Reading and Phonics

Phonics - Letters and Sounds

Phonics and Decoding

At St John’s Green Primary School we follow the ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ (ELS) accredited phonics programme to teach your children to read.


The phonics programme matches the expectations of the English National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals. We have clear expectations of pupils’ phonics progress term by term, which are fully aligned to our school’s phonics programme (ELS), from EYFS to Year 2. By the end of EYFS, all children should be able to read words and simple sentences accurately, with increasing speed and fluency. 


Phonics is prioritised in the teaching of early reading. We aim to provide high quality, systematic phonic work taught discretely in EYFS and KS1 for a minimum of 20 minutes per day.


We believe that phonics sessions should be engaging, interactive and delivered at a quick pace. Sessions should include aspects of physical development and engagement, as well as oral and auditory phonics


Phonics is taught by teachers and LSA’s in EYFS and KS1 to the whole class generally and if required,  to additional small groups of children. Some additional ELS sessions will be carried out for KS2 children, if required.


We recgonise the need for well-pitched reading books for our children, so they build fluency from an early age. Having texts which they can ‘win’ with, is key. We also encourage reading prior to phonics. Therefore, we have books available for children who are learning the behaviours, in order to become readers. We also encourage our more reluctant readers by ensuring they have access to age appropriate 'HiLo' books. 


Our children are assessed every 5 weeks, as part of the ELS teaching programme. Our assessments support the teaching teams when grouping children for phonics and spelling teaching.


We have spent time matching all of our scheme books with the Essential Letters and Sounds phonics sequence. Our reading scheme has been organised and colour-coded by our school and matched to our phonics teaching, in order for all children to have reading books which they can decode from EYFS, onwards. 


Light Green- Phase 1

Grey-Phase 2

Purple - Phase 3 single sounds

Peach - Phase 3 digraphs

Red- Phase 3 trigraphs

Blue - Phase 4 consolidation

Brown - Phase 5 digraphs

Dark Green - Phase 5 split digraphs

Gold- Phase 5 consolidation

White - Phase 6 ed and ing endings

Pink Phase 6 er and est sounds

Lilac- Phase 6 other suffixes

Black - Phase 6 consolidation

Yellow -Deepening Comprehension 1

Orange - Deepening Comprehension 2


The letter below details the changes we have made to the way we colour code our reading books so they link directly to the phases of letters and Sounds that your child is learning.
Reading at Home, Reading at School

GoRead is used in all year groups to support the reading journey between home and school. Each child from EYFS through to Year 6 has their own reading journey captured in one place for both parents and teachers to share and use to support children’s individual progress in reading. 


Through using GoRead, parents can easily read the successes and next steps identified by our teaching team for their child while they are in school, and at the same time, share information with their child’s class teacher of how their child is reading at home. For example, teachers and parents may note down any reading successes, any 'harder to read' words or general comments about how they were able to discuss a text.

Pupils can also log their own reading, create their own avatar, spend their gems and challenge their friends using the Go Apps - Pupil Portal.


Getting started is quick and easy.


Every child was provided with a letter that contains our school code and their own unique pin code (if you need another one, please let us know). Using the GoApps for parents (iOS & Android) or a web browser using the link parents are able to enter the school code and their child’s pin when prompted and that’s it, they're ready!


If parents require any additional help or support they are able to use the chat function on

Reading at Home

Individual Reading


Alongside the school’s reading scheme, we also use our Book Bingo challenge sheets.

Each pupil has a Book Bingo Chart attached to their Reading Record. The aim is to complete their chart by choosing a square and reading that particular text e.g. a fairy tale or a book by Michael Morpurgo. The books can be chosen from the reading areas in their classrooms, a book from the school library (with permission), a book from home or a book from the local library.


There are three charts to complete during the year: Autumn Term, Spring Term, Summer Term.


The aim of these Book Bingo sheets, is to encourage our children to read a wide range of texts and genres, and understand that we read for pleasure. Our staff are also encouraged to complete the sheets, as we believe that we are all readers and we are role models for our children.

At St John's Green Primary School the expectation is that parents read with their children at least 5x a week and that this is recorded in their reading diary.
Parents make a significant difference to their children's reading development and children where parents both read to and listen to their children are more secure in their learning and academic development.
Below are some resources to support parents in reading with your children including games and activities.
Reading at School
At St. John’s Green, we are committed to teaching our pupils to become skilled readers who develop a comprehensive understanding of words, language and texts as they move through school. They learn to read and then read to learn.
Our aim is to ensure that pupils develop a love of reading so that they can read for purpose and for pleasure. We provide children with a range of reading opportunities in order to do this:

Guided Reading

Guided Reading sessions are made up of three parts:

  • before reading discussion
  • independent reading
  • after reading discussion

The main goal of guided reading is to help children use reading strategies whilst reading for meaning independently.

