St Mary and St Peter Catholic Primary School


Reading and Phonics

We foster a love of reading through the use of language rich, high quality storybooks. This is reflected in our teaching in EYFS and KS1 through RWI Phonics and in KS2, where children tackle small amounts of challenging texts to develop their comprehension. In both these sessions, reading aloud is an essential component, so adults will model use of intonation and explain how they might think about a text in order to seek understanding. 

 Our curriculum is also structured around language rich, high quality texts. We have a fantastic new library, which children regularly visit and time should be given for them to read for pleasure every week.

Oracy and vocabulary acquisition are key elements of our reading instruction. Talk for Writing strategies are used from EYFS through to Year 6 and encourage children to understand key patterns found in texts and develop their strength at performing; changing the way they speak for different situations. In KS2, pre-teaching of vocabulary is regularly used to support children’s understanding of a text they are reading and broaden their knowledge of words.


Children who read regularly or are read to regularly have the opportunity to open the doors to so many different worlds! More importantly, reading will give your child the tools to become independent life-long learners.

We can achieve this together through:

  • Read Write Inc, a program to help to your child read at school
  • Encouraging children to develop a love of books by reading to them daily, at home and at school
  • Giving children access to a wide range of books at school and at home

At St Mary and St Peter we use Read Write Inc Phonics (RWI) to give your child the best possible start with their literacy. We have put together a guide to how the RWI programme works together with some useful links.

Miss Cullum is our Reading lead teacher, so if you have questions about phonics, contact the school office who can refer you to her. Please take the time to read the information as it will provide invaluable information as to how you can help and support your child in reading.

What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc (RWI) is a phonics complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. The programme is designed for children aged 4-7. However, at SMSP we begin the programme in Nursery and will continue teaching RWI to children beyond the age of 7 if they still need support in their reading.

RWI was developed by Ruth Miskin and more information on this can be found on the RWI website


How will RWI be taught?

All children are assessed regularly by our RWI lead teacher so they work with children at the same level. This allows complete participation in lessons.


When appropriate, children will be introduced to the initial sounds in short five minutes sessions.


In Reception all children will learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down.


The children:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts – see below
  • learn to read words using Fred talk and sound blending
  • read from a range of storybooks and non-fictions books matched to their phonic knowledge
  • work well with partners
  • develop comprehension skills in stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions


The children:

  • learn to write and form the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds with the help of fun phrases
  • learn to write words by using Fred Talk
  • learn to build sentences by practising sentences out loud before they write


The children

They work in pairs so that they:

  • answer every question
  • practise every activity with their partner
  • take turns in talking and reading to each other
  • develop ambitious vocabulary

Year One & Year Two

Children follow the same format as Reception but will work on complex sounds and read books appropriate to their reading level. Daily sessions of RWI phonics last for one hour. Once children become fluent speedy readers they will move on to literacy in Year One and Active English in Year Two.


Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:

Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about

Participation – ensure every child participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning

Praise – ensure children are praised for effort and learning, not ability

Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning

Passion – be passionate about teaching so children can be engaged emotionally.


Children will be taught how to read as follows:

Before you start to teach your child, practise saying the sounds below. These are the sounds we use to speak in English.


Fred Talk

We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’,’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily.

At school we use a puppet called Fred who is an expert on sounding out words! we call it, ‘Fred Talk’. E.g. m-o-p, c-a-t, m-a-n, sh-o-p, b-l-a-ck.


The following video is an example of blending sounds with Fred

To help at home:

Your child will start to bring books home when they are confident readers. Please help them to read and give lots of praise!

If you have any other questions about RWI, please see your class teacher or see Miss Cullum.


Phonics Screening Check Year One

What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?

The Year 1 phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by their school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that schools can track pupils until they are able to decode.



In most instances, writing at our school starts from a high quality text. Teachers integrate artistic, drama and reading experiences to help explore themes and language before using these ideas to stimulate writing. Teachers support writing development by introducing an outstanding model before discussing the grammatical and linguistic features of why it is a good example. This is adapted and discussed through shared and collaborative approaches to support the children in creating their own example of the text. The grammar coverage as outlined by the national curriculum is taught in context where possible to ensure that the children make meaningful connections to how it can be applied.


