Teaching Phonics

Teaching Phonics

What do we teach?

At St. Catherine’s C of E Primary School, Read Write Inc. (RWI) is used to teach synthetic phonics.  A graduated approach is used and children begin phonics as soon as they enter Reception. Phonics is taught daily through a systematic approach. Children are taught in small groups based on the progress they have made in the scheme.

In Reception, children begin by developing an awareness of sounds through stories, rhymes and games. They quickly move on to learn the links between individual letters and their sounds. There are 44 different sounds to be learnt and again these are taught in a systematic way throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1 using the RWI scheme.  In some cases, where children in Key Stage Two still require early reading skills as part of the RWI scheme, they may join these groups.

How do we teach phonics?

Within Early Years and KS1, phonics is taught discreetly in a daily session. Children then apply their new skills when reading books from the RWI scheme which match the letters and sounds that they have previously learnt. Teachers regularly assess children’s progress to check where they are and what they need to learn next.

See video link for an information about RWI lessons

See Parent FAQ document for RWI phonics.



We adopt a graduated approach to the teaching of reading, using the following steps:

Phonics based approach

A phonics-based approach is used in Reception and Key Stage One, to introduce children to reading. Children learn to decode books that are closely matched to the letters and sounds they are currently learning. Children are encouraged to read at home on a daily basis. Children keep the same book to allow them to apply their skills to decode the text. They then keep the same book to allow them the opportunity to practise reading for fluency. A reading record book is used as a communication tool between parents and teachers and allows regular updates on reading progress. Children are also provided with log in details for My-On online reading resource which allows them to access a range of books both fiction and non-fiction, linked to their reading level.

Accelerated Reader

Teaching Phonics 1

The Accelerated Reader (AR) approach moves away from the traditional reading scheme to include books by a range of popular, modern and classic authors and poets. There are also non-fiction texts, graphic novels and play scripts to name a few additional text types. The system determines the level of readability for this vast range of texts. After assessment, children are allocated a numerical range from which they can choose books. This is closely monitored by teachers. Independent reading and level of understanding is confirmed through an online retrieval quiz taken on the completion of a book. Children are expected to achieve a minimum of 85% success rate over the term. We try to provide books that broaden horizons and help learners connect with the world around them with a focus on positive moral values, developing empathy and showing diversity.

Teaching Phonics 2

Linked to Accelerated Reader is the MyON online library which has over 5000 books for children to access at all levels. Children can access MyON at school and at home through an individual login which allows them to track their own progress, find a range of books that they are interested in, interact with teacher led reading tasks linked to their topics, and take AR tests to track their reading progress.

Reading for pleasure

At St Catherine’s C of E Primary School we feel really passionately that the children develop a lifelong love of reading and books and that they choose to read for pleasure.

  • We encourage the children to read a wide range of genres and authors, including non-fiction books, newspapers and novels.
  • Book displays around the school inspire the children to choose books and authors that they may not have considered before.
  • We have also worked hard to develop our reading spaces around the school including the development of our library space to inspire the children’s interest and enthusiasm for reading and books.
  • Our online reading library is a useful tool to support children to a wide range of video and audio versions of popular titles and authors.
  • Teacher’s enjoy sharing books with children in all classes.