The Catholic School of St Gregory The Great Believe and Achieve

Reading & Phonics



The importance of reading
We believe that reading is a key life skill and we are focused on enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers.


We realise that this process starts a long time before a child enters school but we pick this up from the very first day that children join us at St Gregory’s – here we begin to build the foundations of reading through phonic knowledge. We know that children who are exposed to a wide variety of texts by being read to, and reading themselves for pleasure, develop a greater vocabulary and go on to have better outcomes in life. Therefore a rich diet of reading and our encouragement of reading for pleasure are at the heart of our reading principles. 

We also understand that knowledge matters. The only way to ensure reading comprehension success is with a rich, well-rounded curriculum for all children. We believe that background knowledge is a key driver of language comprehension. We know that if we can increase background knowledge and give children a wider vocabulary, that they know how to use, then we can increase the chances of comprehension of texts and therefore improve a child’s outcomes later in life.

All of the activities at school that encourage reading aim to develop each of the areas that we believe to be important to being a lifelong reader.  These areas of reading are linked and cannot be seen as independent of each other:


By focusing on these separate aspects and interweaving them through our curriculum, by the time children leave us, the vast majority are competent, fluent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres and participate in discussions about books. Most importantly, all children (even those who struggle with their reading fluency and comprehension) have a love for reading and understand the joys it can bring to them and to the world!


How do we help children to be lifelong readers?
We have 6 very clear steps to making this happen at St Gregory’s so that all children become the best readers they can be.  These steps are interweaved through every part and stage of the curriculum so that we develop each of the areas alongside one another:

  • We develop our school as a whole school reading community who love reading
  • We develop our staff as reading experts
  • We ensure our reading curriculum is well thought-out and structured to allow for progression
  • We match each child’s reading ability with the correct reading book
  • We identify those who are falling behind quickly and put interventions in place to close the gaps in reading whilst working to maintain a love of books and reading for those children
  • We see our parents as joint educators in this task and train them up alongside us


Read about our Six steps to helping our children become lifelong readers


How do we teach early reading?
From the day our children start school in EYFS, we use a scheme called ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach phonics.  This matches the expectations as set out within the National Curriculum and the Early Learning Goals and also sets out clear expectations of pupils’ phonics progress term-by-term, from Reception to Year 2.  This is achieved through a consistent and systematic approach to the way in which phonics are taught.

We see our parents as joint educators in teaching early reading/phonics and therefore train parents up, early in their child’s learning journey, to be able to support the learning at home too.


Here is more information about the teaching of Early Reading and some useful information for parents too.



Alongside the teaching of phonics, we also help our children to understand what they’re reading and develop a love of reading.  Reading comprehension is taught both individually and as a whole class.  See Reading Vision and Implementation.


Have a look at some of our reading activities:


Reading and performing

from play scripts

Book Advent Calendar*Reading aloud to
children daily
Great excitement on
book swap days
Reading buddiesListening to inspirational
people talk about reading:
World Book DayStaff as readersExtreme Reading Competition


*Each child in the class donated a wrapped book to the advent calendar. Each day the classes unwrapped a book and it was shared with the class. 


Early Reading  & Phonics 

What is Phonics?

Starting in Early Years, children are taught phonics; the journey of learning to read, write and spell. These vital skills, are the beginning of a lifelong literacy journey. Phonics, which can also be referred to as ‘Letters and Sounds’ is the process of children learning to read.


The process of learning to read and write begins from an early age, where children can learn and practice many skills. This can be done in a range of ways and settings, including home. Exposing children to conversation and books is essential.


Early reading sessions:


Letters and Sounds

The systematic phonics programme called ‘Letters and Sounds’ is divided into six phases. During the programme new skills are taught, continually building on previous learning.


Phonics parent training:


For more information Phonics Phases and Phonics Screening please visit