St Mary's

Catholic Primary School

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Phonics and Reading

Phonics and Reading at St Mary's

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

Dr Seuss

Parents Briefing 2020 Phonics and Early Reading

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Parent video: How to say the sounds

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At St Mary’s, we want all children to be equipped with the skills and confidence to become fluent, accurate and enthusiastic readers. We want to establish good phonetic knowledge in KS1 so that children can develop a love of reading as they progress through KS2. Through precise phonics teaching and assessment, your child is able to make good progress through our phonics scheme during their early years, and any gaps in their knowledge are closed quickly and effectively. Through choosing quality texts, we intend to develop a love of reading and allow children to recognise the pleasure they can get from their reading, as well as understanding that reading allows them to discover new knowledge, revisit prior knowledge and understand more about what they learn, igniting their imagination for ideas to use in their own work. We provide opportunities for reading across the curriculum to help pupils to know more, remember more and understand more to help them reach their potential at our school and beyond.



  • The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout our Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. Phonics is taught daily to all children in the Foundation Stage, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, or still need practice to resolutely secure their decoding skills.
  • Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Every morning, daily phonics is delivered, in bespoke small groups, based on assessment outcomes, to ensure that every child is taught at the correct stage of their phonics learning to maximise progress. Every afternoon, daily phonics is taught in Year 1 and the children are grouped according to their phonics stage of learning.The Year 2 children who did not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 also attend the afternoon sessions.
  • Staff ensure the application of phonics is taught across all subjects - embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers.
  • Interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels.
  • Read Write Inc. (RWI) reading resources are used as the spine for the delivery of the phonics sessions. RWI is visual, audial and kinesthetic - thus increasing the likelihood of rapid progress.
  • Pupils are given reading books which closely match the phase of phonics that they are currently working in. For children on the RWI programme, they are given a storybook the same level that they are working in and the book that they have read that week in their RWI group.
  • Assessments take place within every half term, and phonics groups are adjusted accordingly, to ensure all children are working at their correct phonics level for rapid progress to be made. 


  • Reading forms the core of our curriculum. All children read and are read to so that they develop a love of reading. Books are selected by teachers with the knowledge of how they link to other areas of the curriculum.
  • Reading Scheme - we use a variety of different reading schemes to provide a wide assortment of appropriate and quality texts for children to read covering all genres. The schemes incorporated into our reading provision include Oxford Reading Tree, Project X and some of the Doncaster 100 Recommended Reads by children. All books are Book Banded in order to ensure progression and challenge for all children.
  • Class Texts - all children will have classic texts read to them in all year groups. This may include traditional fairy tales / rhymes in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One to established novels in Key Stage Two.
  • Benchmarking - when children complete the RWI scheme, Benchmarking is used to ensure children are reading appropriately challenging books. This takes place every half term. To encourage a love of reading, children can independently choose a book from a variety of Book Banded books and change / re-read the books as often as they wish.
  • Individual reading - all children in the Foundation Stage read individually to a trained adult every week. Throughout the school, the children who are reading below age-related expectations will read 1 to 1 with an adult as a form of intervention.
  • Home reading - all children are expected to read at least three times a week at home and take home 'home' reading books from a selection of Book Banded books. All children in Foundation Stage 2, Year 1 and those children in Year 2 who are still accessing the RWI scheme, take home two phonetically plausible books closely matched to their phonics level: a familiar read and a new read. Children in Key Stage Two who did not pass the Phonics Screening Check take home two reading books - a familiar read and a new read.
  • Reciprocal Reading - all children, from Year 2 (once off the RWI programme) take part in Reciprocal Reading sessions. These 30 minute daily sessions use clarifying, questionning, summarising and predicting techniques that enable children to comprehend the meaning of what they read and develop an understanding of the vocabulary used by authors.
  • Reading areas - all classes have reading areas with subject specific books and other age-appropriate reading for pleasure books. The outside classroom has a box of reading books that children can access at break and lunch times.
  • Library - all classes are timetabled to visit the school library on a weekly basis to encourage reading for pleasure.
  • Class Dojos - all classes use the Dojo point system to encourage home reading.


Children will have a love of reading and make at least good progress in reading form their last starting point of statutory assessment, or from their starting point in Foundation Stage 1. Children will use their reading skills as a key tool in helping them to learn, and as a result, know more, remember more and understand more to help them reach their potential at our school and beyond.

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