At St. Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, we strive to ensure that all children become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One and believe this is achievable through a combination of strong, high quality, discrete systematic phonics teaching combined with a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ culture. Being able to read is the most important skill children will learn during their early schooling and has far-reaching implications for lifelong learning and well-being.

We aim to teach children to read and develop a love of books as soon as they arrive at St Catherine’s School, and books are used to teach topics and to enhance our whole curriculum. Children engage with daily story time, songs, poem and rhyme sessions. All classrooms have their own book areas, and there are reading areas available outside. Books in the classroom provision are changed each half-term to reflect the different seasons, topics taught and children’s interests. Teachers read stories to children from high quality age-appropriate texts at every available opportunity. These books are then used to enhance the learning environment and reading area.

The Rose Review of early reading confirmed that ‘high quality phonic work’ should be the prime means for teaching children how to read and spell words. The review also highlighted the importance of developing from the earliest stages children’s speaking and listening skills, ensuring that beginner readers are ready to get off to a good start in phonic work. Such work should be set within a broad and rich language curriculum. It is essential that our approach to teaching phonics and reading is accessible to all learners, regardless of background. This approach is in alignment with our belief that we first ‘learn to read’ and then ‘read to learn’.