St Joseph'sCatholic Primary School


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Phonics and Reading


Through SFA, a synthetic approach to phonics is taught daily.  It is systematic, intensive and age appropriate.  In KinderCorner, children are taught sounds alongside picture cues, all with the help of Kinderoo the Kangaroo.  In addition they are introduced to ‘green words’ (those that can be sounded out) and ‘red words’ (tricky words that they have to recognise). In Roots, the children’s knowledge of sounds and green and red words is further extended.


At the end of Year 1 all children are assessed using The National Phonics Screening Check. This is a short simple assessment which all schools must complete and involves the children reading 40 real and nonsense words.  This check allows teachers to identify the children who need extra help to improve their reading skills. 


Reading at school

We want our children to become enthusiastic readers and to develop a life-long love of books.  Through the daily literacy sessions and in other areas of the curriculum, the children are introduced to a wide range of good quality books in a range of genre.

In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using their phonic skills (green words) and alongside this, the children are taught sight words (red words). In addition, they develop their skills of understanding and comprehension.  Your child will read every day with a partner in their literacy lessons and in addition to this will also be heard by an adult individually during the week.

Our reading books are banded and children are able to choose the books that they would like to read and take home from a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.


Reading at home

Children will bring home banded books (according to their stage of development) and will record these in their reading record.  Free readers may choose a book from the classroom or school library. Please encourage your child to read at home as your support is incredibly important for developing their skills, understanding and confidence with reading.


Ways to support your child's reading at home:

  • Try to listen to and read with your child regularly.  A few shorter sessions are better than one long one.
  • Find a quiet place to share books where you both feel comfortable and relaxed.
  • Encourage your child to sound out words using their developing phonic skills and use the pictures in the book to help them.
  • Encourage your child to read a range of texts such as stories, newspapers, comics, labels, poetry, non-fiction, tickets, signs, leaflets etc.
  • Ask them questions about the text to develop their understanding. 

Questions to Develop Understanding:

Where does the story take place?

Who are the characters in the story? Who is your favourite character? Why?

What happens in this part of the story?

How are the characters feeling?  How do you know?

What was your favourite part of the story? Why?

What do you think is going to happen next?

What words does the author use to create a certain atmosphere?

Have you read other books by the same author?

Non Fiction Questions

How is this book different to a fiction book?

Which part of the text tells us about …? 

Why are some words in bold?

How does (a diagram/picture/caption) help you to understand the information on this page?

What new information have you found out?