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Mendell Primary School

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  • Mcgregor
  • Beckham
  • Deeley
  • Bunton


  • Foundation 1
  • Foundation 2
  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3
  • Year 4
  • Year 5
  • Year 6

Reading & Phonics

Last updated: February 2021

In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, phonics sessions take place every day for at least 20 minutes following the 'Letters and Sounds' document.  In order to address each child’s different needs teachers assess each child’s phonic and reading progress regularly. This allows us to quickly identify children needing additional support both during lessons and through additional intervention. During whole class phonics sessions, each class has a teaching assistant with them during the lesson to observe and record names of any children who are not secure with new sounds or previously taught sounds. On the same day, teachers deliver intervention to these children to address gaps.  


At the end of Year One all children are tested on their basic knowledge of phonics (initial sounds and blends). Children continue to work on elements of phonics until they are proficient through the rest of KS1 and KS2. Children who do not achieve the national standard in the Year One Phonics test will be re-tested at the end of Year Two. In key stage 2, we follow the 'Babcock' spelling scheme to teach spelling strategies. 


At Mendell, all our early reading books are phonetically decodable and matched closely to sounds that are being taught in school. This gives children as much opportunity as possible to practice fluency. Currently, we use ‘Collins Big Cats’ as well as the whole school online reading scheme ‘Bug Club’ by Pearson.


To support the teaching of reading and writing, we use  'Pathways to Read and Write’ as a teaching resource across the school. All year groups follow this unique approach to text-based teaching to create fun and engaging English lessons for pupils. A wide range of teaching approaches are used, such as drama activates and cross curricular links. As the lessons are focused around good quality, age-appropriate books, this enables us to promote a love of reading and encourage our children to read for pleasure.


Across the Pathways to Write units, year group skills have been considered in a progressive way to lead to success in learning. These are referred to as ‘Mastery Keys’. There are 3-4 mastery keys per unit from the National Curriculum that are revisited throughout (lots of short writing tasks are used to practise skills). The final piece of writing gives the opportunity to apply the newly acquired mastery skills. Skills are revisited throughout the year as well as skills taught in previous year groups. By the end of the year, each class should have built up their set of skills to show the full range of end of year expectations.


Pathways to read sessions (in years 2-6) teach key skills needed to become competent and fluent readers. In Early years and year 1, guided reading will focus on fluency using decodable books focus on phonetically decodable books (this will also apply to some year 2 children who are not secure with Phase 5).


Pathways to Read planning is progressive and follows a mastery approach. There are 6 units for each year group that use inspiring and engaging texts that are age appropriate and link to Pathways to Write. There are ongoing skills taught and revisited throughout the year and each unit has a mastery focus (mastery keys).