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English is taught throughout Key Stage 1 via a daily structured English lesson, which is based upon the National Curriculum objectives. Throughout these sessions, children are able to develop and extend their speaking & listening, reading and writing skills. In addition to this, children also take part in a 20 minute focused phonics lesson every day and a 30 minute reading session.


Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics are used in EYFS to teach phonics and reading. In KS1 children continue to learn phonics using Letters and Sounds and they work through our school reading scheme which includes books from a variety of schemes and publishers. We do not have one set reading scheme in school as we believe children need to experience a range and variety of books. Our reading books are graded by colour according to difficulty known as Book Bands and children work through the bands at their own rate. Each Book Band has its own colour and fits with current National Curriculum levels. Within the bands, books are taken from several different established schemes such as Rigby Star and Oxford Reading Tree. There are also some "real" books that are not written as part of a scheme. This system ensures that children are exposed to a wide variety of authors and genres and can become very discerning in their choices. Nearing the end of year 2, some children will have progressed through the scheme and will have become a free reader. This means they will choose their own books from the class or school library. The choice of book will be monitored by the class teacher. All children will take part in guided group reading sessions in class.

Children have access to a range of books within their own book corners and also the school library. Classes also have access to the local library via the library van which visits the school each term.

Teaching of Phonics

The teaching of phonics is broken down into 6 separate phases of either sounds or patterns. As the phases progress so does the expectation of the sound or pattern. It is the expectation at St Johns that pupils will be on phase 6 when they leave our school to go to KS2, however some children may still require additional teaching from phases 2-5.

Below is a general overview of how phonics is taught per year group or key stage:-

  • Reception - four letter sounds per week plus a consolidating lesson.

Whole class teaching for twenty minutes followed up by group work.

  • Years 1 and 2 - whole class teaching everyday plus additional intervention for children who require it.
  • All children are tracked and assessed every term. In Year 1 pupils undertake a formal phonic test; if children do not meet the standard required they will re-take the test in Year 2. 

Expectations of Parents/Carers

St John's expects Parents/Carers to be an integral part of their child's learning. Therefore it expects them to listen to reading regularly and help with the learning of letters and sounds along with the learning of weekly spellings.

Please click below to view our recommended reading lists for each year group:


Year 1

Year 2


In writing, children are taught a cursive script from Reception which then helps them as they learn to 'join up' their handwriting in years one and two. The children are taught to compose their written work by orally rehearsing their sentences, writing it down and then re-reading to check it makes sense. In the Early Years writing can be encouraged by providing a range of different writing materials such as; white boards and pens, chalk boards, and paper of different colours, textures and sizes to experiment with. Value any mark making or play writing the children produce.

Click to download an example of our cursive script

Speaking and Listening

Acquiring a good standard of spoken English will underpin the development of reading and writing and is essential to communication as a whole.  We value the use of drama across the whole curriculum to help children improve their speaking and listening skills. Parents can also help by looking for opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills, for example playing games and sharing conversations over a meal and carefully monitoring children’s access to television and computer games. Setting aside time when all mobile phones and tablets are 'out of bounds' can help your child know they have your full attention and develop their social and language skills.

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