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Reading and Phonics




What do we teach?

In St Christopher's CE Primary, we use the DfE-approved Pearson Bug Club to teach synthetic phonics.


Children begin phonics as soon as they enter Reception class. Phonics is taught daily through a systematic approach. Children are taught within their class and any additional support required is delivered in small groups.


In Reception class children begin by developing an awareness of sounds through stories, rhymes and games. They quickly move on to learn the links between individual letters and their sounds. There are 44 different sounds to be learnt and again these are taught in a systematic way throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1.


How do we teach phonics?

Within Early Years and KS1 classes, phonics is taught discreetly in a daily session that lasts between 30 to 40 minutes. Children then apply their new skills when reading books from the Phonics Bug scheme which match the letters and sounds that they have previously learnt.


Teachers regularly assess children’s progress to check where they are and what they need to learn next.




Phonics based approach

A phonics based approach is used in Reception class to introduce children to reading. Children learn to decode books that are closely matched to the letters and sounds they are currently learning.


Children are encouraged to read at home on a daily basis. Books are changed three times a week.  A reading record book is used as a communication tool between parents and teachers. Children are rewarded for their commitment to regular reading.


Also, children are provided with log in details for Bug Club online reading resource. Here children can practise phonics through appealing games and activities.


Book bands


When children move beyond Phase 5 phonics and a predominantly phonics approach to reading, they are taught a broader range of reading skills to develop their understanding of the texts they read. Books are grouped by the coloured book band system and pupils are directed towards the appropriate band for their reading level.  We use book bands right up to the end of Year 6.


Children in KS1 and Y3 continue to log their home and school reading in their Reading Record book. Higher up KS2, classes are taught how to keep their own reading logs.  Regular reading with family members is encouraged in all year groups.


Treasure Chest Books

Each class has a set of 'treasure chest books' which the children borrow to enjoy at home with their families.  These books are not tied to the children's reading level.  Children are encouraged to choose a broad range of different treasure chest books, based on their interests and the recommendations of their peers.  


Whole Class Reading

We teach comprehension and reading fluency skills right up through the school, using a whole-class reading approach based on high quality shared texts.  We use the VIPERS acronym to help children understand the reading skills that they will be assessed on at the end of each Key Stage.



Our whole-class reading sessions are highly interactive and involve lots of discussion, movement and drama.  Teachers model skills, then scaffold the children in learning to apply the same skills independently.  The lessons are carefully planned to enhance the children's understanding and enjoyment of a range of challenging texts.  Children record their responses to the texts through notes, annotations, artwork and writing.  These are collected on our working walls.

Reading progression and texts Y3