Phonics and Reading at St John’s

Reading is an essential life skill that provides access to the experiences of people from different
cultures and times. Pupils must acquire good reading skills in order to access the information that
will support their development in all curriculum areas.

1. Self – Our children will be inspired to have a love of reading which will enable them not only to
enjoy reading as a past time but as an essential tool to succeed in all areas of life
2. Others – Through their reading, they will encounter and be challenged by ideas from
experiences which they would not normally be exposed to beyond their own community
3. Wider world – We believe reading is a fundamental part of communication in an ever more
connected world. An ability to not only read but understand the intention of others is essential as
they progress into the next stage of their learning


Key Stage 1


  • To develop each child’s ability to read, understand and respond to all types of writing.
  • The pupils are encouraged to acquire a love of books and to develop a respect for them. We aim to use books to stimulate the child’s imagination. Pupils are introduced to the conventions of books, left to right, regarding the illustrations as an integral to the
    story, turning the pages singly etc.
  • Pupils build a sight vocabulary from the structured scheme whilst concurrently following the phonics –based Read Write Inc programme. The sight vocabulary is extended so that as they encounter the scheme book, most words are already known and they experience success and pleasure.
  • Each child takes home a scheme book every day with a reading record. The pupils share their books with an adult in school at least 2-3 times a week. The adult asks questions relevant to the interest of the child and encourages predictions. The pupils are encouraged to decode unknown words using appropriate strategies.
  • A ‘Class Reader’ is also used to encourage children’s enjoyment of literature. This is read regularly.
  • The school library is open to pupils each playtime; all pupils are encouraged to choose a library book from the school library each week. Y6 pupils act as librarians together with a TA. Prizes are awarded, in praise assembly, to pupils who have read 10 books from the school library.
  • Weekly reading Comprehension activities are planned within the English lessons and/or Guided Reading sessions.
  • The Read, Write Inc phonics programme is introduced in EYFS and continued throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2 as necessary. It focuses on phoneme / grapheme recognition and the strategies of blending to read and segmenting to spell. Pupils in KS1 are grouped according to phonic ability and receive daily focussed teaching sessions.
  • Regular assessment ensures pupils who are not working at an appropriate level access intervention groups for regular pre and post teaching of the required phase.
  • Reading is discussed at parents’ evenings as well as at the KS1 early literacy evening, where staff explain the school’s phonics program to KS1 parents.

Key Stage 2


  • For the pupils to be able to read a range of texts fluently for pleasure, information and with comprehension.
  • The graded reading scheme is continued at Key Stage 2. A full range of reading genre is offered. Pupils take a reading book home daily and will read to an adult in school at least once a week.
  • Reading is taught using whole class reading lessons, guided comprehension practice and small group guided reading sessions, where appropriate.
  • Each child takes home a reading book every day with a reading record. The pupils share their books with an adult in school at least once a week. The adult asks comprehension questions relevant to the text.
  • The ‘Class Reader’ is also continued into Key Stage 2.
  • Reading comprehension continues to be taught weekly and may cover a wide range of activities including answering questions related to the text/pictures, and rewriting text from a different viewpoint.


Reading has a very high status at St John’s and as such the school seeks to provide high quality, up-to-date resources for teaching reading. It provides:
A reading scheme for pupils who are learning to read:

  •  In Key Stage One this material is based around Oxford Reading Tree (ORT), Writers’ Inc, Rigby Star and Collins Big Cat reading schemes. Other material is added to broaden the range of sentence structures and grammar that the pupils are exposed to.
  • The reading material is chosen to provide a set of familiar characters and settings that the pupils can relate to. Classroom teaching helps the pupils to acquire knowledge of the central characters and their relationship to one another.
  • Read Write Inc is chosen to provide a systematic and structured approach to phonics teaching.
  • Collins Big Cat materials are chosen to provide a broad range of genre including nonnarrative types. These books are organized in graded sets.
  • In Key stage Two materials are provided that are suited to the age range and reading abilities of the children. Materials are chosen to provide a mix of fiction, non-narrative and poetry with a strong emphasis on stimulating interest and motivation for pupils who are slower to learn decoding skills.
  • These materials are kept in KS2 and are graded in age referenced bands (learning to read)

