Reading & Phonics

At St Mary’s Catholic Primary School we believe in developing a reading culture throughout the school. Welcoming book areas can be found in classrooms. The school library hosts a wide variety of new books, and we aim to raise the profile of reading, promoting the written word at all times.

We hold an annual Book Week at the beginning of each year where pupils can enjoy bedtime stories in school, find out about new books and share stories with pupils from other year groups in shared reading sessions. Parents can attend meetings about how to help their child’s reading at home. This focus on reading continues throughout the year, including Book Character Days, visits to the library,  and reading challenges.

In Foundation Stage and Key Stage One the children are taught to read using the Letters and Sounds Phonic Programme. This teaches children to decode text phonetically by introducing them to different phonemes (sounds) step by step. As the children learn their sounds they also learn to blend them to read unfamiliar words – this is also known as ‘Sound or Robot Talk’. Once children are secure with their first set of initial sounds they move onto reading ditties (short passages) and books, which allow them to put this knowledge into practice.

We have a large selection of ‘book banded’ texts available in our school library, many linked to the different phonic phases taught, others to high frequency words. Children are matched to a colour band in accordance with their reading ability. They are assessed regularly to ensure they are reading within the correct colour band and their books changed regularly.

In Key Stage 2 children are encouraged to take an active part in developing their reading choices in discussion with their teacher. We are constantly endeavoring to update the titles to include recent publications and offer a range of titles to tempt all tastes and students are encouraged to recommend titles to their peers.

Throughout all key stages children have regular access to group guided reading sessions, where texts are explored with a particular focus i.e. use of vocabulary, structure of different text types.

Parents are an integral part in the children’s ‘reading journey’. We encourage children to read at home on a daily basis and communication between school and home is recorded in a ‘Reading Record’. We are delighted that we have volunteer readers from the Volunteer Reader Service and members of our community who come and read with children both individually and as a group.