Reading & Phonics at St Paul's
Reading and Phonics
The National Curriculum programmes of study for reading at Key Stages 1 and 2
consist of word reading (decoding) and comprehension (understanding). Skilled word reading
involves both the speedy working out of unfamiliar printed words (decoding), and the speedy
recognition of familiar printed words. Children need to understand that the letters on the page
represent the sounds in spoken words. At St Paul’s this is taught in the Foundation stage and Key Stage 1 through a daily Phonics lesson where children are grouped according to ability. Phonics is planned and taught based on the Lancashire 'Red Rose Letters and Sounds’ teaching programme. Letters and sounds are taught in phases 1 to 5, with each phase building on the last. The list below explains each phase:
Phase One (Nursery/Reception)
Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental
sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice and finally oral blending and
Phase Two (Reception)
Up to 6 weeks learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds
together to make words, segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read
Phase Three (Reception)
Up to 12 weeks learning the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each.
Graphemes such as ‘ch’, ‘oo’, ‘th’ representing the remaining phonemes covered by single
letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will
have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four (Reception)
4 to 6 weeks. No new grapheme--‐phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase.
Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap,
Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)
Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes
which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already
As well as a secure phonic knowledge the children require good comprehension of what they are reading. Good comprehension draws on knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, and knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high‐ quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts. At St Paul’s pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds. At St Paul’s, children have access to a wide choice of books including published schemes and free choice books for enjoyment.
At St Paul’s, reading takes many forms:
• Guided Reading – this happens in EYFS and KS1 classes in groups of up to 6 children. In KS2 classes, whole class guided reading takes place. Teachers plan guided reading sessions to include the teaching of reading strategies and reading comprehension skills. Children then complete a range of comprehension activities (independently, in pairs or in small groups) in order to demonstrate their understanding of the text and the reading skills taught.
• Home Reading – All children are provided with colour-coded reading books (see chart below) to take home and read with parents. A reading record will accompany each book and will act as a communication tool between staff and parents. Children will also have key words to learn where appropriate and occasional book reviews to complete.
Each child learns at a different rate and the ages/ year groups within the chart are given as a guide to the 'average' reader.
• Shared Reading – Children have frequent opportunities to read as a class, during English lessons, with the teacher modelling, using a range of books, big books and texts on the the interactive whiteboard.
• Class Novels/Books - Children have regular opportunities throughout the week to listen to and discuss stories or class novels.
• Class Reading Area - Each class has a specific reading area where the children have access to a range of books to encourage them to read for enjoyment.
• Library - Children can access the school library in school time.