Reading and Phonics


At St Mary’s Primary School we use a guided approach to reading. Through the clear teaching of reading skills, small group reading of quality texts and engaging independent tasks we develop fluent readers and promote a life-long love for reading. In Guided Reading session, we encourage engaging texts that have a suitable level of challenge for all readers.

In KS1 we use Oxford Reading Tree scheme which closely match a child’s reading level.

We actively encourage reading at home. In KS1 home reading books are changed each week by members of staff and in KS2 children are encouraged to change their own reading books in the library. All children have a reading record where parents/carers are encouraged to write notes when they have read with their child.


At St Mary’s Primary School we use the Letters and Sounds Phonics scheme.

In Phonics we break words down into their sounds or phonemes. Phonemes can consist of more than one letter for example ch, oo, er, igh etc.

Two letters making a single sound e.g., ar, ee, ou, are called digraphs. Three letters making a single sound e.g., igh, are called trigraphs. A phoneme written down is called a grapheme.

Children will learn to blend phonemes to read words, e.g., sh – i – p = ship. They will also learn to segment words into phonemes to spell them, e.g., ship = sh – i – p.

It is really important that children use these blending and segmenting skills in their reading and writing to ensure they are applying these phonics skills. You can support this at home by encouraging children to blend phonemes to read words in their reading books.

Some key words can’t be segmented into separate phonemes and need to be learned by sight. These words are known as tricky words, e.g. said and the.

There are 6 Phases within the letters and sounds programme and most children will complete Phase 6 by the end of Year 2. There are interventions in place for KS2 children who are still working on Phonics skills.

We believe the key to good Phonics is high quality teaching and ensuring that children enjoy their sessions.