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Reading and Phonics


It is our intention that all children will be fluent and confident readers who choose to read for pleasure. A love of books and an enthusiasm for Reading are precious and important at St. Mary’s.  Staff understand that there is a correlation between children who read for pleasure and life success (socio-economic background should not be a barrier). Phonics is emphasised in the early stages of Reading as staff are aware of the importance of being able to decode with automaticity. 


Secure Phonics knowledge should also go hand in hand with effective modelling of comprehension skills.  Children at St. Mary’s are exposed to a variety of genre through shared reading and guided reading in order to develop their vocabulary and foster their love of Reading, as well as preparing them for the demands of Secondary school and beyond.


  • To develop happy, healthy and curious learners who read confidently and independently
  • To begin to develop lifelong enjoyment and pleasure in reading
  • To enable children to access all areas of the curriculum
  • To enable children to access, understand and begin to manage information
  • To begin to understand the meaning of what is read to them and what they read
  • To begin to respond to what they read; to say whether they like or don’t like it and why
  • To begin to understand and respond to the feelings that words can arouse in us like happiness, sadness, anger
  • To begin to understand that this experience allows us to make connections with other people
  • To walk through doors to the past, to the future, and to other worlds both real and imagined

As a community of readers, we expect all teaching staff to model and communicate their love of reading. Here are some of the ways that we do this:

  • Teachers reading to their class (our aim is for 10 minutes every day)
  • Shared and guided reading (daily)
  • Reading with individual children
  • Talking about and reviewing books with children
  • Whole school events to promote reading e.g. Book Week



The school follows the systematic, synthetic approach laid out in Letters and Sounds (DfE 2007).    From LEYs until the end of Year Two children have a daily phonics lesson.  In year three GPC’s are revised.  In Nursery  children are taught Phase One of Letters and Sounds  ‘with the intention of teaching young children important basic elements of the Letters and Sounds programme such as oral segmenting and blending of familiar words’ ( Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics Primary National Strategy, 2007).  During lessons in EYs and KS1 previous phonemes are revised, new phonemes are introduced and then children apply their new learning.  Common exception words are also explicitly taught. Those children who still need support with reading or children who are new to the school/language also have ‘Phonics Booster’ classes.

Children have a range of opportunities to develop their phonics skills in class throughout the curriculum. Speaking, listening, reading and writing activities will be developed which allow them to explore and practice their phonic knowledge, blending and segmenting skills independently.

Whole School Reading Scheme:

We follow the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. Please click here for further information.








Please click here for a copy of our Reading and Phonics Policy

Please click here for a copy of the DFE's Letters and Sounds guidance

Click here for free Letters and Sounds resources

Click here for Mr T's Phonics You Tube videos to help you practice your phonics at home!

Click here for the Primary English National Curriculum.


Grammar and vocabulary work is taught purposefully, in context, so that it can be used in the identified outcomes. Activities are used to revisit and consolidate learning as necessary.

Along with the focus on grammar and vocabulary development to ensure effective and accurate writing, the high-quality texts provide models and scaffolds so that children are enabled to make independent choices about how they write and the effect they wish to create. Pupils are given time to write, evaluate, redraft and proof-read their extended pieces of writing using given prompts appropriate to their needs. This is often done alongside teacher and peer support.


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