Reading and Phonics

At St. Michael’s C of E Primary School we believe that being able to read and write are the vital skills that enable us to understand and express ourselves more effectively.

These skills open the door to learning. We passionately believe in helping children to develop not only the technical skills of reading and writing, but also in engendering a love for literature and the different genres of writing.


All of our teaching and support staff have been trained in the phonics programme ‘Sounds-Write’. Our teaching of reading and writing within the school is, therefore, based on the Sounds-Write programme. This begins very early on when children join in Reception and continues until a child is a confident and competent reader and speller. Sounds-Write is used around the world and is one of the DfE approved schemes.

The knowledge of sounds and symbols is an important starting point for understanding and using written language and we believe that a strong and consistent approach to the teaching of phonics is vital for our children to begin to access the rest of the curriculum. This is, however, used in conjunction with many other strategies to help children to begin to read and write.

What is Sounds Write?


Our classrooms are full of visual stimulus to help children begin to read and write. In KS1 children listen to daily stories during story time. The teachers choose from a bank of suggested literature to share with the children to help promote a love of reading from an early age and to help with early vocabulary development.

In KS1, children read independently at least three times per week. They read and re-read their Dandelion or Sounds-write decodable reader. Decodable readers are used when learning to read and only contain the phonetic code that the children have been exposed to. This means that the children are able to read most of the words by applying their phonics. This success in reading builds confidence and helps instil a love of reading. It also helps to consolidate the skills and sounds learnt from the Sounds-Write phonics sessions and supports the development of good reading strategies. This in turn helps to build reading fluency. Decodable readers will be given to the children throughout their time in EYFS, year 1 and for most of year 2 until the child has been exposed to most of the phonetic code. 

In KS2, reading remains at the heart of the curriculum. Sharing high quality texts with the children continues, sometimes in the form of shared reading sessions and other times as part of story time. Shared reading sessions are led by the teacher using high quality texts which have been carefully selected using the theory from the book ‘Reading Reconsidered’ by Doug Lemov. Other texts used in these sessions are chosen from recent award winning literature. The purpose of these sessions is to continue to develop the children’s love of reading as well as enhancing the children’s vocabulary and developing comprehension skills. Within the weekly timetable, there is also time allocated to teach discrete comprehension sessions where the children use age related extracts to develop comprehension skills. These specific skills and text types are carefully planned so that the children experience text in different forms.

The books available to the children in each of the classrooms at St. Michaels in KS2 have been selected by the class teachers. Each year group has multiple copies of ten story books which have been carefully chosen. As part of the work completed with Teresa Cremin at  the Open University and The English Hub, we believe that having texts that are familiar to the class teacher and other children, can significantly promote book talk and meaningful dialogue about authors, plot and characters inside and outside of the classroom setting.

In the wider curriculum, subject leaders have worked to develop a selection of fiction and non-fiction texts. These texts are used within the teaching of certain National curriculum topics. Throughout all subjects, the children have opportunity to read and use different books and extracts which further develop their word reading and comprehension skill set whilst developing their subject knowledge in subjects such as history, geography art and D.T.

Names and Link Information
Christmas Book Guide – Ages 3-5 years Christmas Book Gift Guide for ages 3-5
Christmas Book Guide – Ages 5-7 years Christmas Book Gift Guide for ages 5-7
Christmas Book Guide – Ages 7-9 years Christmas Book Gift Guide for ages 7-9
Christmas Book Guide – Ages 9-11 years Christmas Book Gift Guide for ages 9-11
Mental health and wellbeing Mental health and wellbeing


Book Chat
Reading with your child can support them in developing a love of reading. The OU have come up with guides and videos to support parents with this.
Book Chat: Reading with your Child | Research-Rich Pedagogies
Book Chat Guide
Book Chat Poster

Reading Aloud
Books for Topics 3-5
Books for Topics 5-7
Books for Topics 7-9
Books for Topics 9-11

Christmas Gift book list
Christmas ages 3-5 2020
Christmas ages 5-7 2020
Christmas ages 7-9 2020
Christmas ages 9-11 2020

Recommended Texts

Booktrust great books guide 2020

Story time
Story time 3-5
Story time 5-7
Story time 7-9
Story time 9-11

Top Ten Storytimes – 3-7 years
Top Ten Storytimes – 7-11 years

Supporting Readers at Home Poster
Reading Aloud to Children – 7 steps to make it magical
Why re-reading story books matters

Picture Books
YR and Y1 picture books about fear and worry
YR and Y1 picture books promoting diversity