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Welcome to

Holy Family Catholic Primary School

Per ardua ad astra

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Welcome to
Holy Family Catholic Primary School
Per ardua ad astra

Reading and Phonics at Holy Family

At Holy Family, we put Reading at the heart of the curriculum. Competence in reading is the key to independent learning and is given the highest priority at Holy Family, enabling the children to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers. Success in reading has a direct effect upon progress in all other areas of the Curriculum and is crucial in developing our children’s self-confidence and motivation.

Reading is closely linked with writing – the two activities reinforce each other and at Holy Family we prioritise it through The Power of Reading. Children become successful readers by using a range of strategies to get to the meaning of the text. At Holy Family we believe that literate children should read with confidence, fluency, expression and clear understanding.

Our ultimate aim is for the children to become confident and independent readers who demonstrate high levels of enjoyment, understanding and comprehension, and for them to understand that reading is a life-long skill.


Our pupils are taught how to decode using phonics activities from Foundation stage. In Reception and Year 1, pupils use the Read, Write, Inc reading programme to develop fluency and accuracy in word and sentence reading (for more details see below). Phonics is taught daily and guided reading groups in Year 2 are taught at least three times a week.


In Key Stage 2, whole class Reading Skills lessons develop children’s vocabulary and comprehension skills, through explicit teaching of eight reading domains which are formally tested at the end of key stage 2. Through using the content domains, where the children are explicitly taught the skills of reading, they establish the requisite skills to confidently understand what they are reading whilst also promoting a passion for reading and thirst for knowledge. This knowledge is then continually transferred to future books.


At Holy Family, we have lots of exciting initiatives to ensure our pupils develop and maintain their love of reading. Some of these include Come and Read sessions with parents, World Book Day Activities, Author visits, Book Clubs, Book Fairs.


“We learn to read so that we can read to learn.”



Phonics at Holy Family


At Holy Family, we use the Read Write Inc phonics programme and children are streamed across Reception and Year 1 to ensure that the teaching they receive is tailored to meet their stage of development. Teaching is systematic and rigorous to ensure that all children have a robust foundation and the confidence and skills to reach their full potential, ready for the next stage of their education. Phonics lessons are 45 minutes daily and children are then encouraged to use these skills independently in their play throughout the day in meaningful contexts. Since all adults in the setting teach phonics, they are equipped with the knowledge to develop the children’s reading and writing skills throughout the remainder of the day. A love of reading is fostered through sharing high quality texts and through parent training workshops.

Using RWI Phonics, children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write.

This phonics programme is used throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1. The programme also benefits older children in the school who require it.



When using RWI to read pupils will:

  • Learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into understanding what they read.
  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts.
  • Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred Talk).
  • Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out.
  • Show that they understand the stories by answering ‘Find It’ and ‘Prove it’ discussion questions.



When using RWI to write pupils will:

  • Spell effortlessly so that they can put their energy into working out what they want to write.
  • Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds (graphemes).
  • Learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk: sounding out the word.
  • Learn to write simple and then increasingly complex sentences.



  • Pupils learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds thay are taught Support your child to learn words by sounding-blending (Fred talk) e.g c-a-t = cat , sh-o-p = shop.
  • Support your child to say pure sounds (m not ‘muh’, s not ‘suh’etc) as quickly as they can and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word