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St John's Mead

Church of England Primary School

‘Valuing Effort, Valuing Others, Valuing Self’

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Phonics and Early Reading

The teaching of phonics and early reading at St John’s Mead CE VC Primary School is of the highest priority. We are committed to ensuring that every child will learn to read, regardless of ability, need or background. Giving pupils the key skills in English, enables them to access material in all curriculum areas and provides a foundation for their learning throughout their school career and beyond. We are committed to inspiring every child to be excited about books and motivated to read for pleasure.


At St John’s Mead CE VC Primary School, our intent is for every child to become a reader and for early readers to have the skills to decode words to enable them to be able to read fluently. We want children to have an understanding of what they have read and be able to ask suitable questions, responding enthusiastically and showing curiosity. It is our expectation that children’s confidence will grow in reading across a wide range of genres and text types and children will develop their knowledge of a range of authors and illustrators. We believe that all children should be motivated to read and want to read for pleasure.


In our Early Years (both Nursery and Reception) and into KS1, we teach synthetic phonics. We exclusively follow Read, Write, Inc for the teaching of phonics and guided reading. The programme is split into 3 sets. It aims for children to develop fluent word reading skills and have good foundations in spelling by the end of Key Stage 1. In Nursery, children are exposed to RWInc through displays and listening games where they are encouraged to listen to rhymes, stories and poems. The teaching of phonics begins in Reception, introducing sounds to the children. Children will then learn further sounds in line with the nationally agreed progression. Regular assessment is carried out to inform teaching. Read, Write, Inc phonics and guided reading is taught to children in years 3 and 4, where needed in small groups, which may move more towards spelling patterns.


As children’s ability develops through the early years, our expectation is that they will be able to decode and fluently read age-appropriate books. Through the teaching of ‘nonsense’ words (which is the ability to use their phonetical knowledge to decode known phonemes) we want children to access a range of genres and text types. Our aim is for children to begin their journey to becoming independent, successful readers and writers to prepare them for KS2 and beyond.


Reading & Writing


At St John’s Mead school we are passionate about developing children’s love of English and believe that the teaching of writing is intrinsically linked to children’s reading. We want to nurture a culture whereby children are able to express their ideas and thoughts creatively. We know the importance of children being able to hear an adult read aloud and encourage this story time daily (which includes fiction, non-fiction and poetry) where they are exposed to high-quality texts.


We aim to deliver an inspiring and engaging English curriculum through high-quality, sequenced teaching and well-structured lessons. At St John’s Mead, we explicitly teach writing although it is intrinsically woven into our wider curriculum so that children have the opportunity to develop and apply their writing skills in a variety of contexts. Children are encouraged to develop an understanding of the use of language and the need for grammatical structure. Spelling is taught and is strongly linked to their handwriting skills. Regular reading habits are encouraged both at school and at home. Reading is developed through a variety of teaching methods including whole class reading, paired reading and one-to-one reading.


As children’s ability develops through the school, our expectation is that their writing will become more complex and precise, demonstrating high level vocabulary, which has been magpied from their reading, creativity and a wider range of skills that are applied independently. Children will be confident readers who choose to read age-appropriate texts and can share their understanding. Most importantly, we expect our children to develop a love of reading and writing that feeds the imagination and nurtures the mind and be well-equipped to be life-long learners.