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St John's Primary School

Phonics and Reading


Phonics is the systematic teaching of the sounds, or 'phonemes', that accompany the written letters ('graphemes') in English. It is designed to teach children to become confident and fluent readers by the end of Year 2.

All children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 have a phonics session every day where they are introduced to new sounds and practise the sounds that they are familiar with.

At St John's, we follow 'Letters and Sounds', a document published by the Department for Education. It is broken down into 6 parts, or 'phases'. Alongside this we have our 'Singing Alphabet' which helps support the learning of phonemes. Click here for a copy.

Year 1 Phonics Screening

At the end of Year 1, children will undertake a statutory phonics screening check. This is a short assessment to make sure that children have learnt phonics to an appropriate standard.

There are 40 words in the screening check which children are asked to read on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. The check is made up of 'real words' (eg. 'mud') and 'non-words' (eg. 'splog') and children need to apply their phonic knowledge to read all words.

Preparation for the check takes place during the daily phonics session, but you can help your child at home by practising phonics on a regular basis. 


English workshop (guided reading) is a daily occurrence throughout the school and in this time children have further opportunity to engage with high quality texts and show their understanding through a range of responses such as drama, extended writing opportunities and reader’s theatre. We also ensure that throughout their time at school children regularly hear adults reading aloud.

Our reading books are graded using the ‘Book Bands’ system. The predominant reading schemes are as follows:

EYFS - Oxford Reading Tree, Songbirds, Read Write Inc. 

KS1 - Bug Club, Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star, Read Write Inc., 'Real books'

KS2- Oxford Reading Tree, 'Real books'