Reading and Writing at St Joseph’s


 At St Joseph’s we teach children to read through synthetic phonics, following the structure and phases set out in Letters and Sounds (DfE 2007).

 Every day, in Reception and Year One, children will learn their sounds and how to blend these sounds together to make words. The units of sound are called phonemes.

 There are plenty of resources available to help parents and children. To hear which letters and combination of letters (known as digraphs for a pair of letters and trigraphs where three letters work together) make which sounds, watch this video.


 There are lots of apps which support phonics teaching - for example follow this link  for the Twinkl phonics suite. This is free in the basic version.



Please see the teachers in Foundation and Year One for further information on teaching phonics. Workshops will be run, in the Autumn term, to update new parents to Foundation and year 1 in the way phonics can be approached with the children in these key stages.

 Class teachers will also give you resources to reinforce learning in school.

 Reading at home:

 In Reception and Year One, the books the children take home to share with an adult, relate to the phonic sounds that they have been learning, and are colour banded to ensure that they give the correct level of challenge to support the child's learning.

(See below for an explanation of how colour bands work.)

Families are encourages to have fun with reading, and to  share other types of reading materials and games that give  the children as wide an experience as possible  -  encouraging a love of reading that will last.

 Understanding Phonics - supporting Early Reading - see document below

 Developing reading Year 2 onwards:

​Throughout the early years of reading (Reception, Years One and Two) children work through books building on their decoding and whole word sight knowledge and developing their understanding/comprehension. These books follow a colour banding to identify the level of challenge.

 Colour Bands explained - see document below


 Throughout the year groups the children will experience guided reading sessions in school that will help them develop their general comprehension and understanding of texts including inference – the skill of making informed predictions and conclusions from implied clues rather than things that are clearly written.

This is a tricky area for many children and requires lots of supporting questions (A list of the types of questions that can be asked to support this development can be found below.)

 Comprehension questions – Bloom’s Taxonomy Questions For Reading - see document below

 Reading beyond colour bands:

 Once children are reading and understanding white books confidently they will move on to Accelerated Reader. (This programme is currently in the process of being adopted and will be up and running very soon – in the meantime children will continue to access blue and then red books from the library as well as recommended books from our reading spine.)

Accelerated Reader is a web-based programme, which ensures that children continue to read books at the right level of challenge to their ability. After they have read a book the children log on and take a quiz to show how well they have understood the book and are given a score to reflect this. They earn points, rewards and certificates for their reading, and can get on with books independently, whilst teachers and parents can keep a watch on their progress and understanding. All the fiction books in our school library work with the Accelerated Reader programme, and we exchange these on a regular basis with the Devon Schools' Library Service so that there are always new books for children to read. Read more about Accelerated Reader in the leaflet below.

Accelerated Reader - A Parent's Guide - see document below

 Writing at St Joseph’s:

At St Joseph’s we are committed to raising our children’s writing standards and as part of The Primary Writing Project are working to ensure quality of provision across all age ranges.

‘The Primary Writing Project is a whole-school, cumulative and systematic process for teaching reading and writing, based on what works in many schools. The aim is to help children make faster progress and gain confidence and pleasure as a reader and writer. It is grounded in the process of shared writing with a systematic focus on securing the basics of handwriting, phonics, spelling and grammar in relation to what children need to make progress in the text type being taught. It is also founded on the principle that schools should increase the amount children read and are read to. One key element is establishing a very strong ‘literature spine’ which identifies key stories, picture books, poems and non-fiction which will be read and drawn upon to develop reading for pleasure, comprehension and writing.’

Primary writing project


 Literature spine:

Our Literature spine – books recommended as readers for the children and books that are used in the writing curriculum to develop writing) is always under review to make sure it is developing into a strong core of texts to support the children.

The children are encouraged to read across different Genres – types of text.

(There will be a parent/child tracking system that will work launch when the accelerated reader comes on line – watch this space.)

Year group lists of recommended texts - see document below