How do we teach spelling at St Mary and St Peter?

Spelling in Year 1:

Spelling in Year 1 is taught as an integral part of Phonics teaching alongside decoding words. Teachers use sound buttons, mirroring the dots and dashes in Read Write Inc spelling, to ensure there is a continuity of practice.

In Y2, Y3, Y4, Y5 and Y6 we follow the Read, Write, Inc scheme for the specific teaching of spelling.

Read Write Inc. Spelling has been specially created to meet the higher demands of the new national curriculum spelling requirements and tests.  Read Write Inc. Spelling embeds impressive skills in just 15 minutes a day, quickly and effectively filling the gaps in children’s knowledge. To keep children engaged, aliens introduce spelling rules on an exciting online spelling planet and children complete quick-fire activities in their spelling logs. Progress is accurately recorded using practice tests and teachers learn how to move children on quickly.


How do we teach grammar at St Mary and St Peter?

We use a highly-structured teaching scheme from Y1 through to Y6 to deliver high-quality lessons in grammar.  We believe these help every child meet the higher standards of the new curriculum.

Nelson Grammar is a structured grammar teaching programme that is fully in line with the new National Curriculum for England. A careful spiral progression means that all key grammar and punctuation concepts are introduced, revisited and built on as the course progresses.

There are weekly grammar-specific lessons that are enhanced throughout all other lessons where key messages are reinforced by teachers and support staff.  The scheme allows teachers to deploy fine-pitched formative assessments:

Continuous marking and feedback of children's grammar - whether this be written or spoken

Check-ups: short tests which occur on average every half term. These tests re-cap learning from a range of units to ensure that children are retaining their knowledge

Improve Your Writing tasks: short written tasks that help assess how well children can apply their grammar knowledge in context.

Practice Papers for Year 2 and Year 6 to familiarise children with the format of the new National tests. These papers draw on grammar knowledge for the whole key stage.



How do we teach handwriting at St Mary and St Peter?

Early Years Foundation Stage

Children will be taught correct formation before they are expected to practise it. All handwriting learning undertaken in the Foundation Stage will be in pencil (though children will have experience of using a variety of writing tools as part of the general curriculum on a daily basis).

Handwriting will focus on the accurate formation of both capital and lower case letters using a variety of approaches. Teaching will focus initially on patterns and those groups of letters identified as easy letters and also easy words.

Key Stage 1

During Key Stage 1 children will consolidate their learning during the EYFS to ensure that they are confident and consistent in using skills they have learnt in handwriting.   Children’s progress will be monitored according to the national curriculum requirements.

By the end of Year 1 it is expected that most children will be able to use correct letter orientation and proportion in a style that demonstrates connections of letters (a ‘lead-in’ or ‘beginning flick.’) as a precursor to cursive writing. It is expected that most children will have developed a cursive handwriting style by the end of Key Stage 1.

Presentation of written learning

  • A learning objective and date both underlined (these may already have been prepared by the teacher and then stuck in the book during the early months of Year1).
  • Use of a sharp pencil for all work, letters to be in a cursive script that includes lead and end flicks so that it leads into joining up very smoothly.
  • As children progress through Year 2 they will be encouraged to have developed a cursive and joined handwriting script and will be rewarded in achieving this by being given their Handwriting certificate and pen.
  • Children should be encouraged to draw one line through a mistake and write the correction in the next space.

Key Stage 2

During Key Stage 1 children will consolidate their learning during KS1 to ensure that they are confident and consistent in using skills they have learnt in handwriting.   Children’s progress will be monitored according to the national curriculum requirements.

By the end of Year 4 it is expected that all children will use cursive handwriting for all writing except where other special forms are required.

Children should build up speed and ensure consistency in size and proportions of letters, and spacing between letters and words.

By the end of Year 6 it is expected that all children will have a good level of control and independence in their writing, to have developed their own style that maintains the key elements a good handwriting style should have and to write with a flowing hand which is legible and time efficient.


Head of School:
Mrs A. Goddard

Executive Headteacher:
Mrs H. Armstrong

Mr C. Lambert

01493 445 117



East Anglian Way
Great Yarmouth,
NR31 6QY