‘Inspiring Independent Learners with Jesus by our Side’

Phonics and Reading

Essential Letters and Sounds - Oxford Owl

Essential Letters and Sounds is a resource we use in school to support the systematic teaching of phonics, which takes place daily in Reception and Year One.  

The programme is split into six Phases. Your child's class teacher will be able to tell you the Phase your child is working at.

Below you will find links to pages for each Phase. For each Phase there is a brief explanation of what your child will be taught within that Phase. There is then a selection of 'flash cards', record sheets, reading lists and games to support your child in learning the key skills taught within the Phase.

If you require any additional support or advice, please come into school and speak with your child's class teacher or our Reading Co-ordinator, Mrs Mullins.

To develop the children's confidence and independence in reading, all children in Reception and Year 1 (Year 2 can also accessing these books) are provided with an Oxford Owl decodable reading book that closely matches the sounds that they have learnt in class. The books will contain only the sounds that they have learnt and are therefore able to decode themselves. In addition to this, they are provided with a colour banded book that they can share with you. This is to allow them to develop their vocabulary, enjoy stories and to develop their comprehension. 


Hear Each Letter Sound

Parents often ask how to 'say' each letter sound that we teach. Click on the link below to find out.



Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check is a national check of children's phonic knowledge that all children in England are required to complete. The check takes place during one week in June, the DFE inform schools when this will be.

The check requires children to read a list of forty words to their teacher. This is done 'one to one' in a quiet place. The results of the check are reported to families at the end of Year 1 (along with your child's annual report).

A threshold is set each year. Children who do not meet the threshold will be provided with extra support in Year 2. They will then take the check again at the end of Year 2 and the result will, again, be reported to families.

An example of the check published by the Department for Education can be viewed below.

Example Screening Check



Phase 1   Phase 2   Phase 3
Phase 4   Phase 5   Phase 6



At St Bede’s, we are passionate about developing enthusiastic and confident readers who can understand a wide range of texts. Reading at St Bede’s is a core skill that underpins our whole curriculum. We know that learning to read, and reading to learn, is the foundation for future success. We recognise the importance of this academic skill and we want to ensure that every child leaves us by the end of Key Stage 2 a competent reader. 


What reading looks like at St Bede's

Whole class and Guided Reading

We follow a Mastery approach to Reading through the programme Pathways to Read. Units of work are delivered using high quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for reading. Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the reading activities provided.  

We deliver one whole class shared reading lesson per week in most classes alongside bespoke grouped reading sessions for pupils where needed. In our shared and grouped reads, there is a clear teaching focus with the opportunity to master key reading skills in each session. There are follow on reading tasks to enable pupils to evidence the skills they have mastered independently.

Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are given through the Pathways to Read approach and this builds on the extensive work we do in school to provide our children with a rich and varied vocabulary.  

You will find the end of year expectations for reading for each of our year groups in the attached documents. For further detail on the skills that your children are learning on a termly basis, please contact your class teacher.

We also use Pathways to Write to drive our writing curriculum. This aligns with Pathways to Read ensuring meaningful links for our pupils with texts and topics that are used across Literacy, Humanities and Science.


Story time caption

Every class has timetabled story time throughout the week which our children love. All classes across the school have the opportunity to listen to modern and traditional fiction as well as non-fiction texts and poetry throughout the year. Each class has a core list of texts that they will read during story time over the year, which you can find on your child's class page. All books will be available in the classroom reading corners once they have been read so that the children can re-read them independently, with friends or with family at home if they wish.


Reading with your child at home 

Lots of parents ask what texts are suitable for their child to read at home. All types of texts are useful to develop your child's comprehension skills: newspapers, comics, poetry, fiction books and non fiction books, but it is good to make sure they read a range of different types. The link below takes you to a brilliant site that suggests suitable books for each year group as well as for reluctant readers.   

Children's Book Reviews, Recommendations and Free Opening Extracts ...


Things to do when reading at home


Once you have chosen a book to read with your child, you may find it useful to use the list below to support your child in their reading. 


  • Talk about the pictures and discuss what they notice and how it might relate to the text. 
  • When reading, encourage your child to attempt to work out any tricky or unknown words and support them using the reading strategies (See below)
  • Encourage your child to listen to themselves reading and monitor how accurate it sounds and whether it makes sense. 
  • Share a story by reading alternate lines, paragraphs or pages with your child. 
  • Draw your child's attention to features of the text such as paragraphs, chapters and punctuation marks. 
  • Check that your child understands new vocabulary. Discuss it. Find it in a dictionary.
  • Discuss any exciting words the autor has used and why this helps to make the text more interesting.
  • When you have completed a book, ask your child what they enjoyed about it and share your own views too!
  • Spend time just enjoying a book - read to them and let them listen. 


Reading Strategies 

In our reading sessions we use the following strategies to help us to understand the meaning of the texts. When reading aloud, we also use our segmenting and blending strategies to decode unfamiliar or tricky words.


Reading strategies.png 


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Reading With Roxie


Sometimes, children get the opportunity to read with Roxie, which they all take great delight in. It gives emerging readers a chance to read with confidence and without judgement, helping to develop a love of reading.



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St Bede's Catholic Primary School

Keepers Lane, Weaverham,
Northwich, Cheshire

Main Contacts: Mrs J Hart/ Mrs K Ashall

01606 852149


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