A set of reading books for pupils who have learned to decode (reading to learn):

  •  In Key stage one a set of “free readers” is provided for pupils who have acquired decoding skills beyond those normally expected for pupils at this stage. Books are chosen to reflect the children’s age whilst providing challenge in relation to vocabulary and length of texts.
  • In Key stage two a set of books is provided for pupils who have acquired the expected decoding skills for their age group. The texts are chosen to provide coverage of a wide range of text types, genres and poetry and to be matched to the ages and maturity of the pupils. Pupils are encouraged to develop their own reading tastes and to be challenged into trying new types of reading materials. They are expected to learn from what they read; facts and information as well as empathy for characters, situations and dilemmas that they encounter in narrative texts. At this stage, teachers may allow pupils to bring suitable reading materials from home, especially where they feel that the child has well developed reading tastes and habits.

Pupils have a reading journal, a wordbook, along with working walls to log useful words and ideas to support their writing. Pupils are also encouraged to read books from the individual class libraries and the school library. Both oral and written book reviews are undertaken to encourage a desire to widen their reading experience. Pupils are also encouraged to record when they have read in their own reading record books.

More information about reading at St John’s can be found here… Reading-Policy

Year 6 children reading to their Reception ‘Buddies’


Writing is a key skill, enabling pupils to express themselves creatively and imaginatively.
It enables them to communicate ideas and understanding effectively in all curriculum areas.

1. Self – Children will develop their writing skills so that they are able to communicate their ideas
and emotions fluently to others
2. Others – Children will have opportunities to write for a range of purposes and audiences
showing empathy and understanding of others who are different to themselves
3. Wider world – We believe writing is a fundamental part of communication in an ever more
connected world. An ability to write coherently and also understand the intention of other writers
is essential as they progress into the next stage of their learning


  •  Teaching is embedded within meaningful contexts. Positive attitudes to writing are fostered through carefully designed teaching activities and classroom provision. The need for pupils to perceive writing as a meaningful and immediate form of communication underpins decisions taken in relation to this provision.
  • Teachers adopt a text-based approach to writing lessons whereby a variety of writing tasks are drawn from the book.
  • Teachers use a balanced approach. Teaching is designed to reflect the need for pupils to be
    taught explicitly about writing and the separate skills and knowledge involved in writing, whilst recognising the need to provide pupils with the time to experiment and master writing for themselves. Pupils are encouraged to take risks and experiment with writing as a means of expressing their own ideas and understanding.
  •  The school believes that effective teaching of writing is closely linked to speaking, listening and reading. The teaching of writing emphasises these links. Pupils learn about writing by exploring how other writers develop texts.
  • The teaching of writing takes account of the need to scaffold pupils’ writing. The process of writing is considerably enhanced by providing pupils with scaffolds in the form of writing frames, specific vocabulary, words and phrases and models of sentence structures. Teachers encourage pupils to identify purpose, structure and language features for themselves and apply them, in the form of writing frames, to their own work.
  • The school adopts an emergent approach to the teaching of writing. Pupils are encouraged to write independently from the earliest age. Teachers teach segmenting skills using Read Write Inc; knowledge of graphic representations of phonemes is systematically developed through the scheme. Emergent writing requires that pupils are happy to apply their knowledge of speech sounds and how they are represented in writing.
  • Teachers teach pupils about writing by examining how writing is used in everyday contexts; in fiction and non-fiction material, books, leaflets, menus, newspapers, computer generated texts etc.

In Key Stage 1 and 2 the progression of skills is based upon the National Curriculum 2014 and in
Foundation Stage skills are based upon the Early Years Curriculum Guidance.

More information about writing at St John’s can be found here… Writing-Policy

Year 6 writing completed at home during lockdown. 



20.21 Literature Spine y6 Cycle 4