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Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Catholic Primary School

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'Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."

Frederick Douglass





 At Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School, we strive to provide the highest quality care and education for all our children. We aim that all children become confident, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. We also aim to promote a love of reading, so children become lifelong readers. We believe that children should get the best teaching possible, as quality teaching is a prerequisite to successful reading. Therefore, we are faithful in our approach and ensure that all staff are fully trained.


We use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children learning to read as soon as possible. Read Write Inc is a complete systematic phonic programme. By using this programme, children will learn to read effortlessly so their energy can be put into comprehending what they read. We follow the five core principles for teaching Read Write Inc. These are:

  • Purpose- know the purpose of every activity and share it with the children,

  • Passion- We are passionate about teaching phonics,

  • Pace- Every moment is taken by teaching and learning,

  • Participation- Every child participates in the lesson through partner practice,

  • Praise- We praise effort and progress, not ability!



Teaching and Learning in EYFS

RWI Phonic lessons are embedded into the school timetable in EYFS and KS1. This is achieved by daily 1-hour lessons where pupils are taught within small homogenous groups, across year groups, which reflect their performance in RWI phonics assessments. (Reception build up to the hour lesson throughout the year).


We start by teaching phonics to the children in reception. First the children learn the silent signals. These are:

  • Team Stop,

  • Turn to your partner,

  • My turn, your turn,

  • Silent handwriting signal,

  • 1,2,3, signal.


The children start to learn Set 1 sounds. Once they are confidently and quickly recognising the sounds, they learn how to blend the sounds together to read and spell. During Autumn Term children in Reception have a speed sounds phonic lesson for 25minutes, taught in their homogenous groups. During the Spring and Summer, the children build up to an hour phonic lesson and we begin streaming with KS1. This ensures that all children are always working in a group matched to their ability.


Teaching and Learning in KS1/KS2

Daily phonics lessons are taught in their homogenous groups every morning for one hour for children in KS1 and the children who still access the programme in KS2. These lessons consist of a 25-minute speed sound lesson and a 35-minute storybook lesson.


Reading Books

Children in EYFS will take home a wordless book to begin with and as they learn Set 1 sounds they will take home blending books. Once children can blend, they will take home RWI reading books. These books are closely matched to their phonic knowledge and the phonic group that they have been assessed in. Phonic videos from the virtual classroom are also sent home weekly for the children to watch and consolidate learning that has taken place in school.


  • Group A/B- Learning to Blend: children will have phonic sounds cards and weekly videos matched to the sounds they have been taught,

  • Group C- Orally Blending: children will have RWI blending books and weekly phonics ‘Fred Talk’ phonic videos,

  • Ditty Group- Blending Independently: These children will read RWI blending books, and will have videos linked to the word time they are up to,

  • Red- Grey Group: children will take home the reading book they have read in class, this is usually a three-day or five-day rolling programme. They will also have a book bag book which is closely linked to the other book.



We assess every pupil on the programme every six weeks, using the RWI Assessments. The Reading Leaders analyse this data to assign pupils to a group which matches their reading ability. Children who need any additional support are highlighted for one-to-one or small group interventions.


1:1 Intervention

Reading Leaders will analyse the data and identify children in each group who will benefit from extra intervention. Phonic teachers are given time throughout the day to deliver 1:1 intervention using the RWI Fast Track Phonic Programme. Children also have afternoon phonic sessions which can consist of pinny time, virtual classroom links or small group speed sound interventions.


The Reading Leader hold weekly teaching practice sessions. These are either linked to data or what RWI teachers have brought to the Reading Leaders attention. These sessions ensure the consistency of teaching and also gives teachers time to share good practice and gives Reading Leaders insight into where all groups are up to.




Children are taught to:

  • say the pure sounds ('mmm' not 'muh', 'sss' not 'suh' etc. see link below to hear pure sounds) to decode letter/sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly and use their phonic knowledge and skills to see a letter, or group of letters and say the corresponding sound.
  • say words by sounding - blending (Fred talk) e.g. m-a-t = mat, sh-o-p = shop. Children then learn to read words by saying the sounds in a word then blending them together to say the whole word.
  • read ‘tricky’ (red words) on sight such as ‘come,’ ‘was,’ ‘said’ and ‘you’. These are words where one part of the word is trying to trick the children. We teach them to look at the word and spot the part that is trying to trick us. 
  • understand what they read.
  • read aloud with fluency and expression.
  • spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words. They use ‘Fred Fingers’ to say each of the sounds they can hear in a word before they attempt to write it.
  • develop pencil control, form letters correctly and acquire good handwriting.


The children practise their reading with books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘red words’. This is so that, early on, they experience success and quickly begin to see themselves as readers. Please help your child to practise reading for at least 10 minutes every day at home. We cannot stress enough how important this is.


Phonics is taught daily to children in EYFS, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed the phonics screening in Year 1 or completed the Read, Write Inc phonics programme. Our aim is for most children to be finished Read Write Inc Phonics by the end of year 1 or shortly after they start year 2.  They will then start our Spelling Programme.

Progress with Phonics and the Year 1 Phonics Screen

We use various ways to find out how the children are progressing in reading. Each half term children are assessed in Phonics. They are then grouped accordingly to ensure they are always being taught at the correct level to provide challenge. In class we regularly assess how fluently and accurately the children can read words. Children who are at the same reading level are grouped together for guided reading however these groups are fluid and if a child makes faster progress they are swiftly moved to a different group. Children who are not making the expected level of progress in phonics and reading will receive intervention support. We use Read Write Inc one-to-one tutoring for children from Year 1 to Year 2 who require extra phonics tuition to catch up with their peers.

In the summer term, the government requires all the Year 1 children to do a National Phonics screen. The children who require it will get extra support in order to enable them to successfully pass this screen. All the children who do not achieve the pass mark will continue to get support with their phonics in Year 2 in order to give them the best chance of achieving a pass when the retake the screen at the end of Year 2.

Read Write Inc Progression of sounds


Letter formation chart

Fred Talk Games to Aid Blending

Parent Information