Why we learn Reading:

At St Mary’s Primary School, we believe that reading is a pupil’s passport to the world: it is a vital skill for all learning. We prioritise every facet of their reading development as they progress on their journey through the school from EYFS to Year 6.

Our goal is for all students to leave primary school with the ability to read fluently, confidently, and with a love of reading that will last a lifetime. Therefore, we want to encourage every student to read widely, both fiction and non-fiction, so they can obtain information across the curriculum, strengthen their comprehension abilities, and gain a better understanding of who they are and the society in which they live. We are committed to providing vocabulary rich reading material and this is evident through all aspects of the curriculum.

At St Mary’s it is our intent to ensure children will:

  • be enthusiastic, inquisitive, lifelong learners: we aim to inspire a love of books and reading for both pleasure and purpose. We immerse our pupils in high-quality books, which we have in our well-stocked classroom book corners. Pupils use these to support their learning across the curriculum, and to also extend beyond the classroom environment and enrich their lives
  • be strong communicators: we have a strong focus on daily reading to improve fluency, expression and intonation. We provide the pupils the opportunity to share their passion of reading by having them read aloud during lessons and in assemblies and Masses/Liturgies
  • be well-rounded, independent and resilient learners with aspirations: we teach reading sessions based around carefully selected books which are chosen to foster a love of reading and build imagination and aspirations. Our teachers are highly skilled in planning quality lessons in which they explore the texts deeply; build core comprehension skills and vocabulary, explicitly model and practice reading aloud with fluency and expression as well as incorporating drama and writing. We encourage our pupils to discuss and form opinions about what they have read
  • develop and use their God given talents by being creative: we want our pupils to feel confident, eager, and capable of expressing their views and opinions both orally and in writing so that they can apply what they have learned as readers
  • be responsible citizens who are eager to make a positive contribution to their community and wider society: we believe that with the right support every pupil can learn to read. Reading is an essential skill which develops the mind, language and communication and allows children to access the wider world


How we teach Reading:

The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Phonics is taught, using the Read Write Inc programme, daily to all children in Foundation Stage, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed the Phonics Screening in Year 1. All staff (teachers, TAs and LSAs) have been trained to teach these sessions and receive continuous coaching and development form the Phonics Lead.

Using the scheme, staff systematically teach pupils the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in an ability-group format in EYFS and KS1, because it enables staff to ensure application across subjects, embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers. In these phonics groups, children also develop their reading comprehension through guided reading and questioning sessions.

Timely intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels as soon as needs are identified. These groups are organised through half termly RWI assessments and follow the reading books in the scheme. In EYFS and KS1 we hold annual Reading and Phonics workshops to support parental knowledge and understanding. All our pupils are assessed regularly through a PM Benchmark analysis. They are given a selection of home reading books which are changed regularly to ensure pupils get a wide range of texts to access to assist in developing a love of reading.

From Years 3 to 6, the children have daily shared reading sessions based around carefully selected books chosen to foster a love of reading and build imagination. Our teachers are highly skilled in planning quality lessons in which they explore the texts deeply, build core comprehension skills and vocabulary, explicitly model and practice reading aloud with fluency and expression as well incorporating drama and writing. Aside from their shared reading lesson, each class will read their class novel for 15 minutes each day.

To encourage a love of poetry and support children with their speaking skills, each class learns to recite a poem off by heart, the children then perform this to the rest of the school. This is an event the children look forward to each year.

We believe every household should be enriched with high quality novels and therefore we have our very own book hut. This gives our pupils the opportunity to read and take home new books and spend time reading during playtime and after school. Parents are welcome to donate books back into the book hut as well as taking them home. Our school council do a fabulous job in keeping our book hut well stocked and presentable.

Book week is one of our highlights of the school year. Each year we celebrate our love of reading and throw a whole school character book parade. The children dress up as a character from a book and we spend the week immersing the children in stories. The children receive book tokens, attend reading workshops and carry out a wealth of fun activities related to reading with their teachers.


As a result…

We aim for the children at St Mary’s to demonstrate a love of reading and books. We monitor the impact of reading in a variety of ways. Pupil voice is an essential part of the monitoring process: our pupils are aware of current class readers and can discuss them and give an opinion about them; they are also able to explain the comprehension skills they have learnt.

We see a great buzz around reading for pleasure in classes, where the children are discussing and recommending books, and our staff model this. Our learning walks show that our reading lessons are of a high quality.


Our teachers’ measure the progress of pupil’s reading through ongoing assessments and through three key assessment points during the year when they carry out PM benchmarks and summative reading tests. Pupil data is analysed to ensure attainment in reading and progress is on track in each year group. Interventions are planned, implemented and evaluated for targeted pupils. Learning tasks are planned to address misconceptions/gaps in learning.


On average for Reading our pupils enter the foundation stage at below national expectations, they leave KS1 meeting the standard and many achieve Greater Depth by they time they leave KS2. Our pupils become fluent and expressive readers with an excellent understanding and a growing vocabulary. They leave St Mary’s as proficient readers, ready to tackle the KS3 expectations and with a solid understanding of a range of genres and skills needed to succeed.