St John The Baptist Church of England Primary School

Loving Learning, Building Community, Growing in Faith


Reading at St Johns

At St Johns we strive to instill a love of reading in every child. We believe that lifelong readers are lifelong learners and we know that reading is the key to a child's success across all areas of the curriculum. Children start their reading journey by learning phonics - the sounds that letters make. We teach phonics daily through an ALS approach, where children are taught the mantra "Look at the letters, make the sounds, blend the sounds together."

ALS is a systematic synthetic approach to phonics based on letters and sounds. Children are taught to read using the sounds that letters make as soon as they start school. All texts that the children read independently are explicitly matched to the sounds the children have learnt that week in EYFS and KS1. 

Phonics is split into phases and is taught in the following year groups as well as to children who are new to English:



Phase One - Sound discrimination

Phase Two - Single sounds

Phase Three - Digraphs & Trigraphs

Phase Four - Adjacent consonants

Year One

Phase Five - Alternative Spellings

Year Two

Phase Five - Alternative Pronunciations

This then leads on to Spelling. 


We also teach regular shared and guided reading lessons, where children practice reading books using the sounds that they have learnt. As well as decoding (word reading) we know that successful readers also need strong comprehension and wider reading skills. These skills are taught explicitly through shared reading lessons across the school. Children are then given the opportunity to apply these skills in regular guided reading sessions. We also ensure that children are read to several times a day, so that they experience a broad range of vocabulary and rich language. 

Here is a list of the top 100 best books for children to read!


These websites will also help you to practise reading at home with your child.

Alongside phonics, children are also taught to read using sight words. These are sent home regularly for your child to practise in order for them to be able to read and write fluently. Please see our sight word rockets below.

For more information on how we teach reading at St Johns, please see the following documents.

Don't forget to have a look at our Phonics and Reading curriculum pages!