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Reading and Phonics Information

The new draft National Curriculum for English clearly states that ‘reading widely and often increases pupils’ understanding and vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. It also opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds’. We aim to foster a love of reading in each and every child in this school. Our ultimate aim is for the children to become confident and independent readers with high levels of enjoyment, understanding and comprehension.


  • To provide all children with a stimulating range of fiction and non fiction texts.
  • To teach a variety of approaches to reading and a range of strategies, including phonics, whole word recognition, picture and contextual clues to make sense of text.
  • To encourage children to become independent and reflective readers who are able to develop their own personal tastes.
  • To provide daily opportunities for reading (shared, guided, individual).
  • To encourage and support daily home reading.
  • To regularly monitor home reading records.


Read Write Inc. phonics programme (a synthetic phonics approach)

The children will:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/ letter groups using simple picture prompts.
  • learn to read words using sound blending.
  • to write the graphemes.
  • to write words by saying the sounds and spelling out the graphemes.

Speed Sounds Set 1: Consonants and Vowels

m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk

Speed Sounds Sets 2: The long vowels

ay, ee, igh, ow, oo, oo, ar, or, air, ir, ou, oy

Speed Sounds Set 3: The long vowels

ea, oi, a-e, i-e, o-e, u-e, aw, are, ur, er, ow, ai, oa, ew, ire, ear, ure

Reception and KS1

A phonics session takes place four to five times a week. Taught sounds should be reviewed and new sounds taught during these sessions. The phonics lessons involve guided and shared readng sessions.


Phonics is continued through the teaching of spelling rules / patterns linked to National Curriculum spelling expectations.  
Read Write Inc. Fresh Start intervention programme, which involves phonics, is for children who are struggling with Literacy in the Junior classes. There is also the possibility of 1:1 tutoring in phonics for the slowest progressing children.

Once children complete the RWI phonics program they participate in guided reading sessions:

  • Teachers should hear each guided reading group read once a week.
  • Guided reading sessions should take place for 20 minutes after lunch every day.
  • Groups should be organised according to reading ability and grouping should be reviewed half termly.
  • Teachers should ensure that children have access to a range of fiction and non fiction texts.
  • Teachers should keep a record of book reads and children’s progress by using a guided reading tracking grid.     

Basic pattern for guided reading sessions:

  • Introduction to the text
  • Discussing teaching points
  • Reading
  • Discussion and review of teaching points

Reading across the school

Reading in Reception

Reading in the Reception class is introduced through picture books that have no words, The children then move on to a range of reading schemes (for variety) which they take home to read. Parents should ensure they date and sign their child’s reading record.

Children are heard read regularly by a range of adults including teachers, the nursery nurse and parent helpers.

Reading at KS1

The reading remains the same as in Reception. Books are sent home and children are expected to read to an adult for 15 minutes every night. Parents should ensure they sign their child’s reading records to notify class teachers of what has been read (e.g. the whole book, chapters, page numbers).

In addition to being heard by the class teacher, children are often also heard read by LSAs and parent helpers.

Reading at KS2

All pupils have a home/school reading record and books taken home should be recorded in this and read at home. Children in KS2 should write down a brief comment in their reading records commenting on what they have read that day. It is essential that parents listen to their children read aloud, even when they are in the Junior classes.

Teachers should offer guidance on how to choose books and ensure the children are choosing books appropriate for their reading level.

Shared reading

Shared reading should take place during daily Emglish lessons. The teacher should model the reading process and ensure the children are actively involved; listening to the text being read aloud, joining in and following the reading, and contributing to discussion and response. Children will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills they are acquiring in daily word level work. The teacher leads discussion about the text to help children develop their understanding. Children will learn how to interpret and make sense of what they read.

Developing ‘reading for pleasure’

Free choice

Children should be given the opportunity to choose books from the class library, CLPE boxes and topic boxes to take home, in addition to their reading books. This will promote independence and enable children to develop their own preferences and explore their own interests.

Pupil recommendations

Children in each class should be encouraged to recommend books they have encountered and enjoyed outside of school. Teachers should compile a list of these recommendations and pass them on to the Key Stage Leads who will order the books on a half termly basis.

Text types

Children should be encouraged to read a wide variety of text types, including newspapers and magazines. A range of these will be made available for children to read at lunchtime to promote independent reading.

Reading displays

One display board will be dedicated to reading in the Aquinas area which will reflect the current focus of reading (e.g. recommendations, poetry etc.)

Recommended Reading list

Each year group receives a recommended reading list within their first set of homework sent home in September every year.