Great Marsden St. John’s is a reading school.

Our aim is for the children to develop a love of reading as well as recognition of the vital role that reading takes in all their learning.

When teaching reading, we address two areas, the decoding of words (phonics) and the comprehension of the text.

Throughout school, reading is taught in a variety of ways – through listening to individual readers, guided reading (groups,) shared reading through Literacy lessons (whole class) and story time.

In Key Stage 1, children receive two short adult led Guided Reading sessions per week, one focused on phonics and vocabulary and one focused on comprehension. The books that they read during these sessions are closely linked to their phonics learning and knowledge. They then take home the book that they have read in Guided Reading for further practise at home.  

In Key Stage 2, the children receive one, more in-depth Guided Reading session with the class teacher each week. In that sessions they are taught one reading skill. The remaining sessions of the week will be focused on activities to build upon the skill taught in the guided session.

Shared Reading mostly takes place through the ‘Reading Phase’ of a taught Literacy unit, when the whole class study a text or text type as a model for their own writing.

Classes also share a book that is read to them at various times during the week or story time.

Class Teachers, TAs, Governors and parents listen to children read individually in school on a regular basis. In addition to this, regardless as to whether parents have opted into homework,  children can select books for home reading from the leveled boxes. Children will be directed to the Home Reading Box that corresponds to their Phonics level.

Children also have access to the school libraries each week.  Every class has an allocated ‘library day’. This is an opportunity for the children to choose any book that they wish.

In Key Stage 1, parents are invited into school each week for Stay and Read. This is a chance for them to share books in school with their child.


Integral to learning to read is the teaching of phonics. At Great Marsden St. John's we follow the Red Rose Letters and Sounds Scheme of work. In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 phonics lessons are taught daily. All the lessons follow the same structure consisting of a four part teaching sequence:

  • Revisit and review- where previously taught sounds are revised.
  • Teach- new sounds or tricky words are taught.
  • Practice- reading and writing letters and words with the new sound in.
  • Apply- read and writing caption and sentences with the new sound in.

We place a high priority on the systematic teaching of phonics. We recognise that reading is a key life skill, and aim for our children to become lifelong readers. In order to do this they are taught the key skills of segmenting and blending. This enables them to become fluent and engaged readers allowing them to not only enjoy reading but gain the ability to access the rest of the curriculum. We know that these key skills hugely impact on our children's life chances.

Year 1 children complete a phonics assessment which is made up of real and nonsense words in June. This assesses how well children can use their knowledge of phonics to read words. You will be told your child’s result at the end of Year 1. If your child doesn’t achieve the benchmark grade then further intensive support will be given in Year 2 where they will be given the opportunity to resit the assessment.

Phonics Policy

Updated: 23/05/2023 171 KB