St Mary's

Catholic Primary School

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Phonics and Reading at St Mary's Catholic Primary School

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

Dr Seuss


Every child deserves success right from the start. We know that the sooner children learn to read, the greater their success at school. This is why we put reading at the heart of what we do.


We use a programme called Read Write Inc. Phonics to teach our children to read. Some children complete the programme in Year 1 and others in Year 2. Year 3 and 4 children who need extra support follow this programme too.


As a school, we teach synthetic phonics as the initial, and most important, approach to the teaching of reading. Our pupils learn to read and write effectively using the Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonics Programme. RWI is a systematic programme for the teaching of phonics and reading.


As a school, we want to teach children to:

  • Decode texts effortlessly so they can build skills to be used to comprehend what they read.
  • To use their phonic knowledge to spell effortlessly so they can concentrate on the writing they are creating.
  • To enable children to be enthusiastic readers and lifelong readers.
  • Read common exception words on sight.
  • Read aloud with fluency and expression.


The RWI programme is delivered to:

  • Pupils in EYFS to Year 2 who are learning to read and write.
  • Any pupils in Years 2, 3 and 4 who need to catch up rapidly.
  • Struggling readers in Years 5 and 6 who need extra support.


Pupils are taught to work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. This provides the teacher with opportunities to assess learning and to pick up on difficulties, such as pupils’ poor articulation, or problems with blending or alphabetic code knowledge.


We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading rather than their writing. This is because it is known that pupils’ progress in writing will lag behind progress in reading, especially for those whose motor skills are less well developed.


In Reception, we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily. Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings (common exception words).


We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.


Alongside this, teachers regularly read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils.


Embedding the alphabetic code early on means that pupils quickly learn to write simple words and sentences. We encourage them to compose each sentence aloud until they are confident to write independently. We make sure they write every day. Pupils write at the level of their spelling knowledge. The quality of the vocabulary they use in their writing reflects the language they have heard in the books the teacher has read to them; they have also discussed what the words mean.



The RWI scheme advocates that lessons should be delivered using the 5 Ps:

  • Pace – good pace is essential to the lesson
  • Praise/Positive Teaching – children learn more effectively in a positive climate
  • Purpose – every part of the lesson has a specific purpose
  • Participation - a strong feature of RWI lessons is partner work (based on research which states that we learn 70% of what we talk about with our partner)
  • Passion – this is a very prescriptive programme. It is the energy, enthusiasm and passion that group leaders put into the lesson that bring the teaching and learning to life!



After two years of implementation, it is expected that:

  • Reception children will be able to read Green Storybooks by the end of the summer term.
  • Year 1 children will be able to read Blue Storybooks by the end of the summer term.
  • Year 2 children will have completed the Phonics programme by the end of the spring term.

We have high expectations for our children to meet the expected standard in the Phonic Screening Check, and help all children to be accurate and fluent readers by the time they enter Key Stage 2.

English National Curriculum

Useful Links:

Phonics and early reading:

Ruth Miskin's Website for Home Learning help through School Closure

Phonics Lessons on Facebook

Phonics Lessons on Youtube

Films and Resources


Oxford Owl at Home has:

  • 72 free eBooks matched to Read Write Inc Phonics Storybooks
  • 62 Speed Sounds practice sheets
  • 28 Ditty practice sheets
  • Parent Information Booklets
  • 8 Speedy Green Word sheets


Reading for all:

Free eBook Library - Oxford Owl has a free book collection developed for 3 - 11 year olds. 

Epic Digital Library - access to loads of free digital books.

Primary Reading Games

KS1 Crickweb

KS2 Crickweb

Primary Reading Games

Doncaster Stories  

Storytime with Nick Cannon - well-loved stories published each week.

Goodnight with Dolly - daily storytelling at 7:00pm.


Elevenses with the world of David Walliams

Literacy Shed

Love Reading 4 Kids

Poetry be heart

The Children's Poetry Archive

The Daily Newspaper

Storytime Online - book read by their authors


Useful Resources:

Our Reading Strategies