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Reading and Phonics at St Mary's


Reading and Phonics in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2


In the Early and Lower Phases, we have an exciting new reading scheme. This reading scheme is designed to help your child’s progression in phonics.

At St Mary’s, we follow Letters and Sounds for phonics. This provides a set order for children to learn their sounds. The books were written to follow this order so that your child can read books that are fully decodable. This means that they should be able to read their books by themselves by sounding out each word.

We ensure that the book is fully decodable for your child by following an assessment. Your child will be regularly assessed to see which sounds they know and where their gaps are. Another part of the assessment checks if your child can segment* and blend**, a key part of reading. They will only move up a book band if they know the sounds within that colour level and they can confidently segment and blend words containing these sounds.

Your child will keep their book for a week. This allows them the time to become confident and read their book independently. By reading the same book multiple times, your child will develop fluency and confidence in their reading. They are also more likely to understand the book.

So far we have seen amazing progress, a growth in independence and most importantly more children showing an enthusiasm to read. We have been so impressed with the impact these books have had on the children so far and we hope you feel the same!

If you have any questions, your child’s teacher will be more than happy to help.

*segment:  the ability to break words down into individual sounds. For example, the learner breaks the word run into its component sounds – r, u, and n.
**blend: putting the individual sounds back together to make the word e.g. r-u-n blended is run.

Lessons at Home to learn Letters and Sounds...

letters and sounds

Click here to access the Letters and Sounds for Home and School YouTube channel. This resource is designed by experts for use at home with children who are unable to attend school. Evidence shows that learning is most effective when children are taught by sticking to a particular programme. At St Mary's we use Letters and Sounds. 

New lessons are uploaded at 9am on week days during term time.

Reception: Teaching children to read letters and begin to blend to read words.

Year 1: For children who can blend and read words such as 'stamp', 'chair' and 'green'.

Year 2 Phonics Screening Check Revision (Autumn Term only) Daily lessons to review Phases 4 and 5 to help children read words in the PSC. Learning to Blend: Additional blending practise for children and are not suitable for Reception children in the Autumn Term as they contain letters and sounds that have not been taught.

Alternatively, you can access everything you need via the Letters and Sounds website: https://www.lettersandsounds.org.uk/ 

Reading and Phonics in Years 3,4,5,6


Like EYFS and KS1, you may have noticed that we have an exciting new reading scheme- Collins Big Cat. For KS2, the Collins Big Cat books are designed to give all children the opportunity to read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts.

Beginning at copper band for Year 3, and going up to Pearl band for Year 6, KS2 have set colour bands for the different year groups. The books within the colour bands are appropriately pitched for each age group. Therefore, unlike EYFS and KS1, movement between colour bands occurs when a child changes year group.

For KS2 children, the focus with the Big Cat texts is on text comprehension and thus children are encouraged to access a wide range of texts from their year group’s colour band. For children with gaps in their phonic knowledge, intervention books will be used to support their decoding skills. These, once again, will be pitched to a child’s age group to ensure that they are reading genres suitable for them. To encourage and challenge those children working above age related expectations in reading, each KS2 year group has an additional set of colour banded books pitched for those working at a greater depth level.

Reading a range of literature is essential for becoming confident readers. However, we also place a big focus on encouraging a love of reading. Children should select texts to read alongside the Big Cat Scheme that appeal to them. To aid children with this, we have devised a list of ‘200 Books to Read before You Leave St Mary’s.’ This list is compiled of a mixture of classic and modern texts to support the children in accessing fantastic literature! KS2 children will be given two books to read- one from the Collins Big Cat colour bands and one book of their choosing.

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