Reading and Phonics



St Gabriel's follows the Letters and Sounds publication for provision in EYFS and Key Stage 1. This systematic phonics programme is delivered through the use of TES phonics and Phonicsplay. Phonics is taught in discrete daily lessons and is continually reinforced in English and Guided reading sessions. Phonics activities are practical, engaging and varied to ensure all learners are engaged and making progress.

  • The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1.
  • Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in a whole class format because it enables staff to ensure application across subjects embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers.
  • Intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels.
  • Letters and Sounds is used as the basis for delivering the phonics sessions in Reception and Year 1. This is complemented with activities from Espresso Phonics and PhonicsPlay.
  • Phonics Tracker will be used to assess pupils’ progress.
  • Pupils will be given book banded reading books which closely match the phase of phonics they are currently working within.
  • Parents will be involved in supporting their children’s reading by being provided with banded reading books, phonic key-rings and guidance as to how best to help their children with reading at home.


Phonics and Spelling

  • St Gabriel’s follows the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme for teaching phonics. Phonics is taught in discrete daily lessons and is continually reinforced in English and guided reading sessions.
  • Phonics activities are practical, engaging and varied to ensure all learners are engaged and making progress. At the end of Reception, children achieving early learning goal in writing will write some ‘irregular common words’. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.
  • Y1 is a foundation year for spelling, with children being taught important spelling patterns and exception words as well as how split digraphs work.
  • They will learn both digraphs (sounds made by two letters such as ‘ee’ or ‘ir’) and trigraphs (sounds made by 3 letters such as ‘igh’ and ‘tch’). They will look at how the same sounds can be made by different groups of letters such as ‘oy’ and ‘oi’ as in ‘toy’ and ‘coin’). Children will also be taught common exception words. These are words commonly found in their English language but which do not follow Phonic rules which have been taught so far.
  • In Years 2-6 children continue to develop their phonological awareness, as well as taking a more in depth look at rules and patterns within different words. Discrete spelling lessons are planned, including weekly spelling activities and tests. Spelling lists are sent home to practise. Spelling results are monitored to ensure children are sufficiently challenged and support is given to those who are struggling.
  • In Years 3-4 children generally have 10-15 spellings to learn a week. In Years 5- 6 children have 15-20 spellings to learn.
  • Across the curriculum, spellings which children are expected to know are self-corrected and children are directed to write them out 3 times. (once in Year 1).



Reading forms the core of our curriculum at St Gabriel's. All children read and are read to so that they develop a love of reading. Books are selected by teachers with the knowledge of how they link to other areas of the curriculum.

  • Reading Scheme – We use a variety of different reading schemes to provide a wide variety of appropriate quality texts for children to read covering all genres. The schemes incorporated into our reading provision include: Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Graphic Novels, Rising Stars Reading Planet Rocket Phonics, Phonics Bug. All books are book banded in order to ensure progression and challenge for all children. Once children have progressed through the book bands (usually in Y4-6) they can select reading books from their class library or choose carefully selected books of their own. The notion of becoming a ‘free reader’ really motivates the older children to read.
  • Classic Texts – All children will have classic texts read to them in all year groups. This may include traditional fairy tales / rhymes in FS and KS1 to established classic novels in KS2.
  • Individual Reading – All children in KS1 read individually to a TA or teacher at least once a week. Lower attaining readers read more often. In Y3, only children who are below ARE read individually, the rest participate in weekly group guided reading sessions with a greater focus on comprehension. In Y4-6, children read individually to a TA or the teacher. Lower achieving children will be heard more often.
  • Guided Reading – all children from Upper Foundation Stage take part in Guided Reading. Guided Reading Sessions, which run x3 sessions per week, are planned by all teachers to teach a range of skills and techniques which enable children to comprehend the meaning of what they read and develop their understanding of the vocabulary used by authors.



St Gabriel's Catholic Primary School, Well Lane, Alsager, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 2PG