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St John The Baptist Church Of England Primary School

Living, loving, learning with thankfulness and hope

Early Reading and Phonics


The Teaching of Early Reading and Phonics at St John the Baptist Primary School

The teaching of reading at St John the Baptist Primary school is aligned with our phonics scheme and runs in parallel with the fostering of a love of reading and literature.  In Year R and Year 1, we teach phonics following the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme. The children in Year R and Year 1 have Collins Big Cat reading books, which are matched to your child’s phonic ability and are fully decodable.

Follow this link for more information about the Little Wandle Letter and sounds revisited scheme : Little Wandle - Programme Overview

Supporting your child with reading in the Early Years

Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing their practice at home.

There are two types of reading book that your child may bring home:

  • A reading practice book. This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
  • A sharing book.  Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.

Reading practice books
This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.
Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.

Sharing books
In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together. In addition to reading practice books, your child will also bring home a book they have selected from our library for reading for pleasure. This may be a fiction or non-fiction book and may support the topic or author focus for a particular unit. Your child may be able to read this book independently or they may want to share it with you and ask you to read it to them.

Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!




Reading at School

In Year R

Reading practice sessions
Children apply their phonics knowledge by using a fully matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session. These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week. There are approximately 6 children in a group. The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised scheme. The children then take the same book home the following week to ensure success is shared with the family. In reception these sessions start in week 4. Children who are not decoding, do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised scheme.

Reading for pleasure features strongly in Year R, where literature can be found both outside and inside from the role play area to the reflection corner and a well-stocked book corner, where children can choose to cuddle up with a soft toy and read as part of their continuous provision.

In Year 1

In Year 1, children begin their reading practice sessions in week 1. As in Year R, children read their phonically matched book in a small group with an adult, three times a week - once for decoding, once for prosody (fluency and expression) and once for comprehension. Then the book is sent home.  We ask parents to help improve their child's fluency by reading the book with them at home.

Reading for pleasure continues to feature strongly in the Year 1 classroom with well stocked book corners and engaging texts and stories that are shared with the children both in and out of Literacy lessons. 


What next? 

At the end of year 1, children who have mastered phase 5 phonics will be assessed for their fluency. Those reading at a rate of 60-70+ words per minute will progress onto book banded books, which are graded according to the level of complexity. The exception to this are children who are not yet fully fluent with phonics. These pupils will be assessed and placed onto the Little Wandle rapid catch-up scheme and bring home phonetically decodable books. 


In Year 2 and above
Shared reading may focus on a particular text that is enjoyed by the whole class together. It is often the vehicle through which children are engaged in their writing activities, encompassing drama, discussion and information retrieval. In addition, the children are taken in small groups for guided reading where they read and discuss a book matched to their phonic and comprehension skills. Some children will also receive additional support in their reading on a 1:1 basis. Children will be taught how to scan and search texts in order to be able to answer questions on a written comprehension paper. Reading for pleasure features regularly through story-time and children and adults often bring in books from home to share with the class.


Reception Autumn 1 Sounds

Reception Autumn 2 Sounds

Reception Spring 1 Sounds

How we teach blending

Quick guide to Alien Words

How we teach tricky words