Phonics and Early Reading


At St Cuthbert's, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. We teach phonics and early reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching the skills for phonics in Nursery through lots of listening activities and games to tune pupils into their speaking and listening ability. In Reception and Year 1 we follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.


Through our teaching of phonics, children are able to tackle unfamiliar words as they read. To ensure our pupils can apply their phonics knowledge and skills, we model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children as speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


What Phonics Looks Like A St Cuthbert's


Daily Phonics Lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics lesson for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10 minute lessons with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week's teaching to help children secure their knowledge and skills.
  • We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
    • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and Phase 3 GPCs. In Phase 4 children are taught to read and spell words with adjacent consonants with fluency and accuracy.
    • Children in year 1 review Phase 2 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.


Daily Keep-up Lessons Supports Every Child To Learns to Read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily keep-up support taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching and use the same procedures and resources but in smaller steps with more repetition, This supports every child to secure their learning.
  • Daily phonics lessons or suitable 1-1 interventions are timetabled for any child in Year 2 or 3 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check.
  • Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments are used to identify the gaps in phonics knowledge and teach to these using keep-up resources. 


Teaching Early Reading: Reading Practice Sessions Three Times a Week

  • In Reception and Year 1, we teach children to read through reading practice sessions three times a week. These are:
    • Taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
    • use books matched to the children's secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments
    • Are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and words with each group on a regular basis.
  • Each reading practice session has a clear focus so that the demands of the session do not overload the children's working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
    • decoding
    • prosody - teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension - teaching children to understand the text.
  • In Reception, these sessions begin as soon as pupils are able to decode CVC words linked to GPCs they have been taught so far. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending in small groups so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
  • In Year 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading n this way for any children who still need to practice reading with decodable books unless they have moved to a personalised daily reading and writing intervention.


Home Reading

  • The decodable reading practice book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family:
    • Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children
    • We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents' resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision. This will be available online and via workshops at different points in the year.


Ensuring Consistency and Pace of Progress

  • All teachers have been trained to teach reading to ensure consistency in expectations of progress. The same language, routines and resources will be be used to teach children to read across year groups to support in lowering children's cognitive load.
  • Weekly content grid for phonics map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
  • Lesson templates, prompt cards and 'how to' videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
  • The Reading Leader uses the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching. Summative data is used to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning. 

Reading at St Cuthbert's

What reading looks like at St Cuthbert's 


At The Federation of St Cuthbert’s and St Mary’s we strive to foster a love of reading at school and at home.

We believe that speaking, listening, reading and writing are fundamental life skills, which enable children to communicate effectively in all areas and equips them for the challenges they will face in the wider world.

Reading is an entitlement that should enable children to connect with some of the finest words ever written. It should open up a world of possibility and intrigue. A centralised aspect of our Book-Led Curriculum across the school is to ensure reading influences the thoughts, feelings and emotions of our learners.

At school we will teach and support children to develop a love of reading through class reads and story time, alongside the systematic teaching strategies of daily phonics lesson, and Whole Class and Guided Reading sessions where strategies for reading are explicitly taught.


Reading daily at home provides your child with an opportunity to practice the skills they have been learning in school to further develop and cement them into their reading practice and understanding.


The more you read, the more things you will know.

The more that you learn, the more places you will go.

                                                                Dr Seuss


Reading At Home


How to support your child's reading at home:


Reading aloud to your child daily. As often as possible. This is still the #1 way to support early readers and ensure that your child has the best possible start at reading. And it’s fun!


What books? Any books are fine for reading aloud. You are doing the reading and modeling and your child is benefiting in a lot of ways!


Got a library card? Perfect! Head over to the children’s section and allow your child to choose some books. Choice is a powerful motivator so the more you can include your child in the books you read together, the better!


How about making there own books? Have your child tell you a story and you write the words. She can go back and add pictures. Then read the story together. You will be surprised how well children can read books they create themselves!


Read, read, read it again


We call this repeated reading. When your child is able to read a book, have her read it over and over again until she reads it fluently and flawlessly — with expression too! She can read it to all the members of the family, the childminder, brother, the dogs, and cats, or even her stuffed teddies. The key is repetition. 


Talk about what you read with your child


Pause during the story and ask questions about the characters.

*It’s always best to phrase your question as if you were asking yourself — or thinking out loud. Don’t make this a quiz! Just have fun.


“I wonder why Harry was afraid. What do you think?”


Help your child identify with the characters or the problem/conflict in the story.


“I remember a time that I was afraid during a storm. Have you ever been afraid during a storm?”


Process the events in the story by reviewing what’s happened so far.


“So far Harry has visited his best friend, made some potions, and what else has happened?”


Take time to look at the pictures — they are there for an important reason: to help your child comprehend the story better.


“Look at Susanna as she lays in bed. What do you think she is thinking or feeling?” “How can you tell?”


Make predictions about what will happen next.

“I wonder if Susanna will run to her grandma’s room? What do you think she’ll do next?”

We have also created a list of favourite reads suggested by parents and grandparents of children in school.

