Early Reading and Phonics

Be a reader          Be a writer         Be a communicator


At St Mary’s, we deeply understand that teaching children to read is one of the most important duties of our school- one that necessitates a foundation of knowledge on which learning can be based and one which allows children to access the joy and fulfillment that the written word has to offer.

We thrive for children to develop a love for reading which fuels pupils' imagination and unlocks a treasury of wonder and joy for curious young minds.  We showcase the best of great authors through time by representing our diverse community.


“The more that you read, the more you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” Dr Suess





At St Mary’s we teach our children the fundamental skills for reading. We understand the importance of reading for their academic achievements but also understand the significance in the culture of reading at our school. We share high quality texts with our children to enrich their language and vocabulary. We open a world of imagination and interpretation through reading a range of stories, poems…We provide children with the opportunities to respond to books to strengthen their ability to reflect and understand the text on a deeper level. We teach synthetic Phonics Read Write Inc  so our children can independently decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy. Our teaching develops the children's competence in both aspects of reading; word reading and comprehension. We prioritise children's early reading through ensuring we model reading to support children with their expression and confidence.We cherish reading as our special time to share a book together.


Our children are immersed in high quality texts from day one, key vocabulary is explicitly taught to enable us to close the word gap for our most vulnerable pupils. 

Exposed to a wealth of high quality texts and engaging reading experiences, feeding their imagination and instilling a lifelong love of reading. Through our famous 5 books in EYFS children become immersed in text through action and repetition. Poetry is of equal value, the high quality poems through the poetry engage and ignite a passion for poetry in Early Years.




Learning to read begins with a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics, which continues through Reception into Key Stage One (and into Key Stage two where appropriate). The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. At St Mary’s, we use the Read, Write Inc Programme which provides a highly structured and effective approach. Every member of staff in school has been trained to deliver high quality phonics lessons. Staff teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them.


All children in Reception, KS1 and, where necessary, KS2 have daily phonics sessions in small groups where they participate in speaking, listening, spelling and reading activities that are matched to their current needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Timely intervention through 1-1 tutoring is planned for those children who require additional support as soon as their needs are identified.

Carefully mapped high quality texts across the year groups to promote our love of reading. We display this through ensuring a range of books are accessible for all children in their learning environment.




As a result of Early Reading teaching our pupils will…

Be able to decode accurately to unlock words by progressing through our phonics programme.

Will develop into fluent, confident readers and read with prosody and expression.

Be able to answer retrieval and inference questions effectively to demonstrate comprehension.

To develop an independence in reading and to enjoy for pleasure.

To read aloud with confidence and be able to recite poetry.





  • Every child will visit the local library at least once a year.
  • Every child in school will be a member of the local library.
  • Reading with SLT regularly to celebrate their achievements.
  • Reading Raffle for pupils who read at least 4 times at home during the week. 
  • Hot chocolate reading cafe.
  • At least 1 Author will be invited into school per year.


Our Reading Offer


Shared with

parents/carers, every child will be heard read by an adult a minimum of 4 times a week.

All vulnerable pupils

will be heard read by an adult in school a minimum of 4 times a week.

Every pupil in every

class will hear a class story each week.

High quality reading spine is planned for each year group which includes poetry, bame authors, famous authors, stories from other cultures.

Every child in every

class will use the school library to take a book home.

Each classroom will

have a specific,

engaging area for pupils to read in.

All vulnerable pupils

will be heard read a minimum of 3 times a week by an adult.

All pupils will be a member of the local library and make a visit during the year.

All pupils will have

books that they can take home to read.

All pupils will have a

home/school reading


RWI will be

used to teach Phonics

from EY until pupils are ready to move onto the CUSP reading spine.

Weekly Reading Assemblies to promote the love of reading




Read, Write, Inc.


We are committed to improving standards in Reading, Phonics and Writing within our school..

We teach the highly successful Read Write Inc as we are dedicated to ensuring that every child is able to read by the end of Key Stage 1.  All of our staff have received Ruth Miskin Training and as a school we are consistently working towards raising standards in reading and writing for our children. 

Our Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children have daily Read, Write, Inc. sessions and we will support our most vulnerable readers with extra one–to–one teaching every day.  Children with gaps in their phonic knowledge, reading, writing or fluency in Key Stage 2 will also be supported through high quality Read, Write, Inc. teaching and intervention.

To find out more about the programme and for information about how to support your child at home Learning to read at home click on the following links;


We use the Read Write Inc Phonics programme as soon as the children start in Reception and this will continue through until they are reading fluently. The teaching of this programme is a method of learning centred around letter sounds and phonics, blending them together to read and write words and using these learnt sounds in their reading and writing.

Using Read Write Inc phonics the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read.   It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put their energy into composing what they write.

The children are assessed and grouped according to their ability. They will work with a teacher or teaching assistant on the Read Write Inc phonics programme. The children will be assessed regularly by the early reading lead Miss Day and will then be put into new groups. In addition to the Read Write Inc programme the children will also be working on writing skills in their classes with their own class teacher to continue to develop their skills further.

The sound that the children are taught are split into sets. They are listed here:


Phonics Screening Check

In Year 1, children undertake a phonics screening check which is a tool to assess children’s knowledge and understanding in their reading skills. There are 40 words to read; 20 real words and 20 pseudo (nonsense) words. Children sit 1:1 with an adult and are not timed as they read these words. Children are expected to hit a pass mark and those who do not reach that mark are able to retake the test in Year 2.


More information can be found on these useful links;


How to help your child at home

Children learn in a variety of ways but the key element to anything they do is fun. Playing games with children both in and out of the house will allow children to develop their recognition in their own environments. Write words and sounds in flour, sand, rice. When a child is playing a home, always leave a pen and paper in reach for them to write something to go alongside their creative play. There are lots of fantastic websites and apps to support your child when learning phonics as well as videos and programme which will help apply and consolidate what they have learnt at school.

  • YouTube- Alphablocks (also an app)

  • Phonics Play website and app

  • Teach your monster to read website and app

  • Phonics Bloom website


The most important way of helping your child at home is to read. Reading is a fundamental skill in your child’s education, and reading just 20 minutes a day can develop and make a huge impact on their education.

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