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Phonics and Reading at Our Lady of Ransom


At Our Lady of Ransom Catholic Primary School we believe that the teaching of high quality phonics is vital in order for children to secure the crucial skills of word recognition that, once mastered, enables them to read fluently and automatically. Once children are fluent readers, they are able to concentrate on the meaning of the text.  

Phonics in the Early Years Foundation Stage

All phonics is taught following the Letters and Sounds Programme during a daily phonics session. The structure of this session is set as review/revisit previous phonemes taught, teach new phoneme, practise using this and then apply. The actions from Jolly Phonics are taught to increase the children’s confidence and as a prompt. The children are initially taught as a whole class, then work in smaller groups according to their needs. Children begin to use interactive ICT resources to practise phonics skills e.g. letters and sounds, Phonics Play etc.

Phonics in Key Stage 1

Children continue to follow the Letters and sounds programme, to underpin the planning of daily phonic lessons. There are intervention groups to support children who are still working at the lower phases.  They will continue to use the Jolly Phonics actions when needed, with additional actions being introduced for alternative grapheme phoneme correspondences if necessary. This is enriched by phonics play and LCP Phonics.

Phonics in Key Stage 2

If at least 70% of the cohort has not completed the Letters and Sounds programme of study, then it will be continued to be taught daily for 20 minutes.  If only a small proportion of children have not completed the programme, an intervention group will be set up to support these pupils.

Planning and Delivery

In accordance with Letters and Sounds, class teachers plan their phonics teaching using a five part structure:

1. Revisit previous learning;

2. Teach the new phoneme/rule for that day;

3. Practise using this;

4. Apply when playing a game, in writing, speaking etc.;

5. Assess children’s knowledge of the day’s learning.

Teaching is multi-sensory, encompassing simultaneous visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities to enliven core learning. Phonics is taught in short, briskly paced sessions and then applied to reading and writing in a meaningful context.  All activities are well matched to the children’s abilities and interests, and all classroom environments have an age appropriate display concentrating on both sounds and key words.


At Our Lady of Ransom, reading has a high profile in all curriculum areas.  We have a selection of reading schemes to support the children: Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree and Bug Club.  These are carefully graded by reading levels known as book bands. This means that when we know a child’s book band, they will be able to select books from different reading schemes with confidence, knowing that they are the right level.  We also have a large selection of ‘free readers’ available in the library, for those children who have reached the end of the banded reading schemes.

Children will receive daily support with their reading in school through a variety of approaches:

  • Shared Reading – Each day classes or groups will share a text, e.g. a big book, report on the IWB and read aloud words, phrases or sentences. Individual children may also be asked to read these or parts of the text. This shared reading will have a focus, e.g. key words, punctuation, spelling etc. that links with the day’s learning.

  • Guided Reading – Readers of a similar ability are grouped and share a text once a week, led by class teachers or Learning Support Assistants. Readers take turns to read and discuss the text, concentrating on the assessment focus for that session.

  • Individual Reading – In Reception, individual reading with an adult occurs for each child weekly. This progresses to fortnightly in Key Stage 1. Readers needing more support will read more frequently. How often this occurs will be determined by the class teacher and is supported by the child reading to Teaching Assistants, volunteer helpers and parents. Each time a child is read with individually, it is highlighted in their reading record with a comment or a stamp.

At every occasion when a child reads in school there will be an emphasis on their understanding of what they have read, as well as fluency. It is important that this is encouraged at home and steps have been taken to provide parents with the information needed to read meaningfully with their child.

All teachers are required to ensure that they provide a rich reading environment; enabling the children access to a variety of texts. This includes the teacher using high quality texts within their teaching across the curriculum and is enhanced by the school’s investment in a large library of e-books, accessible to pupils both at home and at school, through the Bug Club, Fiction Express and Purple Mash.

Teachers read to the class, sharing whole texts together within an atmosphere which enables children to listen and respond to the text together. All year groups build in ‘quiet reading time’ into the school day, providing a time when children can read to themselves, with a peer or with a child from another class.

Assessment of reading happens continuously throughout the school year and is informed through all the approaches to reading that happen daily in school. Class teachers will use this information to support children with their reading and to decide when they are ready to move onto the next stage. This could happen at any time in the school year. Children will not be expected to read a set number of books or spend a set amount of time within a band before they progress. Benchmarking may be used by the class teacher to support their assessment of readers that need greater support.