Your new design will be uploaded in:
Please contact Delivery Team on
0113 3200 750 if you have any queries.

Holy Family Roman Catholic Primary School

Through Work, Through Worship, Through Witness


Great Gates Road, Kirkholt, Rochdale, OL11 2DN

(01706) 640480


'Let us carry Jesus in our hearts and bring Him to all those whom we meet.'  Pope Francis

Phonics & Early Reading

At Holy Family, we use the Read Write Inc synthetic phonics programme to teach our children to read. The programme works by teaching the children the sounds for letters and groups of letters, which enable them to decode (break down sounds within words) and encode (blend the sounds together) to read words.  The children learn the English alphabetic code ; the 150+ graphemes that represent 44 speech sounds.  They rapidly learn sounds and the letter, or groups of letters they need to represent them in three sets of Speed Sound Lessons.  Simple and enjoyable mnemonics help all the children  to grasp the letter-sound correspondences quickly, especially those who are at risk of making slower progress or those who are new to learning English.  This learning is taught and consolidated every day.  High frequency words that are not phonetically regular are taught as 'tricky' words (Red words) and are practiced frequently.

Lively phonic books are closely matched to children's increasing knowledge of phonics and 'tricky' words so that, early on, they experience plenty of success.  Repeated readings of the texts support their increasingly fluent decoding.  Thought provoking introductions, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion help children comprehend what they are reading.  Teachers read aloud and discuss picture books with similar themes to those in the story books so children build up background knowledge ready for the next story book.

Children's progress through the programme is outlined here.


Phonics teaching begins in Nursery and follows a specific sequence that allows children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and apply phonic strategies as they progress through the school.  

Children read the story three times.  On the first read, they focus on accurate word reading; the second, on developing fluency; and on the third, comprehension.  FLuency and comprehension increase with each repeated reading.


Children learn to:

  • Read new sounds and review previously taught sounds;
  • sound out the names of characters and unfamiliar words
  • understand he meanings of new words
  • read the story (first read)


Children learn to:

  • read the words in the story speedily
  • track the story, 'jumping in' when the teacher hesitates
  • read the story with increased speed (second read)


Children learn to:

  • predict the outcome, after listening to a story introduction
  • discuss and compare key moments in the story
  • read the story with a storyteller's voice (third read)
  • answer questions about the story
  • read the same story at home
  • build background knowledge, ready to read the next Read Write Inc story book

Support for Parents

In supporting your child to read, Oxford Owl has a helpful site for parents with advice, guidance and resources to use at home:

Oxford Owl

Booklets to support parents when children are learning speed sets 1 & 2 are available below:

Speed Set 1 Parent Guide

Speed Set 2 Parent Guide


Progression in Reading

Reading is taught in a sequence whereby skills are acquired to support reading from foundation stage.  Each year, children develop their skills of decoding, reading for understanding and are exposed to a breadth of texts and genres.  The progression breakdown can be found here.


Guided Reading

Guided Reading is introduced in Reception and continued into Key Stage 1 and 2.  Children are given a breadth of materials to support reading comprehension from images, music and film to poetry, narrative and non-fiction texts.  There are opportunities for the children to develop a range of strategies, (including predicting, clarifying, questioning, summarising) that can be used to improve their reading comprehension and foster an enjoyment of reading across a range of genres.

Children develop the skill of reading at speed to understand the content of a text or stimulus and are introduced to and taught new and unfamiliar vocabulary.  They discuss three questions based on the text or stimulus; a looking question (literal),  clue question (inference and deduction) and a thinking question (encouraging the children to make links in their reading and reason out their thoughts and opinions about the text).


Home Reading Books

Children will read in school everyday either through curriculum texts, shared reading books, through the daily phonics lessons or guided reading.  Each day, they will bring home a shared reading book to read at home.  This will be an age appropriate book but there may be words that your child is unfamiliar with and may need some assistance from parents at home.  It is recommended that parents read this book with their child and provide support when needed.

Children on the Read Write Inc phonics programme will also receive a floppy phonics book, which is matched to their phonic ability.  Your child will be able to read this book independently and will not need help in decoding (breaking down) words.  

A third book will also be sent home which the children select themselves - this is their Reading for Pleasure book.  This book can be enjoyed together at home which may be read as a bedtime story or at their leisure simply for enjoyment.  The books chosen may be familiar to the children already and an easier book to read than their shared book or phonic book.  This does not matter as the intention is to read for pleasure and not to advance a child's reading ability or proficiency.