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Reading and Phonics

Reading at St Mary’s

At St Mary's we love to read. We value reading as a key life skill. By the time children leave St Mary's, they should be confident selecting and reading a wide range of material and enjoy regularly reading for pleasure.

Children are encouraged to develop a real love for books through high quality teaching and within a literate classroom environment. This love begins in the Nursery where children respond to familiar texts and retell stories. Interaction with texts develops through Reception and into KS1 and KS2 as children broaden their understanding of different genres, authors and stories. We ensure the books we read as part of our reading curriculum and in our books corners are representative of our wider school community and reflect the diversity of our children's lived experiences. 

At St Mary's Primary we value reading as a core life skill. We aim for every child in our school to be able to read independently and to enjoy reading. We make this happen by supporting our pupils with excellent phonics teaching and all children read with adults in school regularly. Parents and reading volunteers are encouraged to come into school and hear children read. We expect pupils to read at home every day.

For a clear outline of our Reading Aims, Implementation and Assessment policy please refer to the documents Phonics and Early Reading Policy and Reading Policy below.


When planning reading lessons teachers use a variety of tools. See the links below for a few ways in which we encourage, develop and foster a love of reading with every child.


Phonics- Little Wandle https://www.littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk

VIPERS: https://www.literacyshedplus.com/en-us/browse/reading-vipers 

Ashley Booth: https://theteachingbooth.wordpress.com/2020/06/28/a-ks2-reading-curriculum/

Accelerated Reader: Parent Resources - Information for Parents and Guardians (renaissance.com)



How we teach Reading

We teach reading comprehension through daily reading lessons. (In Reception, Year 1 and 2 these happen, in groups x3 per week) with additional 1-1 sessions where appropriate. In KS2 each half term, children will read and analyse a fiction, a non-fiction or a poetry text. Reading lessons include:

  • An element of prosody (reading with feeling)
  • A close look at key vocabulary that children may be unfamiliar with
  • Unpicking the key skill focus for that lesson (retrieval, inference, prediction, summarising, vocabulary, making links)
  • Modelled answering of questions
  • Opportunities to apply the day's reading skills independently
  • A weekly focus text in Reception

In addition to our reading lessons in Year R-6, we also provide children with:

  • Opportunities to read for pleasure
  • Phonics in small groups or interventions 
  • Storytime timetabled for fifteen minutes a day, at least three times a week.
  • Regular, open ended discussions about stories and books.
  • Opportunities to read, re-read and discuss a wide read of genres including poetry and non-fiction

We also have a number of reading enrichment activities, including:

  • Reading Café, from term 3 in Reception. Parents and Carers are invited into school to read a handpicked story book with their child and engage in activities planned around the story theme.
  • Bedtime stories in Reception and Key Stage 1, where the children come back to school and enjoy story time with their teacher and classmates, snuggled up in cosy nightclothes and a hot chocolate
  • Regular book fairs from publishers of popular children's fiction and non fiction titles.
  • Celebrations for World Book Week including competitions, class teachers reading to another class and lots of amazing costumes!
  • Visit from the local library to promote the Summer Reading Challenge
  • Incentives for reading widely at home including, a visit to a bookshop with the headteacher and a raffle to win a kindle as a prize.

In addition, 1:1 reading is put in place for children that need extra practise. Books that the children take home are carefully chosen to match the children’s interests and their level of fluency. In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, these books are also available as Ebooks. In Year 2-6, once the children are able to read all the phonetically decodable books they then move onto the Accelerated Reader scheme. Parent's Guide to Accelerated Reader (renlearn.co.uk)

Reading for pleasure at St Mary's

Every child at St Mary's will have...

Reading communities:

·         Participation in local reading competitions including the summer reading challenge.

·         Book fairs - children are timetabled in for browsing sessions.

·         Participation in World Book Week dress up and enrichment events based on the national theme.

·         Reading treat for children that have been reading regularly at home.

·         Reading buddies- teaming up older and younger classes to share favourite books together. (Currently Reception buddied with Year 6)

Reading environments and choice:

·         An engaging, clearly labelled, tidy book corner with a range of classic and new, high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts.

·         Book Boxes available in the KS1 and KS2 playgrounds in the summer so that children can access books throughout their playtimes.

·         AR books arranged in the library corridor for children to choose a book within their reading zone of fluency.  Advice on how to choose a book that they will like and exposure to new authors and genres.  

·         Time every week to choose a book and read for pleasure.

·         Dedicated time each day where an adult will read to them.

·         Time each week to read to an adult and other children in the classroom.

·         Daily opportunities to engage in quality book talk.

·         Some children even have sessions with our highly trained Reading Recovery teacher

Author visits/ Workshops:

·         Reading Café in Reception

·         Some author/ storyteller visits

Teacher Commitment:

·         Teachers and Teaching Assistants who have regular training sessions and are kept up to date with pedagogical developments.

·         Enthusiastic teachers with good knowledge of children’s books and enjoy participating in book talk.

·         Teachers who are motivated and participate wholeheartedly in reading enrichment activities such as World Book Day.

·         Teachers who model the love of reading!