The Federation of St Cuthbert's and St Mary's puts reading at the heart of the curriculum. We strive to foster a love of reading at school and at home. We believe 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 and is a fundamental life skill which, enables children to communicate effectively in all areas and equips them for the challenges they will face in the wider world. 


We aim to have pupils leave St Mary’s and St Cuthbert’s as lifelong readers, who have an instilled love for reading in them. In order to do this, children are encouraged to read widely and are exposed to a variety of genres. Reading across all subjects within the curriculum will prepare pupils for life beyond the Primary Classroom, where they will be taking with them the skills required for in-depth reading and analysing.


Speaking and listening is prioritised in order to build vocabulary for all learners in order to understand more complex texts. We provide a reading rich environment where pupils can access text linked to the 5 plagues of reading, curriculum areas and their own areas of interest.


We intend that our pupils will be both independent and reflective readers who can read fluently and for meaning.


We provide rich, meaningful discussions around texts, where all children feel confident and able to contribute by using their reading skills to access all areas of learning.

We use approaches that encourages children to spot clues and apply strategies to understand texts at a deep level


We bring reading to life and give it purpose using music, drama and performance.



The overarching aim for English at The Federation of St Cuthbert’s and St Mary’s is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. Our aims to ensure that all pupils:

• will be both independent and reflective readers who can read fluently and for meaning.

• develop a love of reading that becomes a life-long habit, for both pleasure and information

• feel confident and able to contribute by using their reading skills to access all areas of learning, where they can elaborate and clearly explain their understanding and ideas

• appreciate a rich and varied language developed through exposure to diverse text with global perspectives

• bring reading to life and give it a purpose through speaking and listening, use of music, drama and performance and are confident to share and challenge ideas through debate.




The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. At the Federation of St Mary’s and St Cuthbert’s we follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme. Our staff teach learners the relationship between sounds and written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them.


All children in Reception and KS1 have daily phonics sessions in a whole class setting with those who are struggling to grasp key elements taught, receiving additional phonics sessions. This is to ensure all pupils receive equal exposure to teaching material for their age group and are given the same opportunity to learn.


Additional phonics sessions are taught in small groups where pupils participate in speaking, listening, spelling and reading activities that are matched to their targeted needs.


Early Reading and Phonics:

We carry out a baseline assessment as children enter EYFS and KS1. We continue to assess children's phonics skills each half-term using phonics assessments in Reception and Year 1 that follow a similar pattern to daily lessons: phoneme / grapheme awareness, segmenting and blending, reading and writing.


As well as this, teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may require additional support. Timely intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected standard as soon as their needs are identified.


We recognise that systematic, high quality phonics teaching is essential, but additional skills and opportunities are required for children to achieve the goal of being a well-rounder reader. When pupils have completed the phonics programme and are secure word level readers, reading is developed during whole class and guided reading sessions, using high quality text and focused skill teaching. Strong links are made between reading and writing so that skills and strategies can develop between the two. Children read and enjoy high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry, which are linked to topics across the curriculum where relevant.


Each week, all children are heard read three times during reading sessions. In addition, those children who require additional reading practice and support are heard read during interventions throughout the week.; the focus being on the lowest 20%.


Children who are unable to achieve the phonics expected standard will proceed to phonics intervention and reading support. Phonics is continued in KS2 for those who need it including application practice with decodable reading books. Progress is monitored through Star Reading assessments.


Guided Reading:

In guided reading session, children develop their key reading strategies and skills for decoding and comprehending in groups of a similar ability. This is to ensure pupils have the opportunity to read in groups with books accurately challenging for their word and comprehension level. Children also continue to develop their reading fluency skills, building upon their phonics knowledge and skills.

See Phonics and Early Reading Policy for the teaching of reading sessions in Reception and Year 1.


Whole Class Reading:

In whole class reading sessions, children continue to develop their strategies and skills for reading through a planned reading unit that works through three distinct phases: phase 1, gathering and building background knowledge and introduction to the text to gain a basic understanding. Phase 2, digging deep and investigating the text to deepen knowledge and understanding. Phase 3, applying knowledge and understanding within and across texts.


Vocabulary Focus:

Through phonics, spelling, guided reading and whole class reading, vocabulary linked to the text is focused upon. Pupils look at root words to gather understanding of meaning, synonyms to build and wider their vocabulary bank and the type of vocabulary it is to gain an understanding of appropriate times to use it across the curriculum. Key vocabulary within text is reinforced daily across appropriate curriculum areas to ensure it becomes embed and children gain the ability to use within the spoken / written language as appropriate.


Class Reads:

All classes experience daily class reads, for pleasure, to excite and engage children and to expose them to a range of genres.

Class read time is a time for pupils to read or hear a book read without interruption. At least once a week, reading sessions are specifically linked to whole class reads and focus on retrieving and inferring information from the text, discussing characters and plots, making predictions and summarising events and themes.


