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How We Teach Reading

On this page you will find information about the approach taken at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School to teach Reading:


For tips, click on the link below:

Book Talk

We ensure the key strategies of using the meaning, structure and visual representation of language are fundamental to our approach to reading.

We prioritise learning through phonics in EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and KS1 (Key Stage 1) through discrete phonics sessions using Ruth Miskin Read Write Inc resources.  Through a multi-sensory approach, the pupils are provided with a picture and an action to help them learn each different sound. This is an effective and interactive way for young learners to recall phonemes and carries forward some of the learning that has taken place in our feeder nurseries. The Ruth Miskin ditties provide a picture and short phrase to act as a memory aid.


Our daily phonics lessons include a variety of games and resources to support our teaching of phonics. It aims to build pupils’ speaking and listening skills, as well as prepare pupils to learn to read, by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed programme for teaching phonic skills, with the aim of pupils becoming fluent readers by age seven. Children are given opportunities to apply these in context to reading and writing throughout the day. The school also draws on many online resources which engage the children with learning.


Phonics involves:


To say the individual sounds that make up a word and blend them together to hear the whole word for reading e.g. s-a-t becomes sat. We say you blend to read and segment (see below) to spell.


To write or spell a word by listening for the sounds in the word and deciding which letters represent those sounds.

We say you blend to read and segment to spell.

So, for example, with ‘dog’, children learn the sounds the letters d,o, and g make separately and then how they blend to say ‘dog’.

Note that it’s the sounds the letters make that are important at this stage and not the letter names (i.e. not ‘ay’, ‘bee’ as in the alphabet song etc).

Sight Vocabulary

Across the school we also teach sight vocabulary sometimes known as high frequency words. These are words you need to learn by sight because they cannot be easily sounded out. These are sent home as ‘Word Mats’ and include words such as the, said, some.


Ways you can support your child at home

  • Play a game – hunt the word – hide words in sand or flour or around your room, set a timer, hold up the word that you want them to hunt for, and ‘go’! Repeat the word and encourage them to say –‘I am looking for the word ‘the’.
  • Play ‘Pairs’, turning over two words at a time trying to find a matching pair. This is especially helpful with the tricky words: the the, to to,  no no,  go go,  I I
  • Write the word twice. Cut one word up and muddle the letters. Put them back to read the word again.
  • Make up actions for words to act as a memory aid.
  • Use magnetic letters to copy and re-make a work.


In Foundation Stage reading skills are taught using a wide range of reading materials.


Children are taught how to handle books and can routinely access big books and story sacks as part of the daily provision. Children learn that all print carries meaning and begin to develop an understanding of story structure and characters through adults sharing and discussing books. Children are given opportunities for individual reading with an adult as well as shared, group and guided reading.


Throughout KS1, pupils are provided with a range of fiction and non-fiction books which are regularly changed to aid progression with their reading. These books are all colour banded so there are a mixture of levels within the same colour for differentiation. We primarily use Read Write Inc, reading books to supplement the taught sessions in our daily phonics lessons.  Once children are secure in their phonic knowledge, we supplement this reading with the popular and well- established Oxford Reading Tree scheme including Fireflies, Songbird and Treetops. In addition to this, books from the Project X reading programme, Bugs Club phonics, Rigby Rockets and Rapid phonics are incorporated to create further enjoyment and a range of reading materials. Normal library books are also age banded to encourage children to feel able to read any book and parents are encouraged to use any books children may have at home for reading homework by noting these in their child’s reading record.


Reading is taught at St Patrick’s in the following ways:

Group reading

Similar to guided reading, but children take it in turns to read aloud from the same book whilst the teacher listens and supports.

Guided reading

About 6 children, grouped by reading ability, read aloud from the same book at the same time whilst the teacher listens in and draws out teaching points. The level of this text is more challenging to enable direct teaching opportunities.

Individual reading

Reading 1:1 or alone as it suggests.

Quiet reading

Children read by themselves for a short time.

Shared reading

A teacher reads and discusses a text with the whole class, demonstrating how to be a good reader.

Story time

The teacher reads aloud to the whole class.


In addition to class based reading, children can also develop their enjoyment for reading throughout school. They have the opportunity to access the school library to choose from a wider range of books and on a termly basis parents are invited into school to share in reading opportunities with their child.

Parent workshops run in Foundation Stage and Year 1 to support parents understanding of their child’s development of reading and writing. See the below information about Reading at Home.

Above all, St Patrick’s strive to give children a well-rounded education in reading that enables children to be lifelong learners.


A fantastic resource for parents which breaks down reading into age bands, explains all the terminology and provides on line books for reading is Oxford Owl. We would highly recommend the site for further information. Click here to be taken to their homepage.


For more ideas, tips and activities on reading visit


Read at Home/Take Home


Reading books are sent home from school for your child to read to you.

These may be from a reading series so your child can practise early reading skills or from the library so you can share and discuss. Books which are sent home are to celebrate achievement and for your child to see themselves as a successful reader, as books that are too difficult will not accelerate reading progress – in fact these may turn emergent readers into reluctant readers. We ask that parents sign their child’s reading record before your child changes their reading book and sometimes children are asked to re-read books to ensure fluency and understanding.


A common problem- children appear to read the book easily, but all they have done is decoded the words.


Comprehension is absolutely key.

Even if your son or daughter can ‘decode’ the words on a page and read them out loud, it doesn’t mean they’ll truly take in what’s going on. If they don’t understand the story, then they will struggle to enjoy reading and as the text becomes longer and more difficult as their word attack skills improve they won’t have embedded the early skills of comprehension so reading will not be for meaning.


To help with this, make sure you don’t just listen to your child read – ask them some questions about the book too and make observations yourself. Make up your own versions of what could happen next in a story you are sharing. Talk about what the author decided. What else could have happened? What did you notice about..?

Some of the school reading scheme books have comprehension questions inside the front and back cover.


If your child appears very unenthusiastic about reading – how can you get them interested in books?


According to Julie Bowtell, it’s about engendering a love of books and stories.

Parents could aim to provide bedtime stories, have story CDs in the car, DVDs of classic tales, to make regular visits to the local library.


Supporting Your Child At Home

There are many ways that you can help to support your child's learning in English at home and our teachers are always happy to support you. Below are some key ideas and starting points to help support your child's reading.

Read oftenread independently and read together. THIS MAKES AN ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE! 

Here are some great reasons to read:


  • Sitting down with a book provides children with a time for quiet and calmness in their lives
  • Stories stimulate  imagination and play
  • It provides parents with more opportunities to bond with their children
  • Stories provoke curiosity and discussion
  • Books provides inspiration, thought and reflection
  • Picture books help readers to develop an appreciation for art and writing
  • Reading a variety of books exposes children to a wide range of language features and vocabulary
  • Listening to stories assists in the development of  literacy skills and language development
  • Books and stories fill a child’s mind with knowledge and new words
  • Reading is FUN!



Reading together provides a great opportunity to check your child's understanding about what they have read.

Question ideas:

'Who wore the football shirt to the party?'     'What was the name of the girl's cat?' & ' Using the information, what is the height of mount Kilimanjaro?'

More challenging inference and deduction questions:

'How did the detective know which house to visit?'   'What clues are there that the character doesn't like his swimming teacher?'   'How do you know that the bus journey was faster than usual?'  & 'Which word in the text is similar in meaning to scary?'

Recommended texts (KS2)

Below are the texts that your children will read in Key Stage 2.

Texts (Key Stage 1 and Early Years)

Please use this link to see examples of texts that are suitable for Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 as well as some of the main texts that are used in Key Stage2.