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** Open morning for prospective Nursery intake September 2022/January 2023 Thursday 3rd February at 9.15a.m. Please book a placed by ringing or emailing the school office** Afternoon Nursery places available for children 3 and over - enquiries to the school office**


Everybody knows that learning to read is a fundamental skill for life. Children at St Joseph’s School begin their reading journey in Nursery where they are taught the sounds made by individual letters. 

The children continue to develop their reading skills in Reception and Year 1 where they develop their knowledge of sounds made by  individual letters, as well as, pairs and clusters of letters.

During their time in Reception the children begin to focus on reading scheme books. These are graded in content with strongly patterned language and picture cues.  Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 have daily phonics sessions where they learn to recognise letters, understand the sounds they make and blend these sounds together to create words.  This letter-sound correspondence is taught through a highly structured synthetic phonic approach using a government publication called ‘Letters and Sounds’ alongside a commercial scheme called ‘Jolly Phonics’. 

The aim of this scheme is to equip children with the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers by the age of seven. It is a six phased scheme which is taught in Nursery through to Year Two.

Nursery – Phase 1 and starting phase 2

Reception – Phases 2, 3 and starting 4

Year 1 – Recap Phase 3 and teaching Phase 4 and 5

Year 2 –Recap Phases 3,4 and 5 and teaching Phase 6

Alongside phonics teaching, children also learn to instantly recognise by sight the most common words in the English language. Many of these words are not phonically regular and it is important that children develop the skill of recognising these words and instantly recognise them without trying to sound them out. This automatic sight recognition of  common words (also known as tricky words) is crucial, as they appear so regularly in all the texts they encounter. 

Our graded reading scheme, which incorporates a range of books from different schemes,  introduces children to new words gradually. We use a selection of schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Big Cat Phonics, Dandelion readers, Jelly and Bean,  Rigby Star and Project X. These books are levelled into colour bands so that children can progress through the books in levels of difficulty. 

Reading,  deliberately patterned, simple, repetitive grammatical structures helps children to achieve early reading success as well as supporting writing progress. This success with carefully selected reading books creates confidence – an essential prerequisite for a successful  ongoing, learning journey.

Phonics Screening Test

Video on children conducting the phonics screening check


Last year’s phonics screening check materials