Application of Skills:

Application of reading skills are planned for across the curriculum with skills and strategies taught being applied in other subjects such as Science, Topic and RE. Here you will see pupils reading and thinking as readers, using reciprocal and close reading techniques to support this.


Text Choice:

Text chosen in each year group are carefully selected by class teachers in conjunction with the English subject lead. Here books are selected from the 5 plagues of reading: Classic text, Non-Linear Time Sequence, Complexity of the Narrator, Complexity of the Plot/ Symbol and Resistant text. This ensures exposure to all 5 plagues across each year group, through text appropriate for age level. This supports children in their ability to access more complex books expected of them beyond primary school.

Books and text (including non-fiction) are also selected linked to year group topics and class interests to give opportunities to build background knowledge and read for pleasure. Each year group is provided with an adaptable reading list, which gives suggested and complimentary texts to topics across the curriculum.


Text choice in Long-Term Plans covers: core text (linked to English topics) and complementary text to deepen understanding of themes, class reads, whole class reading text and text linked to topics across the curriculum.


Home Reading:

Reading at home is encouraged and promoted on a regular basis. Children learning within the phonics programme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds, take home a book matched directly to their current phonics level; they are also encouraged to choose an additional book to share with their family at home. Following this, children continue to work throughout the school reading scheme based on the Oxford Reading Tree books bands. These are levelled books that match a child’s word and comprehension level. Pupil’s take home books that are matched to their independent reading level to ensure they are able to practice fluency and understanding, whilst reading for enjoyment.


Once pupils have advanced from the reading scheme, they are able to choose books within their reading age ability. These books are chosen from the class / key stage library and reading ages a measured through Star Reading Assessments each term. Book recommendations are given by class teachers and peers to support children in finding books that interest and engage them.


All pupils have access to Reading Eggs and Fast Phonics. This is a highly interactive online reading programme that provides a comprehensive range of online reading lessons, activities and books pitched at an appropriate level to all pupils. This reading programme covers the five pillars of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency. Reading Eggs combines a progressive sequence of instructional learning activities with motivational elements: colourful animations, music, and rewards to keep pupils motivated and engaged. Pupil’s practice reading and spelling skills through games and quizzes as well as reading books online.


Continuity and Progression


Foundation Stage



The foundations are laid in nursery with a strong focus on speaking and listening skills. These are crucial for reading and are practiced throughout the day through a variety of fun phase 1 activities, listening to stories and joining in with song and rhyme.


Linking sounds and letters:

Pupils get used to letter sounds by playing lots of activities. They will begin to learn how phonemes in words re represented in written form by a letter or graphemes.

Telling Stories:

There is a strong focus on sharing stories, songs and rhymes together and building talking and listening skills. There are plenty of opportunities to hear and enjoy stories together. They are encouraged to retell stories in their own words to help build talking and listening skills.

Singing songs and rhymes:

Hearing and learning songs and nursery rhymes is an important part of the reading curriculum. Children explore sounds and begin learning story language and story structure



At the end of the Foundation Stage the pupils will have experiences shared, guided and independent reading and learned the routines and responsibilities which enable the class to operate efficiently and effectively. Building on what pupils already know about reading and stories, the teacher helps develop early reading behaviours and concepts about print through shared reading, e.g. following the text from left to right, knowing that print carries meaning, identifying the protagonists in a story, recognising signs and symbols in environmental print. The pupils develop curiosity and enthusiasm about print. They are able to select, read and talk about a range of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. They have many stories told and read to them and they have opportunities to retell narratives themselves. The focus, particularly at the early stage, is on developing understanding and conveying meaning of the texts they read rather than reading words accurately.


Key Stage One

At Key Stage 1 the emphasis is on developing pupils’ interest and pleasure as they learn to read independently and with confidence. They focus on words and sentences and how they are put together to form texts. They bring meaning to the texts they read and share likes and dislikes about them. Enlarged texts, selected from the appropriate range of texts – fiction and non-fiction – are used for shared reading at Key Stage 1. Teachers model a range of reading strategies, including the identification of sentence structure and the accuracy of punctuation marks, teach specific vocabulary, and use of prosody whilst giving pupils opportunities to practice phonic skills and word recognition in context. Alongside this, comprehension skills and strategies are taught.


Key Stage Two

At Key Stage 2, pupils meet a wide range of texts in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. Teaching focuses on developing pupils’ reading skills, e.g. generalising and making inferences by drawing on evidence from the text. There continues to be a high level of interaction between teacher and pupils, with pupils sharing individual responses and interpretations.


The text chosen offer challenge to all pupils in the class, The texts chosen are of a high quality and children can follow as the text is read to them through having a book individually or with a partner or can read independently / in groups. The children undertake tasks to deepen their understanding of the text. Sometimes these work best before the reading of the text (e.g. raising questions/ predictions / clarifying vocabulary). At other points it will take place after pupils have close / layer read together and with teachers facilitating to allow them to dig deeper into the text and widen their skills such as developing inference, viewpoint and authors choice of language.


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