound correspondences of the alphabetic code are introduced as both lower case and capital letters. Learners can do the activities and use the audio to ‘check’ or ‘re-teach’ – therefore revising and embedding the schools’ provision of phonics. In each ‘teaching and learning cycle’, the activities range from code, to word, to texts – and progress to raise awareness of spelling word banks (words spelt with the same letter/s-sound correspondences).
Teachers may choose to use the digital platform for their ‘teacher-led’ introductions to the new or focus code. Alternatively, teachers may choose to use Wand Phonics only for school to home information and support. Consider its use in homes where the parents and carers themselves do not speak English well or at all. Think how helpful Wand Phonics will be with its full audio and interactive phonics practice – including cumulative, decodable texts in printed form and with audio of the texts provided:
“I use Wand Phonics to introduce my pupils to their new letter/sound correspondence each week. The pupils really look forward to this part of their literacy routine. The children are engaged and really benefit from the consistency in the matching of the online programme to their No Nonsense Phonics Skills workbooks in class. The audio that accompanies the programme is inspired. It leaves no misunderstanding or confusion about correct pronunciation or how tasks should be carried out by the pupils. The pupils particularly enjoy seeing their progress as they are awarded stars for each correctly completed activity. As a teacher, I love the opportunity Wand Phonics provides for overlearning and consolidation of classwork. Importantly, Wand Phonics allows parents to be involved in their child’s learning and support them at home too.”
I could say this is like the ‘cherry on the bun’ or the ‘final piece of the puzzle’ or something corny like that – but what Wand Phonics amounts to is providing yet further options for teachers, tutors and parents to support their ‘systematic synthetic phonics’ provision for training, teaching and learning purposes – and for aspiring to work in partnership with those at ‘home’.
I’ve designed the Wand Phonics content, routines and terminology to align with the order of introducing the letter/s-sound correspondences of the alphabetic code, and the key-picture words mnemonic system (aids to memory), of the DfE-validated No Nonsense Phonics (Skills) hard copy programme and the free DfE-validated Phonics International programme provided online for all ages (particularly the first 6 Units of 12 Units of resources), and our series of Phonics Reading Books (at the time of posting this, we are building up our range of this reading book series).
Wand Phonics is another truly fit-for-purpose body of work with no extraneous ‘pink and fluffy’ games and activities. This is not an entertainment programme – there are plenty of those that exist already. No, this is a very sensible, complementary or supplementary resource worth investigating (Wand Education provides a free 14 day trial) if schools are already using, or planning to use, either No Nonsense Phonics and/or Phonics International.
The key-picture words in Wand Phonics also align with the key picture-words of our wide range of free Alphabetic Code Charts.
Wand Phonics is really a comprehensive phonics programme in its own right – but I am personally adamant that the very best practice of all for learners includes use and ownership of fit-for-purpose, cumulative content (code, words, texts) as tangible, paper-based resources (if possible) involving plenty of handwriting. Teachers who are already familiar with my phonics programmes will know what I mean when I refer to ‘Say the Sounds Posters’, ‘Activity Sheets’ and ‘Cumulative Plain Texts’ (for reading, writing, spelling and illustrating). The beauty of No Nonsense Phonics, Phonics International and Wand Phonics is their level of support for training, teaching, learning, informing – and the great flexibility afforded to busy teachers and their learners’ needs.
Here is a useful, overview of the range of the ready-made resources (for example, frieze, flash cards, sounds mats and so on) provided by Phonics International Ltd which can be used with No Nonsense Phonics, Phonics International and Wand Phonics.
Well, I may as well add links to our free handwriting resources and guidance at the Debbie Hepplewhite Handwriting site…
…and our range of free nursery resources at our Phonics International Preschool site!
If you have any questions about any of these programmes and their resources, or would like to provide some feedback about their use, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please contact Jane Webb (UK representative of Wand Education) if you have any questions or problems accessing/purchasing the Wand Phonics digital platform via this number: