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For more information, please contact our English Leader, Mrs Parkinson, or our Early Reading Leader, Mrs Whitton, via the school office.

Phonics & Early Reading

At St James, we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. Phonics (RWI) programme from when our children are in Nursery. This includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and encoding words as well as spelling and accurate letter formation.

We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently are the core purposes of our school. These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum, but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances. With reading at the heart of our curriculum, we believe that we are providing our children with the tools to develop a love of reading and ultimately be independent and inquisitive learners.


Using the RWI phonics program we teach children to:

  • Read accurately, fluently and with good understanding

  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information

  • Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences


RWI is taught in line with National Curriculum expectations for each year group.


Our ultimate intention is that every child will learn to read regardless of their background, needs or abilities.  We continually strive for our children to become confident, fluent and independent readers with high levels of enjoyment, understanding and comprehension. We intend to provide all children with phonological understanding to read words accurately. Children who have not yet grasped the phonics code by the start of Key Stage 2 take part in regular phonics interventions tailored to their needs, following on from regular assessments. 


At St James, we inspire an interest in words and what they mean to enable children to develop an increasing oral and written vocabulary. We ensure all children read widely and experience a range of genres in stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction, to support vocabulary, language comprehension and foster a continued love of reading. 


Leaders have carefully planned and sequenced the curriculum so that there are clear end points for what pupils will be able to know and do at key points. There is daily discrete teaching of reading across school through Read Write Inc, through our own model of Whole Class Guided Reading and through our Reciprocal reading Units. These lessons enable teachers to teach the skills of reading in a logical progression, systematically and explicitly enough for all pupils to acquire the intended knowledge and skills.  For vulnerable pupils, including those with Special Education Needs, the curriculum has been adapted to ensure the curriculum contains the content that leaders have identified as most useful.


St James CE Primary follows ‘Read, Write, Inc’ for the teaching of systematic phonics from the beginning of Reception.  Children have daily sessions for the discrete teaching of reading and phonics and children have phonetically decodable books to overlearn and consolidate phoneme-grapheme correspondences.  For further information see the schools Early Reading policy.

See below samples of pages from our progression documents from Pathways 2 Reading.


We promote high standards of English by encouraging pupils to develop a love of reading, writing, speaking and listening, so that they can communicate effectively for the rest of their lives. It is our intention when teaching the English curriculum that our pupils acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become lifelong learners. We ensure that all pupils achieve their full potential in reading, writing, speaking and listening, spelling and grammar. 


English is a core subject of the National Curriculum and a second language for many of our pupils.  We understand that English is a prerequisite for educational and social progress as it underpins the work undertaken in all other areas of the curriculum. The acquisition of language skills is of the utmost importance and therefore the teaching of all aspects English is given a high priority within our school. 


At St James’s we aim:

 • To develop children, who are imaginative, creative, independent, inquisitive, inquiring and confident writers. 

• To provide children with a range of writing skills and strategies to enable them to write confidently with comprehension, cohesion and enjoyment for a range of purposes, in a variety of contexts and for different audiences. 

• To ensure no opportunity is missed to foster an enjoyment of writing amongst pupils and a recognition of its value, by setting work that is challenging, inspirational and motivating, helping them to develop a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards writing, which will nurture a life-long love of writing. 

• To provide opportunities to explore a variety of different genres and to be exposed regularly to high quality texts, providing a model for pupils to aspire to. 

• To ensure children have a clear understanding of the writing process: plan, draft, revise and edit their own work, and learn how to self and peer assess against the success criteria. 

• To develop children’s ability to self-assess by reflecting on the quality of their writing, encouraging them to construct informed opinions and implement strategies to improve their own work.

• To monitor writing progress effectively to evaluate, promote and maintain high levels of attainment. • To ensure that children with writing difficulties are identified early and support is given promptly.

• To work in partnership with parents /carers in order to develop each child’s full writing potential.


The impact of using the full range of Read write Inc and Nelson Handwriting resources, including display, will be seen across the school with an increase in the profile of handwriting. Following the scheme, will give our school a consistent approach where handwriting expectations are clear and the same technical vocabulary is used with, and spoken by, all teaching staff and learners. Whole school and parental engagement can also be improved through the use of Nelson Handwriting resources as home learning tasks. 

Handwriting lessons should not feel like a chore for teachers and pupils and should encourage a sense of pride in pupils’ written work.

Our children’s handwriting will become automatic and to a high standard so that they are able to focus on the content of their writing rather than the presentation. The impact of the scheme should be noticeable within written work in all areas of the curriculum.

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