Search M
Can't find what you're looking for?
Translate N
Translate / Traduire / Übersetzen / Tłumaczyć / Išversti / Tulkot / Traducir
School Logo

Holy Family

Catholic Primary School

Living, Loving, Learning Together

Get in touch

Contact Details

Phonics and Reading


How we approach reading at Holy Family

From the moment of induction when every new children is given a present of a book, they are immersed in stories and books.  Every classroom has its own book corner, and a central library is maintained too.  All classes have their own reading area.  The books in the classrooms form the 'Reading Journey' inspired by Just Imagine (see more information below).  We aim for the children to read from a wide range of genre/themes.  Reading books that they might not even have considered previously.  We hope that reading through such a range will inspire them, and develop their understanding, vocabulary, imagination and general love of books.


Reading together as a class, via class book sets, reading in small groups and reading individually are all weekly occurrences.  Staff model reading and give advice on good books to read. They encourage parents to read with their children regularly, and also discuss the book with older children. We participate in book weeks and library visits every year.  A love of reading is fostered continuously.


The Reading Journey

We work with Just Imagine using their 'Reading Journey' book resource. This is

a curated collection of high quality books to support reading for pleasure. And an exciting app with an inbuilt reading journal and challenges to engage readers.  We have developed our own KS1 version filled with books that we believe children should be reading and enjoying.


Reading Journey Aims


  • engage readers with exciting, high quality and appealing book choices.
  • develop adventurous reading choices.
  • maintain reading areas and school libraries.
  • keep book corners stocked with up-to-date books
  • provide support for a reading for pleasure pedagogy.


Curated Book Selections

  • The journey focuses on 20 different locations (eg: Magical Mansion, International Port, Funny Forest, Lake of Long Ago)
  • Each location is based on an idea or theme (not strictly genre as this approach is designed to encourage some adventurous choices).
  • Each location has at least 10 recommended books suitable for the age range.
  • Every location has at least one challenging choice and at least one accessible choice. The selections have been put together so that every child can participate.
  • Inclusivity is a selection criterion and efforts have been made to reflect realities (with acknowledgement to CLPE) in the selection.
  • Books selected by  a panel of reading experts and class teachers, convened by Just Imagine Director, Nikki Gamble, author of Exploring Children’s Literature and co-author of Guiding Readers: layers of meaning.



The Reading Journey is organised by phase: Lower Key Stage 2 and Upper Key Stage 2. Each phase has a recommended 200 great reads.  Over the years we have also added our own titles to the range of genre as great new books are published.  The children are also involved in suggesting new titles to be included.


Accelerated Reader

Holy Family Catholic Primary School uses AR (Accelerated Reader) . Pupils take a STAR reading test at the beginning of autumn term, and then at the end of each term so that we can track progress.  They are given an AR level of books to read and quiz independently.  This level changes as their reading progresses so that they can take on the challenge of books with a higher reading age.  Books within the library and the classroom mostly have AR quizzes attached to the.  Where they don't, for instance a brand new title, the children complete a short book review.  Each class celebrates reading success and children aim for 90% success rate on their quizzes.


Accelerated Reader is a computer based system that tracks pupils’ reading comprehension and progress, initially through a Star Reading Test and then through regular book quizzes completed in school.


Accelerated Reader combines the elements of personalised and assessment reading to promote reading for pleasure and to motivate pupils to use reading for learning.  Studies have shown that the AR Reading Scheme motivates pupils of all ages and abilities to read more and consequently raise literacy standards.

Pupils are achieving their individual targets and completing their quizzes with impressive levels, demonstrating their understanding of the texts.


Once a pupil has read a book they will complete an online reading quiz at school to assess their understanding of the book.  Each pupil’s reading progress can then be continually accessed via the AR Scheme.  Teachers and Classroom Assistants continue to listen to children read regularly.


As always parents remain encouraged to hear their child/children read at home and to share the content of the book by discussing what has been read.



At Holy Family we use the Essential Letters and Sounds scheme. Early reading is taught using synthetic phonics as the main approach to reading. Pupils are systematically taught the phonemes (sounds), how to blend the sounds all through the word for reading, and how to segment the sounds in order to write words. Children are taught to use their phonic skills and knowledge as their first approach to reading, but are also taught how to read high frequency words which do not completely follow the phonic rules.


All of our early reading books are colour banded. Each child is given a colour band to choose their home reading book from which will help to ensure that the book they select is at about the right reading level for them. Every colour band includes books from a range of reading schemes so that they will experience a range of stories, text types and illustrations. Books within the early book bands are all matched to phonological awareness, and can be decoded using phonics skills and knowledge.