Merton Park Primary School

Reading & Phonics

“ A book is a gift you can open again and again.” (Garrison Keillor)

At Merton Park Primary books are at the heart of our curriculum. Our aim is for every child to not only acquire the essential basic reading skills, but to become a life long reader with a real appreciation and love of books.


Our Year 1 phonics results in 2023 placed us in the top 3% of schools in the country as 97% of children met the expected standard. 

We teach phonics using a systematic synthetic programme (SSP) in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, using  Read, Write Inc. Children are encouraged to use phonic techniques (decoding, sounding out and blending) to read and spell ‘green’ words.  Children are taught to read ‘red’ words (tricky words) by sight. We use decodable books, which help children to consolidate their learning, alongside real books, which provide children with opportunities to work on their decoding and become confident readers. There are writing activities which link to the books and focus on building sentences and using phonics for spelling.

In the Early Years Foundation Stage children develop the ability to distinguish between sounds and become familiar with rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. They develop an understanding of the correspondence between spoken and written sounds and learn to link sounds and letters and use their knowledge to read simple words.

Our phonics policy 

Phonics Presentation for Reception families


At Merton Park we use a range of approaches to develop early reading and foster a culture of reading for pleasure.  Children from Reception to Year 6 are exposed to some of the best children’s literature and to creative teaching approaches throughout their time at Merton Park. 

Listening to the teacher reading aloud is a key part of the day in every class.  

In Reception, Y1 & the start of Y2, children take home a decodable reading book appropriate to their level. Every week children read with a teacher or teaching assistant and their book is changed when appropriate. Children also take home a reading for pleasure book and library book. 

In years 3 to 6, children take part in a daily whole class reading lesson based around a high-quality text. These texts include fiction books, non-fiction books and poetry. The emphasis in these lessons is on developing children's fluency and prosody when reading and to develop their comprehension skills for example inferring from the text. 

Our KS2 reading spine

Each class has the opportunity to visit the school library once a week and children can choose to browse and read during lunchtime library sessions. Children can also access the library database online from home to choose books and to read and write reviews.

Children also visit our local library and KS2 children attend Wimbledon BookFest every year.