English Curriculum Statement

National Curriculum

Curriculum Overview

Reading Newsletter

Strategies to support children in English can be found here.

Reading at Holy Family

At Holy Family we believe that every child should learn to read with confidence whilst developing a true love of reading. This is at the heart of the curriculum, the decisions we make and the environment we create.



From the very beginning we aim to give the children of Holy Family the best start, and continually explore a range of ways to promote the fundamental skill of reading. We are committed to engaging our children with stories and rhymes from a very young age. Early language development is established through planned daily stories and rhymes. Children will experience quality texts, rhyme, talk and play on a daily basis. This is carefully planned within adult led sessions and in our continuous provision.


Phonics teaching at Holy Family follows the government validated systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) “Supersonic Phonic Friends”.

Each of the Supersonic Phonic Friends represent a skill we need to learn to read and write.

We listen with Len, See with Sam, Read with Rex and Write with Ron.

The teaching of phonics is given high priority and children begin to decode and read words quickly. Children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, can practise and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have. Staff are fully trained and highly skilled in teaching early reading. We provide structured and enjoyable phonics activities that assist children in learning new sounds rapidly. We use a range of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children, including the use of interactive whiteboards, movement, speaking and listening, songs, rhymes, practical activities. Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the curriculum with any reading or writing activities.

Phonics begins with “The Basics 1” in nursery and this will continue into the reception year.

The Basics 1 focuses on the skills children need to be ready to start reading. These early reading skills include matching, rhyming, awareness of phonics and the skills associated with language development such as listening, attention, alliteration and sound discrimination. Through games and activities these skills are promoted in a fun and engaging way.

In Reception Class the children will begin “The Basics 2” where children are taught the first 23 phonemes of the phonic code. They will:

Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make.

Blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to ‘decode’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.

They will continue to progress onto “The Basics 3” as they become more confident where they will learn the remaining 21 phonemes to make up all of the 44 sounds of the English language. We expect that all children will be confident in The Basics 3 by the end of Reception.


Alongside the primary technique of ‘sounding out’ new words, we actively encourage the learning of words from memory. Within the programme we teach children the high frequency words and common exception words. We refer to these sight words as our ‘tricky words’. ‘Tricky Tess’ introduces these words to signify that a differing strategy is needed.


Children are given opportunities to apply what they have learnt through reading, including time to read aloud to adults to practise their decoding skills and comprehension of what they are reading.


Key Stage One

When they enter Year 1 most children will be ready to revisit The Basics 4 before moving onto “The Higher Level 5 -Choose to Use Spellings and Switch it Spell Sounds. Within this teaching phase they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound, so for example 'ee' can be represented as 'ee, as in bee', 'ea as in tea', 'e-e as in theme' and 'e as in we'.

Phonics will continue to be a priority and children will have a phonics session every day. The teaching of tricky words will be part of this time.


In the Summer term of Year 1 the children will focus on spelling rules. This teaching will continue throughout Year 2.

Alongside phonics teaching the children will have dedicated time each day which is spent with an adult reading a quality text. This text will be carefully chosen to link to learning, promote the learning of new vocabulary and to present opportunities to practise the important skills of comprehension.


Reading at Home

At Holy Family we know how important it is for parents and teachers to work together to give your child the best start. Reading together at home is one of the most effective and important ways in which you can help your child. Children should be encouraged to enjoy sharing books and read independently, as well as being read to by an adult. This not only supports children’s progression in reading but leads to them seeing reading as a source of pleasure and interest.

To support your child in becoming an effective and confident reader we hope to work with you to develop their knowledge of phonics (letter sounds) to enable them to decode different words they may come across.

The books that your child brings home should be entirely decodable at their current Phonics level. This means that your child should be comfortable and able to have a go at reading the whole book independently without support rather than it being a challenge. It should become a fluent read over the course of a few reads that increases their confidence. Your child will have the opportunity to bring two books home each week. We ask that you read with your child for a short period of time (5-10 minutes) every day and record this in their Home Reading Record.



We are very aware that children develop at differing rates. For those children who need further support there will be additional sessions of phonic games and activities and short reminder sessions. If at any point you are concerned about your child’s progress, then please talk to their class teacher.










Before putting pen to paper, look at the letter with your child and encourage them to trace it on the page with their finger.  Have a go at finger writing in the air, on the table, on the page and everywhere!  In the sand on the beach when on holiday is a great time to practise!  Let your child see you modelling the letter formation in this way.  When they feel confident that they know the formation, try using a pencil to get the letter down on the page.


Encourage your child to hold their pencil correctly.


Try to let your child see you writing whenever possible, whether it be a shopping list, birthday card, or even a note on the calendar – they love to copy grown-ups and again you are modelling the skill for them.


Finally, allow your child time to experiment with different pens, pencils, paintbrushes and crayons independently, so that they have time to try ideas and skills out for themselves.  Give them lots of praise when they attempt to write for themselves – they will be encouraged to try it more often if they know their efforts are appreciated!


Note: When your child is writing their name please encourage your child to only use a capital letter for the first letter of their name and use lower case letters for the remaining part of their name.