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Reading is the one ability, that once set in motion, has the ability to feed itself, grow exponentially and provide a basis from which possibilities are limitless.’ Michael Morpurgo


We believe that reading is the key that unlocks the world around us. It is a lifelong skill that is crucial to a child’s development and will open many doors for them in their future lives. Our school commits to inspiring all children to develop a love of reading and see reading as an enjoyable experience. We are committed to using high quality texts and offer an accessible reading experience that all pupils can participate in. One of the key drivers behind our reading curriculum is the need to widen our pupils’ vocabulary due to the demographic of our school community, particularly the high percentage of EAL students we teach.


At St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, we strive to ensure that all children become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One and believe that this is achievable through a combination of systematic, high quality, discrete phonics teaching combined with a whole language approach that promotes a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ culture.

We have developed our own bespoke Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme, developed from the Letters and Sounds framework, following our work with Springhill English Hub.

Our phonics lessons take the following structure:

Review and Revisit

Revisit letter sounds previously taught i.e. using flash cards.


Teach a new letter sound – what it sounds like and looks like. The letter sound is included in words for the children to read and write.


Include a reading / writing element of the focus letter sound – shared and  modelled with the class i.e. reading yes / no questions or writing words into a phoneme frame. This can include online games from ‘Phonics Play’ for example.


Read a ‘Big Cat’ Phonics book – which includes the focus letter sound. Children practise writing the focus letter sound on individual whiteboards.

Whole Class Guided Reading

From Year 2 upwards, pupils take part in whole class Guided Reading lessons. KS1 cover summarising/retelling, predicting, inference & questioning. In addition to building on these strategies taught in KS1, KS2 focus on noting text structure, clarifying, thinking aloud and visualising. Our progression of skills document for all these strategies ensures that the level of challenge is appropriately increasing from one year group to the next.

Struggling Readers

For those pupils who are struggling to keep up with their peers, we carry out an initial assessment to see where their gaps lie, whether that be in phonics, fluency or comprehension. Once this is determined, appropriate intervention is put in place.