St Mary's Catholic Primary School

‘One family united in Christ to be the best we can be’

Reading and Phonics

Phonics success

We are extremely proud to be ranked in the top 2% of schools nationally based on our phonics success. 

Please see the letter from Nick Gibb MP, on our twitter account @cpstmarys, congratulating us on our phonics success. We have had a 100% phonics pass rate every year since its inception in 2012.

Early Reading at St. Mary's -



At St. Mary's we use Letters and Sounds which is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme published by the Department of Education. The children’s learning is enhanced using the 'Jolly Phonics' resources where the children learn the actions, pictoral prompt, letter formation and the correct pronunciation for each phoneme (the smallest unit of sound in speech). There are six overlapping phases which the children work through, usually starting in the pre-school setting. In the Reception class children work within Phases 1-4, in Year 1 Phase 5 and in Year 2 Phase 6. Some intervention groups in Key Stage 2 also focus upon key parts of Letters and Sounds. As children learn at different rates it is not uncommon for children within the same class to be working on a different phonic phase and the teaching is targeted accordingly. Letters and Sounds enables children to see the relationship between reading and spelling, meaning they learn to blend and segment words successfully.

During our Reception induction process the parents are invited in for a phonics/reading meeting where they undertake phonics-based activities and are taught the strategies to aid their child’s reading and writing.

Y1 Phonics Screening

The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Y1 pupils.  It is a short, statutory assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It aims to identify the children who need extra help so that they can be given support by school to improve their reading skills.  At St. Mary's we already identify children and provide early intervention support, however  the assessment is a statutory requirement. The test comprises a list of 40 real and pseudo (nonsense) words, which a child will read one-to-one with the class teacher. Half the words cover phonic skills which are usually covered in Reception, and half the words are based on Year 1 phonics skills. Results are communicated to parents through the school report at the end of the academic year.
EYFS/ KS1 Reading

At St. Mary's the children have access to a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Our main reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree. The children have the opportunity to read in class daily and take home books from the following series’ within the core scheme:
Biff, Chip and Kipper Stories, Floppy’s Phonics Fiction and Non-fiction, Floppy’s Phonics Sounds and Letters, Traditional Tales, Songbirds and Fireflies.

Other schemes available from Key Stage 1 are Soundstart, Jolly Readers and Dandelion Readers

The children also have the opportunity to visit the library at least once a week where they are able to select and borrow a small selection of books of their own choice. The support which our parents give with reading is greatly valued and we know they enjoy reading to their child as well as hearing their child make large gains in their reading progress.