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Reading and Phonics

Intent: Our aims and how we plan and structure our reading.

At St John the Baptist, we recognise that reading is an essential life skill and believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. Children need to develop good reading skills in order to access information that will support their progression in all curriculum areas.

We also seek to foster a love of reading among our children, recognising that reading for pleasure aids relaxation, well-being and helps children learn about the world around them.

The EYFS Framework states that; “it is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading,” and like the programmes of study for reading at Key Stages 1 and 2 states that reading consist of two dimensions:

• Word reading;
• Comprehension (both listening and reading).

Our teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions.

Our Intent for reading is that our children;

• develop a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment;
• read with confidence, fluency and understanding
• understand a range of text types, media types and genres;
• have a suitable technical vocabulary to respectfully articulate their responses in any discussion.

We aim to foster positive attitudes to reading through carefully designed teaching activities and classroom provision.

Implementation: How we teaching reading


At St John’s we teach phonics through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised phonics programme, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At St John the Baptist, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

The Little Wandle programme is delivered through daily phonics sessions in Reception to Year 2. Children who need additional support are provided with daily “Keep up” sessions by a fully trained staff member.

We follow the Rapid Catch-up programme for children in Year 2 and above who are not reading at the expected level for their age. It mirrors the main phonics programme, but helps children catch up quickly, so has a faster pace. By the end of the Rapid Catch-up programme, children should be reading with enough fluency and accuracy to access the curriculum in class, and to read with enjoyment and understanding.

We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds decodable books and Big Cat phonics scheme books, which follow the phoneme being taught, to ensure children are able to access the text in the book. They also take home a book to be shared with their parents.

Wider Reading

Whole Class Reading Books(Modelling)/Story Time– Staff select high quality texts to share with the class to help engage the children and expose them to the richness of language and vocabulary.

Guided reading – is an interactive reading experience that occurs when the children join in or share the reading of a book or other text while guided and supported by a teacher. The teacher explicitly models the skills of proficient readers, including reading with fluency and expression. This may include ‘Echo’ reading where the teacher reads exactly how text should sound and then children ‘echo’ it back. Guided Reading also involves regular reading comprehension opportunities and ensures that children are immersed in the same high-quality literature and the discussions that these texts promote.

Independent reading – the children are given, or guided to choose, a reading book at the correct level. Books have been colour-coded to ensure that children can independently select a suitable book. After completing this process children are equipped and enabled to self-select appropriate reading materials from home or school.

Library area – our dedicated library provides an area to share and look at books, which the children use regularly in small groups or as a whole class.

Reading areas in the classroom – All classes have a variety of good quality books for the children to look at, read and share.

Reading at home: Above all we want our children to have success at reading and see reading as a pleasurable activity to do with their parent/carer. In Reception and Key Stage 1 our children will bring home two books, one from our reading scheme, which matches the phoneme (sound) being taught. This book should be aimed at 90% fluency for the child i.e that the child can rapidly decode and read fluently nine words out of ten. The second book, is parents/carers to share with their child. In Key Stage 2, children will bring home books from the school or class library.

All children have a Reading Record book to help Parents/ Carers communicate with the school about the reading they have completed at home.

Impact: How we identify children’s progress


Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

Assessment for learning is used during whole class, small group and individual reading and phonics sessions

The Rapid Catch-up assessment is used with any child new to the school in Year 2 and above to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.

Statutory assessment

Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check in the Summer term. Any child not passing the check will continue to work on their phonics during Year 2 and will then re-sit the check during the Summer term in Year 2.

Children in Year 2 and Year 6 complete Statutory Assessments in reading

As evidence for our judgements we use:

  • HFL reading TAFs
  • Regular phonics assessments
  • Assessment during individual, guided and whole class reading sessions
  • Reading test papers (Y2 and KS2)
  • Reading record books
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