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St James Primary School

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EYFS & KS1 Reading & Phonics

Phonics is a method of teaching children to read and write quickly and skilfully.

At St James Primary we follow the Monster Phonics programme. 

We teach discrete phonic lessons which are fun, interactive and follow a set outline of Recap, Teach, Practise, Apply and Assess. 

In EYFS children are taught to recognise the 44 sounds in the English language which we put together to form words. Some are represented by one letter, like 't', and some by two or more, like 'ck' in duck and 'oi’ as in oil. We refer to these as diagraphs. Once they have mastered the initial sounds the children are encouraged to match them to letters, then blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.  Finally, they use their knowledge of the sounds and blending skills to support their spelling.  The children learn to read a list of age appropriate ‘tricky’ words, words which do not follow the rules of standard English and cannot be sounded out using their phonics e.g ‘the’.  

In Key Stage 1 the children revise the 44 sounds and begin to blend 3 sounds (trigraphs) to support ‘decoding’ of words that they hear or see and in turn, learn to spell words phonetically. Towards the end of Key Stage 1 and moving in to Key Stage 2, we teach the children important ‘spelling rules’.  This enables children to make the shift from writing phonetically to spelling words accurately.

Phonics Screening Check

The statutory Year 1 Phonics Screening Check  is a list of 40 words which children will read one -to-one with their class teacher. 

It will assess phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1.

It will check that your child can:

  • Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words e.g. n-igh-t
  • ·Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • ·Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as ‘pseudo words’.


Shared Reading

In KS1 and KS2, children will have opportunities to read frequently during whole class English lessons. This may involve reading together as a class from the board or reading/sharing a range of texts. 

In Reception,  children participate in shared/group reading activities to prepare them for guided reading in KS1.

Guided Reading

Each week the children will work with the class teacher in a small group to access a text.

This text is aimed at a slightly higher level than they are able to read independently, but with the support of the class teacher, children are able to access the text and extend their reading ability and comprehension.

Individual Reading

In EYFS and Key Stage 1 children read independently (often with an adult) on a frequent basis.

In Key Stage 2, children who need more individual support will receive help on a one to one or small group basis.

In Key Stage 1 and EYFS, children access banded reading books, which includes a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.

Parental Involvement

At the start of the school year, your child’s class teacher will have informed you about classroom routines for each class with regards to reading books/reading homework activities.

We emphasise the need for parents to take an active role in their child’s education, supporting the developing reader and encouraging open lines of communication through reading diaries and planners.