Reading and Phonics at St Matthew’s

At St Matthew’s it is our vision that every child will leave primary school being able to read fluently and clearly understand and enjoy what they are reading. The National Curriculum (2014) clearly states that teaching the English language is an essential, if not the most essential role of a primary school.  Our whole staff develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.


We use a wide range of reading schemes to ensure breadth and depth in the early stages of reading.  Our schemes include The Oxford Reading Tree, Collins, Songbirds, and Rising Stars. Children are informally assessed on a regular basis to ensure that they are reading at the right level. Children should be able to read the books sent home to an adult with ease and should be able to discuss the content of the book and make predictions. Books of a higher level are used within Guided Reading session in school to teach new skills and to make sure that children are making progress. We believe it is important that children have a rich diet of texts so we ensure that our reading schemes are supplemented by a selection of other reading material. All classes have a weekly trip to the school library where they are shown how to select their own books using the Junior Library system and encouraged to read a wide selection of books. In class children use reference books and dictionaries, both as hard copies and online, throughout the curriculum. In addition to this diet of reading, stories, non-fiction and poetry are read to the children. We encourage a variety of reading materials such as children's newspapers, magazines, poetry books and Non Fiction books in our Non-Fiction Fridays. 


St Matthew's children now have access to a range of online books which you can get for free!

Use the Love Reading 4 Schools link below to find our school and then sign up with the school password. 

Recommended Reading Lists For Schools, Book Extracts and Book ...

Younger children also have access to a range of reading books on the Rising Stars website.  Please use the link below to access these at home with your child's username and password. 



We believe it is important that children build up an awareness of reading and those basic reading skills as soon as possible.  We use the Letters and Sounds document to structure our teaching of phonics.  In Nursery we introduce Phase One this provides children with lots of speaking and listening activities which are essential to early reading development. The aim of phase one is for children to become attuned to the sounds around them as they engage in lots of rhyme and rhythmic activities. This is something we explore in lots of detail within Nursery to ensure these basic skills are embedded before the children move on to Phase Two in Reception Class. Parents can help their children at home by singing lots of nursery rhymes and sharing stories together every single day.

In Reception the children move on to Phase Two, Three, Four and begin Phase Five Phonics from the Letters and Sounds document. We teach the children the sounds of the letters of the alphabet. Each sound is taught using a picture, an action, a basic story and a song to help the child to remember it. Some sounds are written with just one letter, but others are written with two letters, such as ee and or. When we teach the children the sounds, we say the sounds as they are in words. The sounds are not introduced in alphabetical order. The first sounds introduced are s, a, t, p, i and n. This is because they make more three letter words than any other set of six letters, and once the children know these they can start learning to blend the sounds together in order to read words.


Please click on the Guide to Phonics on the website for more information.


How we teach Reading

Teaching of Phonics

Reading Progression

Please see below our reading book band chart.

Reading & Phonics

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