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St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

Rosebank, West Street, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 7RT
Tel. 01372 727850

How We Teach Reading

Reading and Phonics

Reading and phonics is primarily based on Letters and Sounds. A child's progress through our reading levels depends on well-timed assessment of their phonic knowledge.  The table below outlines the stages of reading  books in the school. The books the child reads only contain sounds the child is secure in (excluding names and titles). This ensures fluency and we expect a child to be 98% secure in their fluency of books in a level before they are moved to a new level.



Tricky Words

1 “Share and read together”

Tuning in to sounds. Listening and remembering sounds.
Talking about sounds. Primarily these books have no words.



Set 1: s, a, t, p

Set 2: i, n, m, d

Set 3: g, o, c, k

Set 4: ck, e, u, r

Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss

  • no
  • go
  • I


Set 6: j, v, w, x


Set 7: y, z, zz, qu

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er

  • he
  • she
  • we
  • me
  • be
  • was
  • you
  • they
  • all
  • are
  • my
  • her


They will know a grapheme for each of the 42 phonemes. They will be able to blend phonemes to read CVC words and segment in order to spell them.

Children will also have begun reading straightforward two-syllable words and simple captions, as well as reading and spelling some tricky words.

In Phase 4, no new graphemes are introduced.

The main aim of this phase is to consolidate the children's and spell words which have adjacent consonants, such as trap, string and milk.

  • said
  • have
  • like
  • so
  • do
  • some
  • come
  • were
  • there
  • little
  • one
  • when
  • out
  • what


Children entering Phase Five will already be able to read and spell words with adjacent consonants. They will also be able to read and spell some polysyllabic words.

In Phase Five, children will learn more graphemes and phonemes. For example, they already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make.

Alternative pronunciations for graphemes will also be introduced, e.g. ea in tea, head and break.

ay day    oy boy    wh when

a-e make    ou out    ir girl

ph photo    e-e these    ie tie

ue blue    ew new    i-e like

ea eat    aw saw    oe toe

au Paul   o-e home   u-e rule

  • oh
  • their
  • people
  • Mr
  • Mrs
  • looked
  • called
  • asked
  • could

Once children have been assessed as secure in Phase 5 phonics, they then move onto the colour system. Children will often make rapid progress through the early colours as their phonic knowledge is already solid.












Wonderland/ Emerald

Narnia/ Ruby

Chocolate Factory/ Sapphire

Hogwarts/ Black



We have a wide range of books including Oxford Reading Tree, Usbourne, Project X and PM Benchmarking. This ensures children are exposed to a wide range of texts, fonts, pictures, characters and content.

Teachers assess using the PM Benchmarking Kit.

Children will only move up a level once they have secured 98% fluency and 75% comprehension in that new level. Then they are fluently able to access the texts of the books they read and thereby make better progress and enjoy their reading.