Reading and Phonics

At St Barnabas we provide a learning environment that encourages all children to fully develop their ability to read. The skills that children develop in this area are necessary for all areas of the curriculum.


Children have Guided Reading where the teacher provides support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues, letter and sound relationships, word structure, etc.). Comprehension is also a key aspect of Guided Reading, whereby children develop a deeper understanding of the content they have read through careful and planned questioning. Individual Reading is also a key aspect of our approach to teaching reading.


Each class has its own reading area, which we aim to make as inviting and stimulating as possible. Within each reading area there are levelled books that the children can access, as well as books of interest. There are also books available related to the current curriculum topic to extend children’s interest and knowledge.


Children take their reading books home each day to practise their reading skills and share their learning with their families. A St Barnabas reading planner is provided for each child so that teachers and parents/carers can communicate about the progress that is being made.


The school uses a range of texts for individual and guided reading, which are colour coded using book bands and Reading Recovery levels. They offer very specific levels and enable us to target children’s individual needs. In addition to this, the children have access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction from both the classroom and the library collections. All year groups have a set of core books which they are expected to read or have read to them throughout each year.


At St Barnabas we are determined that every child will learn to read and write and enjoy their learning journey to becoming talented readers and writers. We follow Letters and Sounds, a structured, systemic phonics programme. We believe that high quality, regular and robust systematic teaching of phonics is central to the success of all our pupils in order for them to achieve high reading standards in Key Stage 1 and for life.


We believe that the best phonics teaching is characterised by a planned structure including; fast pace, reinforcement, active participation and application by all children.


Children are given opportunities to apply what they have learnt through reading – including time to read aloud to adults to practise their decoding skills – writing and comprehension of what they are reading. The children worked in phased groups, within their year group, to ensure that all children are working in the correct phase and being challeneged.


Phase 1 (Reception)

During this phase we develop speaking and listening so children can begin to hear and recognise and talk about sounds including environmental sounds, body sounds, instrumental sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending. During this phase children are given opportunities to:

  • Develops speaking and listening through an enriched environment and structured activities
  • Daily opportunities to listen to and enjoy stories, songs and drama;
  • Discrete phonic lessons that support the development of listening skills in order to prepare pupils to prepare to distinguish sounds.

Phase 2

In this phase children learn 19 sounds of the alphabet and their most common sounds. They learn to blend sounds together to read words and segment sounds to spell words. They develop reading by reading simple captions and sentences.

Phase 3

In this phase they learn the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet along with their most common sound. They begin to learn sounds that are represented by two letters or more. They develop skills through reading, spelling and writing words, sentences and questions.

Phase 4 (Key Stage 1)

This is a consolidation stage where we teach children to blend and segment longer words it also develops spelling development as they learn to spell words with adjacent consonants

Phase 5 (Throughout Year 1)

During this phase children learn more complex sounds and also learn alternative ways to pronounce the sounds they already know.

Phase 6 (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Throughout this phase children child develop comprehension skills needed to become successful readers. Children learn a range of strategies that help them to develop their skills of inference this includes use of dictionaries to clarify meanings and extend vocabulary, generating questions to investigate texts and summarising texts read. Through all stages of phonics children are given opportunities to listen to texts, read a range of books in order to develop their love of reading.



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T. 0117 377 2391 E.