Should you need any support with helping your child to read please don’t hesitate to contact the school.

There is also a fantastic article written by Michael Morpurgo outlining 101 books every child should read which you can link to here

We have put together some suggested reading lists for you and your child to work through. If you have any other suggestions to add please email them into the School Office


Reading list for each year group 


Early Years

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?    Bill Martin Jnr

Where’s Spot?     Eric Hill

Guess How Much I Love You     Sam McBratney and Garth Williams

The Little Red Hen        Byron Barton

The Very Hungry Caterpillar       Eric Carle

Clifford the Big Red Dog      Norman Bridwell

Owl Babies     Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson

Where the Wild Things Are        Maurice Sendak

Winnie the Pooh           A A Milne

The Tale of Peter Rabbit              Beatrix Potter

Stone Soup           Marcia Brown

Not Now Bernard       David McKee

There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly       Pam Adams

Q Pootle 5      Nick Butterworth

The Gruffalo      Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Room on the Broom       Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Winnie the Witch          Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul

The Elephant and the Bad Baby       Elfrida Vipont & Raymond Briggs

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt       Helen Oxenbury

Handa’s Surprise         Eileen Browne

I Will Never Eat a Tomato       Lauren Child

Rosie’s Walk          Pat and Laurence Hutchins

One Snowy Night        Nick Butterworth

Dear Zoo           Rod Campbell

The Rainbow Fish          Marcus Pfister

Dogger             Shirley Hughes

Farmer Duck           Martin Waddell

Once Their Were Giants          Martin Waddell and Penny Dale

Here Comes the Aliens          Colin McNaughton



Year 1

The Cat in the Hat                Dr Seuss

The Tiger Who Came to Tea              Judith Kerr

Hairy Maclary          Lynley Dodd

The Large Family Collection       Jill Murphy

Charlie and Lola             Lauren Child

The Smartest Giant in Town    Julia Donaldson

A Squash and a Squeeze      Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo’s Child      Julia Donaldson

The Gigantic Turnip      Aleksei Tolstoy

The Whisperer      Nick Butterworth

Mrs Armitage on Wheels        Quentin Blake

The Trouble with Jack           Shirley Hughe

My Friend Bear        Jez Alborough

Avocado Baby       John Burningham

A Bear Called Paddington         Michael Bond

Funnybones          Allan Ahlberg

The Jolly Postman      Allan Ahlberg

Mister Magnolia         Quentin Blake

Katie Morag Series     Mairi Hedderwick

Frog and Toad are Friends         Arnold Lobel

The Princess and the Pea          Minnie Grey

Don’t Forget the Bacon        Pat Hutchins

Emperor of Absurdia      Chris Riddell


Year 2

The Cat Who Lost His Purr Michelle Coxon

Frightened Fred      Peta Coplans

Friends             Kim Lewis             

Mog Stories        Judith Kerr

Mr Wolf’s Pancakes        Jan Fearnley

Frog is Frog Max      Velthuijis

Cat and Mouse Story          Michael Rosen

The Snow Lady        Shirley Hughes

Grace and Family             Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch

The Adventures of Captain Underpants         Dav Pilkey

The Diary of a Killer Cat           Anne Fine

Little Wolf’s Book of Badness          Ian Whybrow

Mr Men Series         Roger Hargreaves

Mrs Wobble the Waitress           Allan Alhberg

Pirate School: Just a Bit of Wind         Jeremy Strong

George’s Marvellous Medicine            Roald Dahl

The Giraffe, Pelly and Me              Roald Dahl

The Guard Dog            Dick King-Smith

Emily’s Legs         Dick King-Smith

No Tights for George      Julia Crebbin

Princess Smarty-pants           Babette Cole

Prince Cinders        Babette Cole

Jolly Roger       Colin Mc Naughton

The Worst Witch          Jill Murphy


Year 3

The Butterfly Lion           Michael Morpurgo

Kensuke’s Kingdom            Michael Morpurgo

Billy the Kid         Michael Morpurgo

The Twits           Roald Dahl

Charlie and Chocolate Factory          Roald Dahl

The Magic Finger        Roald Dahl

Danny The Champion of the World      Roald Dahl

Fantastic Mr Fox        Roald Dahl

The BFG               Roald Dahl

The Sheep Pig          Dick King-Smith

Bill’s New Frock          Anne Fine

The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog       Jeremy Strong

Return of the Hundred Mile an Hour Dog         Jeremy Strong

The Naughtiest Girl in the School          Enid Blyton

Secret Seven series             Enid Blyton

Famous Five series           Enid Blyton

Animal Ark series          Lucy Daniels

Horrid Henry series           Francesca Henry

 Charlotte’s Web        E B White

Flat Stanley         Jeff Brown

Fungus the Bogeyman          Raymond Briggs

Mystery Winklesea        Helen Cresswell

The Indian in the Cupboard         Lynne Reid Banks

Mr Majeika            Humphrey Carpenter

Please Mrs Butler        Allan Ahlberg

The Sam Pig Story Book      Alison Uttley

Railway Cat       Phyllis Arkle

The Hodgeheg       Dick King-Smith

Gregory Cool          Caroline Binch

Viking at School      Jeremy Strong

Awful Egyptians          Terry Deary

Stormin’ Normans         Terry Deary

Smashing Saxons          Terry Deary

Vicious Vikings              Terry Deary


Year 4

A Caribbean Dozen             John Agard & Grace Nicholls

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland                  ewis Carroll

