St Richard'sCE Primary School

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At St Richard’s School we have adopted a robust and consistent approach to the teaching of early reading. We believe that it is a fundamental skill that will allow children to access all areas of the curriculum successfully, laying a firm foundation for their futures. Our intent is that all children, regardless of their background and starting point, become fluent readers.  




In EYFS and Key Stage 1 there is an emphasis on the teaching phonics. Our phonics is taught following the DfE Letters and Sounds programme. Within daily phonic sessions, children have the opportunity to revisit previous learning, practise and apply new skills in structured but engaging ways.  All reading books sent home and used in lessons are fully decodable and closely matched to the phonic phase the child is currently working within.


We will deliver an early reading program that comprises of:


  • Delivery of Letters and Sounds Phase 1 programme in Nursery through informal learning opportunities as well as focused adult led sessions. These sessions aim to develop phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting skills.
  • Direct, focused phonics which is taught every day in Reception and key stage 1.  Daily phonics sessions are highly structured, providing the opportunity for revision, introduction of new learning, and time to practise and apply new skills in engaging ways.
  • Phonics will be taught progressively from EYFS to Year 2 as an effective way of developing children’s reading and spelling skills. Alongside phonics children are also introduced to “tricky” words which have to be learned and cannot be sounded out.
  • Children will read from books with the sounds they know, while they are learning to read.  In lessons they will apply their skills using our highly structured Dandelion Reading Scheme.  Outside of lessons and at home children will enjoy a wide range of fully decodable books from a variety of different publishers.  These books are organised into phonic phases and teachers will ensure that children read books which are very closely matched to their current phonic ability.
  • Children are assessed at least half termly and where they are not making sufficient progress there is a robust system for catch-up sessions delivered by skilled, trained teaching assistants.  This may be delivered through a small group or intensive 1:1 support.




Through the teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics our aim is for children to become confident decoders and fluent early readers by the end of Key Stage One.  This will provide them with the opportunity to develop their reading fluency, expression and comprehension as they progress through Key Stage 2. 

Attainment in phonics is measured through the Phonics Screening Check at the end of year 1.  Attainment in early reading is measured by end of Key Stage One SATs.

However, we believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our phonics and early reading curriculum goes beyond that measured by statutory assessments.  Our aim is that by the time they leave St Richard’s all children, regardless of background, ability or additional needs will:

  • develop a love of literature
  • become enthusiastic, confident and motivated readers
  • enjoy reading for pleasure