St Joseph's Catholic Primary Academy, Healds Road, Dewsbury, WF13 4HY

01924 462053

St Josephs Catholic Primary Academy

We are proud to work with all the Catholic schools across our two local authority areas, particularly as the Trust grows and benefits from the expertise and knowledge that other schools joining in the future will bring.

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‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.’ - Dr. Seuss

Curriculum Intent

All children at St Joseph’s are encouraged to become passionate about reading and our early readers are supported in this through the teaching of phonics using the Read, Write, Inc phonics program. Early reading fluency is a key priority of our school and expert staff are deployed to deliver and teach phonics to children in EYFS and Year 1, with the expectation that nearly all children will graduate from the program by the end of Year 1. Regular half-termly assessments and phonics checks ensure that all staff involved in the Read, Write, Inc program are aware of those children who might need additional support, and prompt action is taken to ensure that children keep up with their learning. Where necessary for children with EAL or SEND needs, a bespoke reading program is delivered either through regular reading interventions with support staff or through access to the Read, Write, Inc phonics or comprehension schemes. As children move into Year 2 and beyond, the reading curriculum at St Joseph’s allows them to read a breadth of texts covering a range of genres and topics. Reading skills lessons in Key Stage 2 teach children the specific skills needed to confidently understand and comprehend a text, with a clear focus on retrieval, inference and deduction skills.

National curriculum objectives and progression in reading

The early learning goal for the end of reception is as follows: Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.

The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:

  • word reading

  • comprehension (both listening and reading)

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (ie unskilled readers) when they start school.

Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

Read, Write, Inc Implementation

At St Joseph's, Phonics is taught through the ‘Read Write Inc’ programme designed by Ruth Miskin.

At the core of the programme is the lively and vigorous teaching of synthetic phonics. Throughout the programme, pupils learn the 150+ graphemes that represent the 44 speech sounds, they learn how to decode words and learn skills to help them to blend. At the same time, pupils also develop their handwriting and letter formation skills. As their confidence in decoding develops they are introduced to strategies to support their comprehension skills, as well as developing their own ideas for writing. The pupils read decodable books within the session and once they are familiar with it, they get to take the story home to confidently read to their parents. The books are closely matched to their reading ability, ensuring success in early reading and helping to build the pupil’s confidence.

The Phonics lessons begin in Reception class, when the pupils start school in September, with the hope that all pupils will graduate from the programme by the end of Year One. Some pupils, who need extra Phonics support, continue with the programme when they move to Year Two.

Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:

  1. Purpose – know the purpose of every activity and share it with the pupils, so they know the one thing they should be thinking about.

  2. Participation – ensure every pupil participates throughout the lesson. Partnership work is fundamental to learning.

  3. Praise – ensure pupils are praised for effort and learning, not ability.

  4. Pace – teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning.

  5. Passion – be passionate about teaching so pupils can be engaged emotionally.

Organisation of the lesson:

The pupils are grouped according to their ability and the lessons take place around school including the school hall, Boardroom, Resources room and the Staff room. The lessons are 30 minutes long; they start at 9:00 and finish at 9:30. They are delivered by teachers and teaching assistants.

Grouping and Assessment:

All pupils are assessed half termly by the Read, Write, Inc leader to ensure a consistent approach. Pupils will then be grouped according to their ability. The pupils are assessed in their Phonic recognition, their ability to decode and their reading fluency.

The pupils work in small groups to follow the structured programme which is tailored to their ability. They are introduced to the vocabulary and parts of the lesson from the beginning and these things will be consistent as the pupils move through the groups. Reception class work through the programme together to begin with and are then split into groups at the end of Autumn 2 ready for Spring 1. Groups are a mix of Reception, Year one and Year two pupils.