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters               John Steptoe

Beowolf         Kevin Crossley-Holland

The Firework-Maker's Daughter           Philip Pullman

The Dragon's Child            Jenny Nimmo

The Ghost Blades            Anthony Masters

Sara, Plain and Tall           Patricia MacLachlan

Smart Girls               Robert Leeson

Brother Eagle, Sister Sky                      Susan Jeffers & Chief Seattle

Robi Dobi               Madhur Jaffrey

The Reluctant Dragon              Kenneth Grahame

Flow              Pippa Goodhart

Dragon Poems          John Foster & Korky Paul T

The Crazy Shoe Shuffle         Gillian Cross

The Sea Piper        Helen Cresswell

The Chocolate Touch         Patrick Skene

Catling Spacebaby           Henrietta Branford

James and the Giant Peach        Roald Dahl

A Pot of Gold            Jill Bennett

Fog Hounds Wind Cat Sea Mice             Joan Aiken

The Clothes Horse            Allan Ahlberg

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night       Allan Ahlberg

The Dancing Bear         Michael Morpurgo

The Demon Headmaster          Gillian Cross

A Dog So Small         Phillipa Pearce

Emil and the Detectives       Erich Kastner

The Iron Man       Ted Hughes

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe             C S Lewis

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh           Robert C O’Brien

Stig of the Dump           Clive King

Diary of a Whimpy Kid Series        Jeff Kinney

Groovy Greeks      Terry Deary

Angry Aztecs           Terry Deary

Greek Myths for Young Children       Marcia Williams

The Orchard Book of Creation Stories       Margaret Mayo & Louise Brierley


Year 5

Water Wings             Morris Gleitzman

Blabbermouth           Morris Gleitzman

Belly Flop         Morris Gleitzman

The Diddakoi               Rumer Godden

Stormbreaker               Anthony Horowitz

Walter and Me           Michael  Morpurgo

Friend or Foe           Michael Morpurgo

Mister Monday              Garth Nix

Aquila             Andrew Norris

Harry and the Wrinklies            Alan Temperley

The Story of Tracy Beaker       Jacqueline Wilson

Double Act        Jacqueline Wilson

Northern Lights      Philip Pullman

A Christmas Carol       Charles Dickens

Dragon Rider         Cornelia Funke

Journey To Jo’burg      Beverly Naidoo

Journey to the River Sea       Eva Ibbotson

The Owl Service         Alan Garner

Pig Heart Boy         Malorie Blackman

How to Train your Dragon      Series Cressida Cowell

Watership Down       Richard Adams

The Wizard of Earthsea         Ursula K Le Guin

Wolves of Willoughby Chase       Joan Aiken

Where the Red Fern Grows         Wilson Rawls

Little Women         Louisa May Alcott

All Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea       Michael Morpurgo

Artemis Fowl       Eoin Colfer

The Wind in the Willows       Kenneth Grahame

Anne of Green Gables          L M Montgomery

Black Beauty         Anna Sewell

Holes        Louis Sachar

There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom         Louis Sachar

Vicky Angel            Jacqueline Wilson

The Other Side of Truth         Beverley Naidoo

Harry Potter series          J K Rowling

Terrible Tudors        Terry Deary


Year 6

Carrie’s War        Nina Bawden

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit         Judith Kerr

Forgotten Voices of the 2nd World War             Max Arthur

The Diamond of Drury Lane         Julia Golding

Framed Frank       Cottrell Boyce

Homecoming      Cynthia Voigt

Noughts and Crosses       Malorie Blackman

Knife Edge    Malorie Blackman

Private Peaceful       Michael Morpurgo

Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾          Sue Townsend

Treasure Island           Robert Louis Stevenson

Mortal Engines           Philip Reeve

Clockwork           Philip Pullman

Dragon Keeper        Carole Wilkinson

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time        Mark Haddon

Peter Pan          J M Barrie

Wizard of Oz       F Baum

Robinson Crusoe       Daniel Defoe

Oliver Twist          Charles Dickens

Jungle Book        Rudyard Kipling

The Railway Children        E Nesbit

The Borrowers       M Norton

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn        Mark Twain

Alex Rider series        Anthony Horowitz

My Story series        Various authors

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl Ed.       Otto H Frank

Boy Overboard         Morris Gleitzman

A Boy in Stripped Pyjamas      John Boyne

War horse       Michael Morpurgo

Lord Less and Denominator Series         Darren Shan

Alex Rider Series (Stormbreaker)      Anthony Horowitz

Artemis Fowl       Eoin Colfer

Skellig          David Almond

Holes        Louis Sacher

The Woeful Second World War        Terry Deary

Vile Victorians       Terry Deary

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