Reading and Phonics

At St Martin’s Primary School, we aim to provide high quality teaching and learning experiences, which result not only in children becoming skilled and fluent readers, but also in them developing a life long love of reading.

Guided Reading:

We have daily guided reading sessions in all classes and our teachers record our progress as we read. Using this approach at least every child is heard read at least once a week. The focus of these sessions mainly focus on developing children’s understanding of the text, giving children opportunities to discuss the choices the author has made.

Accelerated Reader:

To maintain our enthusiasm for reading, once we become fluent readers or move into Key Stage Two (whichever comes first) we move from banded books to the Accelerated Reading Scheme. We are assessed regularly to provide us with a ‘Zone of Proximal Development’, this then informs us about the range of books which we can choose from the extensive choice within our library. After reading each book, we complete an ‘online quiz’ . Our achievements are celebrated throughout the school both within our class and as a whole school.


We visit our library regularly where an adult helps us to choose books that we will enjoy and are within our ZPD. There are a range of fantastic fiction and non-fiction books to choose from. This was increased this year to launch the Accelerated Reader Scheme. If there is a particular book that we would like to read we inform our teacher, who will try and get it into our library, for us all to enjoy.


If you would like access to some fantastic eBooks, why not visit www.oxfordowl.co.uk (external link). There are over 260 free books for parents to read with their child at home with lots of ideas on how to support your child with reading.

If you would like to know more about reading at St Martin’s Primary School, feel free to contact us.

Why Phonics?

The purpose of high quality phonic teaching is for children to secure the important skills of word decoding that lead to fluent and automatic reading, which frees them to concentrate on the meaning of the text.

Synthetic Phonics

Synthetic phonics is a method of teaching reading which first teaches the letter sounds and then builds up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words.

  • Synthetic phonics teaches the phonemes (sounds) associated with the graphemes (letters). We use the Letters and Sounds Six Phase Programme which introduces the sounds associated with the letters at the rate of about one sound per day.
  • The sounds are taught on their own and then blended together (this is called synthesising), all-through-the-word. For example, children might be taught a short vowel sound (e.g. /a/e//i/o/u/) in addition to some consonant sounds (e.g. /s/, /t/, /p/). Then the children are taught words with these sounds (e.g. sat, sit, pat, pit, pot, tap, at, it). They are taught to pronounce each phoneme in a word, then to blend the phonemes together to form the word (e.g. /s/ – /i/ – /t/; “sit”).
  • We teach sounds in all positions of the words( for example /t/ at the beginning of the word “top”, but at the end of the word “pit” or in the middle of the word “pitch”), but the emphasis is on all-through-the-word segmenting and blending from the beginning of the programme.
  • We are rigorous in our approach making sure that our phonic teaching is FUN, FREQUENT, FAST and FAITHFUL. Research evidence has shown that the most effective way to teach phonics is by using one main programme (in our case Letters and Sounds). This can be complimented and enriched by other materials and we use the Jolly Phonics Programme and Bug Club to make our early phonics learning fun, successful and accessible for all learners

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