Teaching of sounds:

In Read Write Inc phonics the individual sounds are called ‘speed sounds’ – because we want children to read them effortlessly. Set 1 sounds are the initial letter sounds. They are taught in the following order. m, a, s, d, t, i, n, p, g, o, c, k, u, b, f, e, l, h, sh, r, j, v, y, w, th, z, ch, qu, x, ng, nk

There are 12 Set 2 ‘speed sounds’ that are made up of two or three letters which represent just one sound, e.g. ay as in play, ee as in tree and igh as in high. When children learn their Set 2 sounds they will learn: the letters that represent a speed sound e.g. ay a simple picture prompt linked to the ‘speed sound’ and a short phrase to say e.g. may I play. Every speed sound has a list of green words linked to it, so children can ‘sound out’ and ‘sound blend’ words containing the new speed sound they have just learnt, for example s-p-r-ay = spray. When learning their Set 3 speed sounds they will be taught that there are more ways in which the same sounds are written, e.g. ee as in tree and ea as in tea

As children build up their knowledge of sounds they are able to apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word may it be real or nonsense. During lessons each day children will practice their decoding skills by sounding out the letters in ‘Alien words’. Children are unable to rely on existing knowledge of real words, and instead have to use their letter-sound knowledge. This is an important part of the Phonics Screening Test children complete at the end of year 1.

Reading Skills Implementation

To aid comprehension in KS2, teachers plan and deliver three reading skills sessions a week, each lasting approximately 30 minutes. The aim of these sessions is to continue to build upon children’s oracy and fluency skills, with plenty of opportunities for shared reading and talking, as well as the explicit teaching of comprehension skills. A unit of work will consist of five lessons based upon a chosen text. Class teachers choose these texts from a bank of resources including access to books from, twinkl texts, testbase texts and extracts from books from the library. Teachers are responsible for ensuring a range of texts are chosen covering fiction, non-fiction and poetry therefore allowing children access to a wide and rich range of vocabulary. A unit of work is planned as follows:

  • Day 1 - inference. Children are given words, phrases or pictures from the text and must use these clues to infer meaning.

  • Day 2 - read and retrieve. The whole class read the text with a focus on fluency and oracy skills. Retrieval skills are taught to ensure children can recall basic facts and information about the text.

  • Day 3 - vocabulary break-down. Children are taught how to decipher unknown words from the text using either root word, read around or build a picture strategies.

  • Day 4 - delving deeper. This lesson gives the children an opportunity to tackle more complex comprehension questions which rely on using evidence from the text to justify ideas.

  • Day 5- question time. The teacher uses a range of comprehension questions based on retrieval, inference and vocabulary skills to assess the children’s understanding of the text.

Reading Dogs (Twinkl):

To support pupils’ understanding of different comprehension questions, we use the Reading Dogs from Twinkl. These dogs cover the reading skills needed for pupils in Year 2-6 and help pupils understand how different question types require different reading skills to be used.

Each reading skills lesson will be focused on one (or possibly two) of these dogs so that pupils become used to a range of different question types and comprehension skills. These question types are modelled by the teacher and there are plenty of opportunities for pupils to practise answering these questions verbally throughout the lesson.

Home reading:

It is an expectation at St Joseph’s that all pupils will grow into passionate, lifelong readers and will understand how important it is to read a wide range of texts and genres. To support all pupils in their reading, the school follows a coloured book band scheme which supports pupils with their reading fluency and comprehension as they progress through school. These books can be read in school to an adult and we encourage all pupils to take their reading scheme book home to read with an adult.

Our reading scheme is stocked with a variety of books from different publishers such as Oxford Reading Tree, Read, Write, Inc. Project X and Bugclub. However, they are all banded into the same colour groups, with the books lower down the scheme also being grouped based on their phonics coverage.

We encourage all our pupils to read regularly at home. Children will bring home books which are matched to the stage of their reading development.

For early and developing readers phonics books will be sent home linked to the RWI sounds which have been taught. This will allow the children the opportunity to practise reading words by blending and segmenting enabling them to gain secure phonic knowledge.

Pupils further up school (often in Years 5 and 6) may have already moved through the scheme, having read a wide variety of texts from each colour band and having displayed secure fluency and understanding at each band. These pupils can then move on to become ‘free readers’ and choose a suitable, engaging text from the library section

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