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English Reading

'From the very beginning the Word was with God. The Word was the source of life and this life brought light to mankind.'

John 1:2-4

Phonics or Speed Sounds

St. Mary’s Catholic  Primary School follows the Speed Sounds Programme written by Ruth Miskin for the teaching and learning of Phonics

Read Write Inc (RWI)

Our children are taught one way of representing the 44 main sounds of English first, and then go on to learn the alternative spellings later on. Children are taught to recognise the sounds and to put them together (‘sound blend’ them) into words for reading.

When teaching the letter sounds, it is important to remember to keep them very ‘pure’ and distinct, to help with sound-blending later on. To enable your child to gain confidence in reading, they should only be asked to read words containing letter sounds they know securely.


Speed Sounds Set 1

m - a - s - d - t - i - n - p - g - o - c - k - u - b - f - e - l - h - sh - r  - j - v - y - w - th - z - ch - qu - x - ng – nk

(You may wish to purchase your own flashcard set to support learning at home. For this part of the programme you will need: RWI Home Phonics Flashcards Set 1 - Green Box)


Speed Sounds Set 2

ay – ee – igh – ow – oo – oo – ar – or – air – ir – ou – oy

(You may wish to purchase  your own flashcard set to support learning at home. For this part of the programme you will need: RWI More Home Phonics Flashcards Set 2 - Yellow Box)


Speed Sounds Set 3

a-e – ea – i-e – o-e – u-e – aw – are – ur – er – ow – ai – oa – ew – ire – ear – ure – tious – tion

(You may wish to purchase  your own flashcard set to support learning at home. For this part of the programme you will need: RWI More Home Phonics Flashcards Set 2 - Yellow Box)

The Phonics Screening Check

The Phonics Screening Check is an assessment at the end of Year 1 to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonetic decoding to an appropriate standard. It enables schools to identify children who need additional help and ensure they are given support to improve their reading skills. Children who do not meet the expected standard at the check in Year 1 are able to retake it in Year 2.

It is a Statutory Requirement to carry out the screening check. The check is a short, simple screening check which consists of a list of 40 words and pseudo words (non-words), which the child reads one-to-one with their class teacher.

The Phonics Screening Check takes place in June and the result will be shared with you on your child's end of year report. 

The Intent, implementation and Impact of our Curriculum – English.


At St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, English and the teaching of English is the foundation of our curriculum. Our main aim is to ensure every single child becomes primary literate and progresses in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

Reading and writing at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School are not only daily discrete lessons, but are at the cornerstone of the entire curriculum.  It is embedded within all our lessons and we will strive for a high level of English for all.  Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at St Mary’s will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum where reading and writing are intrinsically linked.  This will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.


With these aims in mind and to provide consistency in our teaching of phonics, to further improve results, St Mary’s follows the Read, Write, Inc. approach to teaching phonics in EYFS, KS1 and for those children who required further phonic intervention in KS2. We have also revamped our class library provision, emphasising reading for pleasure and providing our children with new, up to date reading books written by modern as well as traditional authors. Class novels have been carefully selected by teachers and there is an expectation that the children are read aloud to by an adult for 15 minutes every single day. Whole class reading takes place in years 3-6. A wide range of effective questioning will be used during class discussions to challenge, probe and extend children’s understanding and learning of the texts used in guided reading.

In order to expose children to a variety of genres, which helps to utilise and embed the writing skills, teachers use a variety of recommended texts to plan, structure and teach their English lessons.  This plan is designed to show progress, teach the pertinent year group objectives, apply and consolidate these skills and develop vocabulary.  

By the time our pupils leave St. Mary’s we aim for our children to be confident, fluent speakers who are able to use a wide range of adventurous and ambitious vocabulary in the correct context.  We aim for our pupils to give well-structured descriptions, explanations, presentations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings.  Our pupils will make reference back to their original thoughts when their opinions have changed and give reasons for their change of focus. They will maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments with confidence.  They will be able to consider and evaluate different viewpoints, adding their own interpretations and building on the contributions of others. Regular choral speaking assemblies take place throughout the school year to promote children’s pronunciation, rhythm, and intonation as well as enriching their vocabulary.


The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills.  We aim that by the end of KS2 all of our children have made considerable progress from their starting points in EYFS.  With the implementation of the writing journey (including mastering of the Phonic Code) being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, our children are becoming more confident writers. Through wider reading in English, children develop a love for reading, expanding their minds and curiosity of the world in which we live. Children produce high quality work that is influenced by their exposure to these texts. We grow a love of reading within our children and an appreciation of its educational, cultural and entertainment values. At St Mary’s children learn the importance of listening attentively not only to any teacher or adult but also to their peers; they develop an understanding of the value of listening and the need to appreciate or challenge views given. Children show respect for others when communicating, even when views differ.