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Our Lady and St. Patrick's Catholic Primary School Part of the Stella Maris Catholic Federation

Phonics and Reading

Teaching phonics with 'Letters and Sounds' 

In school, we follow the 'Letters and Sounds' programme for teaching phonics. Children work through the Phonics Phases systematically, from their entry to school.


Typically, children will begin Phase 1 in Nursery and complete Phase 6 in Year 2. However, all children are different and not all children progress at the same rate through the phonics phases. We rigorously track children's progress in phonics, to ensure that all children make progress in reading and writing.


High quality daily phonics lessons in Early Years, through into Key Stage One and even into early Key Stage 2 are the fundamental basis for learning to read and write in a structured and systematic way. 


All children in Year 1 take a statutory test in the summer term, to asses their phonic ability. This is called the 'Year 1 Phonics Screening Check' and more information about this is below, along with supporting information on 'Letters and Sounds'.


Please see the document below, which gives full details of how we teach phonics in school, through Letters & Sounds.

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check - Information for Parents

Children in Year 1 take a screening check in the summer term, to assess their ability to decode words by sounding out and blending.


Please read the document below for full details of what the screening check entails.

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Reading is at the very heart of our curriculum, and is given a very high priority in all classes and year groups, right across school.

From our children's very first days in school, we aim to foster a love of language and reading and, therefore, attach great importance to enabling our children to become fluent readers. All class timetables include daily reading sessions for guided and individual reading, as well as opportunities for story time and quiet reading.


Independent reading takes place on a daily basis to encourage a love of books and reading for pleasure. Children are encouraged to talk about their favourite authors and recommend stories to others. Whole class reading sessions cover all the skills of prediction, clarification, questioning and summary as well as overall comprehension of a text.


Across school, children will experience a wide range of authors and text types and will regularly hear books being read to them. Our curriculum is planned with quality texts at its very heart and all our learning springs from this.


If you have any questions about reading, your child's class teacher would be your first point of contact for advice. 


Alternatively, if you would like to discuss any aspect of reading or phonics in more detail, the subject leader for phonics and early reading is Mrs Robb, and Miss Nattrass is the subject leader for reading in Key Stage 2. 

Our Reading Scheme


We use Oxford Reading Tree as the main spine for our reading scheme in school, supplemented by a variety of other schemes and real books including Big Cat, Tree Tops, Big Cat Phonics and Songbirds.



We order our reading books using the National Book Band colours. This helps us to closely track and monitor children's reading as they progress through school ,from their beginnings in Early Years up to Year 6. 


 Lilac   Pink   Red   Yellow   Blue   Green   

Orange   Turquoise Purple   Gold   White   

Lime   Navy Blue  Grey   Cerise   Black       


In addition,'Power of Reading' and other quality texts are at the very heart of our school curriculum, as we aim to encourage and promote a love of reading in our children. 


Please follow the link at the bottom of the page, to find out more about Power of Reading.

"Strive for Five!"

In school, we encourage all children to read with an adult at home at least five times each week - or 'Strive for Five'!

Children who achieve this weekly are rewarded with a special 'Strive for Five'certificate. 

In addition, those children who 'Strive for Five' consistently across the term also receive a little 'reward' at the end of each term - this could be an extra playtime, or a movie, or even a sweet treat!

Accelerated Reader

In school, children regularly take 'book quizzes' on an i-pad, after they have finished their reading book. This analyses their understanding of the texts they have read, and children receive certificates and rewards for books read and quizzes passed.

The children really look forward to taking these book quizzes, which also supports a love of reading and provides another great incentive for children to read regularly both in school and at home!

Accelerated Reader also provides teachers with a wealth of information about children's reading ability, attainment and progress, which builds into their ongoing assessment of children's reading.

Reading Plus

Pupils choose from a wide variety of age-appropriate texts (fiction, non-fiction and informational) that are matched to the individual’s reading level. Having read a text selection, pupils practice applying their knowledge and understanding by answering 10 comprehension questions. These questions target the pupil’s knowledge and skill of inference, referral and use of language. This forms a basis for critical thinking.

Reading Plus automatically tracks the time it takes to read text selections and establishes a pupil’s silent reading speed. Silent reading speed, or reading rate, together with vocabulary understanding will determine a pupil’s ability to comprehend text.

Reading Plus uses a patented Guided Window to help model silent reading fluency best practice. Matched to individual pupils’ reading speed, the Guided Window gradually gets faster once pupils have demonstrated understanding to develop proficient silent reading fluency.


Advances made in reading speed must coincide with an individual’s knowledge of vocabulary and how words fit in to a variety of sentence structures.

Working through Reading Plus, pupils will encounter up to 2,500 academic vocabulary words that are grouped into individual word lists, to be used for reading in context. This helps pupils to not only understand the meaning of the word, but how to adapt their vocabulary to different sentence structures, tenses, and situations.

Visual Skills

Pupils’ who have been identified as having a low reading rate or poor reading stamina may need to practice visual perception and visual memory skills.

The Visual Skills element of Reading Plus consists of two separate activities that develop a more efficient reading technique through increasing reading speed and word recall.

The first activity is called ‘Scan’. Scan has been designed to improve left to right scanning which is an essential skill for efficient reading. The second activity is called ‘Flash’. Flash supports the development of visual memory by identifying clusters of letters as components of other words. This helps with word recall.

Reading at the heart of our curricululm

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