Phonics and Reading


At Saint Mary’s Catholic Primary School, it is our intent to offer a fully inclusive approach to phonics and reading.  By doing this, our children will become fluent readers and writers.  Our approach to systematic and synthetic phonics ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code and are able to master phonics in order to read and spell as they move through school. We want children who are confident to tackle any unfamiliar words when reading, to develop stamina and resilience, and to improve comprehension across the skills of reading as they move through school and beyond. Throughout their reading journey, children will be immersed in high-quality texts and we aim to foster, in all our children, a love of books so that they become readers for life.



  • Be enthusiastic and motivated readers who are confident.
  • To provide a broad and balanced curriculum, so that our children will have developed the firm foundations of emotional intelligence and resilience
  • The skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with a secure understanding of what they have read.
We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised program with fidelity and enthusiasm, to ensure that every child in our school has every possible opportunity to become a confident reader as early as possible.



At St. Mary’s, children are first taught to read through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. This begins in Reception and continues in Year 1 and 2 with daily lessons. As they enter Key Stage 2, any children that need additional support, including new starters, continue to receive daily Phonics teaching.

All year groups, beginning in EYFS through to Year 6, have daily guided reading sessions in a small group.  Guided Reading is highly-valued in our school and children practise reading skills, comprehension skills and group discussion. The questioning and discussions that take place during the course of these sessions promote, strengthen and lead to the acquisition of higher order reading skills. Children are also taught the metacognition of reading and a range of strategies that enable them to be confident, comprehensive readers. This is further developed in a weekly whole-class reading lesson.

At St Mary’s, we have well-resourced and efficiently run libraries in Key Stage 1 and 2 in addition to class libraries. The borrowing section of our library is electronically logged and children can scan out their own books.  We also have a growing reference section of the library which children can use for independent research during or outside lesson time. Children are supported to select books, to embrace what a library offers them and to develop their curiosity of the world.

Reading for pleasure is an integral part of the reading curriculum. All adults are enthusiastic about children’s literature and recommend age-appropriate books in order to promote discussion and a love of reading in school. Every day, teachers share a story with their classes known as the ‘class reader.’ This enables teachers to model reading with fluency and expression, whilst reading texts that are often beyond the ability of the class, thus exposing children to higher level vocabulary and themes.  Each year, we celebrate world book day, where pupils and teachers dress as their favourite character or come to school in their pyjamas to share a ‘bedtime story’, we share our most loved authors and books, and we hold book fayres.  EYFS also host ‘bedtime stories’ where pupils come to school in their pyjamas and parents are invited to share a story with their child at the end of the day. Parents of EYFS and Key Stage 1 children are also invited to reading workshops to support parents in how to help their child read, and decode, at home. 

Reading underpins the work undertaken in all other areas of the curriculum. Through reading a wide range of quality texts and having meaningful discussions, we aim to create valuable, contributing members of society whilst extending and deepening pupils understanding and use of vocabulary.