Phonics Programme and Reading Scheme

Reading Intent

At St John’s Catholic Primary School, we want our pupils to develop a true love of reading and strive to provide them with a broad range of books that will entertain, teach, and inspire them. We use the aims of the National Curriculum as the foundation for our teaching.

The National Curriculum aims linked to reading ensure that all pupils:

  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding.

  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.

  • Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.

  • Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.

At St John’s, we place high importance on the role and impact of reading. Every classroom has an inviting library stocked with a wide variety of quality books that create an excitement around reading. These books are changed every half term to reflect learning themes in each classroom. This ensures our pupils remain excited about reading and have a constant flow of fresh and new material to read of all genres. Our intent is that our pupils enjoy reading for pleasure, whilst also seeing it as an important skill to master. Through books we aim to ignite the pupil’s imagination, as well as expanding their understanding of the world around them.  We explore books that span a range of genres, cultures and topics. Ranging from fun stories that will make them laugh, to books that will make the children wonder, empathise and question.

The books that we teach in class are carefully chosen for their rich vocabulary or inspiring content. The teaching of reading at St John’s also enables pupils to communicate effectively both inside and outside the classroom, using the vocabulary that they have acquired during reading sessions. We reward and celebrate the pupil’s achievements within reading, as well as setting challenges to encourage them to read more broadly. It is important to us that children leave our school enthusiastic about books and reading.

How we do it:

As soon as our pupil’s join us in Reception, the journey to developing a love of reading begins. Enjoyment of rich storytelling experiences, coupled with the sense of achievement as they learn to read, develops a love of reading that flourishes as books they can access opens up to them. We aim for all pupils to be reading age-appropriate books fluently by the time they leave year 2. To achieve this, we place a huge importance on the teaching of reading and phonics.

Phonics is taught in Reception and KS1 through the validated programme, ‘Jolly Phonics’, which is a visual, hands-on approach to the teaching and delivery of phonics. Pupils receive phonics sessions five times a week in the classroom and further group sessions at their appropriate level.

‘Jolly Phonics’ is a programme that is used consistently throughout the school from EYFS to Year 6. In EYFS and KS1 the focus is phonemes and the teaching of phonics in Y3-Y6 the programme addresses spelling patterns through various activities, including grammar and sentence construction. This enables our pupils to acknowledge the link between the spelling patterns and the construction of their writing: building words, implementing them into their writing, constructing sentences and therefore the spoken word: reading and listening to the written word.  Therefore, implementing their learnt spelling patterns into their writing.

Alongside ‘Jolly Phonics’ which addresses spelling and grammar, Year 2-Year 6 follow the ‘Pathways to Read’ programme.  ‘Pathways to Read’ is closely linked to our ‘Pathways to Write’ programme which is at the core of our creative and rich wider Curriculum. ‘The Pathways to Read’ programme uses a flexible combination of whole class and grouped reading sessions, which incorporates the progressive development of reading and comprehension skills through a mastery approach.

To ensure our intent, reading for pleasure, is achieved, pupil’s have the opportunity to participate in ‘The love of Reading’ at lunchtimes. Some of our pupil’s love to immerse themselves in the world of books. They are invited to use the school library, a quiet, safe, space to read a wide range of genres of varying themes. This space is made comfortable with colourful cushions and has a calming atmosphere for those pupil’s that love to get lost in a book.

At St John’s, we are aware of the vital relationship between school and home. Parents have the opportunity to join us for a ‘Stay and Read’ session. Parents and pupils bring in books from home and read together. Staff are present to support and guide knowledge about reading strategies. This enables discussions between our partnership of school and home in a safe, welcoming, and positive atmosphere.

We ensure positive communication is maintained at all times. At St Johns, we use the ‘Boom Read’ app which allows parents to access their child’s reading on the go. The app is quick and easy to access and enables parents and teachers to leave comments, so communication is always maintained. We also offer a separate option of ‘Reading Diaries’ for those parents who do not have devices to access the app, so that we at St John’s, are inclusive to all. 

We place high importance on our pupils feeling enthusiastic about books and reading. This is evident during our ‘Reading Buddy’ sessions. Each week a KS2 class has the opportunity to read and share books with the younger pupils in KS1. This enables our KS2 pupils of all abilities to feel proud of their reading and a sense of responsibility in their supportive role towards the younger pupils. The KS1 pupils get much praise and enjoy the interaction they receive from the KS2 pupils. Therefore, this not only ignites enthusiasm about books and reading but also strengthens relationships between all our pupils at St John’s. We find that our pupils see this as a highlight within their weekly learning journey.