Guided Reading takes place daily, for 15 to 20 minutes in each class. The children are grouped and take part in their session once a week. In these sessions, the children unpick texts and use vocabulary exploration, reference points and teacher knowledge to understand a range of texts, authors’ choices and ‘higher order’ reading skills. The children access texts which are slightly more challenging than their capabilities; high expectations and adult support required.

During reading the teacher can;

  • ‘listen in’ to individual students
  • observe the reader’s behaviours for evidence of strategy use
  • assist a student with problem solving using the sources of information - the use of meaning, structure and visual information on extended text
  • confirm a student’s problem-solving attempts and successes
  • give timely and specific feedback to help students achieve the lesson focus

Shared Reading

Shared Reading happens in every class. It is a session which is led by the teacher and is a daily opportunity to expose our children to high quality texts, model the reading process from decoding, talking about and knowing the different features of a genre or text, through to inference and deduction skills.


We use Big Books, text extracts, eBooks and other sources to model the reading skills required to access texts. We also ask comprehension questions throughout these sessions, to ensure that all children understand what the content of the focus text, is. As part of our Shared Reading, we also have ‘Word of the Day’ which is having a huge impact on expanding the children’s vocabulary. They then use these wonderful words, in their Writing. Win, win!

Story Time


Everyday, in every class, we have ‘Story Time’. This is a wonderful part of the day, where the children have time to sit and listen to their teacher reading them a story.

We are instilling in our children , the importance of reading for pleasure, seeing reading an escape; a way of transporting ourselves into new worlds and experiences…and to enjoy!

Celebrating Readers


We understand that children love to be recognised for their learning attitudes and personal achievements. This is certainly the case for Reading. Therefore, every class has a Reading Mascot, which is a book character.


Each class teacher will nominate a child to be their Reader of the Week. The child will then receive the mascot, which they will keep with them, in school, for the forthcoming week.

Key Texts by Year Group
At St John's Green we have 'Key Texts' that we use each academic year. These Key Texts are embedded across each year group and are integral to our curriculum. 
Key Texts are the spine of our Reading Curriculum. Every year group has selected a range of texts which they use to support the Road to Writing and Shared Reading elements of the English curriculum. ‘Reading is the Key’ is our motto and we aim to use real books, digital texts, our libraries, our reading scheme, assemblies, Book Bingo challenges and in EYFS and Key Stage 1, book corners, to promote a love of books and reading.
Reading for understanding skills are taught throughout the curriculum. The importance of vocabulary and reference points for children, when reading is recognised. Our teachers use Word of the Day and other opportunities to explore language. They use texts, images, film clips and so forth, to expose the children to worlds (real or imaginary), Art, History, Music, Religion, nature …to give them context and accessibility, for the range of texts that they read.
Through Shared Reading, Guided Reading, D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Time and one to one reading, all of our children are heard read by adults, throughout the course of a week. We have launched a Key Reader Scheme for some of our key groups of children, whereby the have an allocated member of the school’s staff, who reads with them daily and has the responsibility of being a ‘reading role-model’ for the children, as avid and enthusiastic readers.
Story time is enjoyed by all classes at the end of the day. Our Go Read app, is used for all children and by the whole school community. Reading is tracked and this digital reading record can be accessed by all assigned staff members.

Key Texts


The Three Little Pigs
Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
The Gingerbread Man
The Gruffalo's Child
Room on the Broom
The Gruffalo
Handa's Surprise
We're Going  on a Bear Hunt
Colour Monster Books
I Like Myself
The Paper Dolls

Year 1

The Three Little Pigs
The Three Billy Goats Gruff
The Gingerbread Man
Quiet Night (The Large Family)
Rama and Sita
British Wildlife
Jar of Happiness
Stanley's Stick
How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth
What We'll Build
What Happened to You?

Year 2

Deadly 60 Steve Backshall
The Snail and the Whale
Flying Deep
Dougal's Deep Sea Diary
The Leopard's Drum
All Are Welcome

Year 3

George's Marvellous Medicine
The Firework Maker's Daughter
The Magic Box
Prehistoric Britain
Iron Man
Two Mrs Gibson's
Diary of a Killer Cat
Until I Met Dudley
Fish in a Tree
I am Enough

Year 4

The Phantom Tollbooth
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
Boy -  Tales of Childhood
Pie in the Sky
Welcome to Nowhere
Home Ground
Kids Fight Plastic
Ted and the Time Travelling Toilet
El Deafo

Year 5

How to Train a Dragon
The Boy at the Back of the Classroom
Kensuke's Kingdom
The Rainmaker Danced
El Deafo
1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization
The Day You Begin
The Goldfish Boy

Year 6

Oranges in No Man's Land
The Black Death
Flying High Bessie Coleman
Nobody Owns the Sky
The Boy Who Made the World Disappear
The Proudest Blue
A Kind of Spark


St John's Green - Story Time
These stories will only be available for the duration of 'Lock-down' and then they will need to be removed.