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Reading at St Mary’s



At St Mary’s, we foster a love of reading to ensure our children become fluent, confident readers. We promote a “Reading Culture” across the school, where reading is enjoyed, celebrated, appreciated, prioritised and respected.


Reading opportunities in school

All children have daily opportunities to read and share books in school. These opportunities may include:

  • Reading and sharing books in the morning as a first activity
  • Phonics sessions
  • Whole class shared reading lessons
  • Listening to shared stories
  • Reading 1:1 with an adult
  • Reading in small groups with an adult
  • Sharing poetry 


Progression and delivery

In EYFS and Year 1, reading is taught through our Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme “Essential Letters and Sounds”, which is linked to Oxford Owls. All children’s reading books show fidelity to the “Essential Letters and Sounds” scheme, and are published through Oxford University Press.


From Year 2 to Year 6, children take part in regular Shared Reading sessions, following a “Talk for Reading” approach (Pie Corbett) where the whole class share the same text with a specific focus. These texts include fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Our main aim is to ensure that children are developing their decoding and comprehension skills within these discussions and independent activities. These skills include vocabulary, retrieval, inference, summarising and prediction. Teachers are able to scaffold the children in their learning by offering “stem sentences” and stretching their depth of understanding within a text.


Tracking and assessment

Reading is regularly assessed for all pupils using a mixture of formative and summative teacher assessment. Pupils are assessed against the National Curriculum for their particular year groups.

We use a variety of assessment tools in order to track progress and inform teaching and planning:

  • Phonics Tracker is used to assess and identify gaps in the phonics taught through Essential Letters and Sounds  
  • Salford Reading Age test is completed termly from Years 1-6. This data informs our identified group of Regular Readers in each class.
  • Salford Reading Comprehension Age test is completed termly in Years 1-2. This data informs our identified groups of children who may require reading interventions that focus on comprehension skills.
  • Single Word Spelling Test is completed termly from Years 1-6. This data informs our identified groups of children who may receive spelling and/or phonics interventions.
  • Rising Stars NTS Reading Assessments are completed termly in Years 3-5. This data informs our identified groups of children who may require reading interventions that focus on comprehension skills.
  • KS1 and KS2 Reading SATs are completed in Years 2 and 6. In Years 6, they complete a practice assessment half-termly, with the official Reading SAT in May. In Year 2, they complete three assessments across the Spring and Summer terms. This is a statutory requirement for Year 6. Whilst it is no longer statutory in Year 2, we use the assessment data to inform our identified groups of children who may require reading interventions that focus on comprehension skills.


We have termly Pupil Progress Meetings to discuss any children who are making below the expected level of progress. We identify our bottom 20% in each class and the targeted provision that is required to support these children to make additional progress. Their progress is regularly monitored through intervention logs and monitoring.


Intervention and inclusion

Through careful monitoring and tracking, practitioners are able to identify children who are not making the expected progress and therefore need intervention to catch up. Depending on the needs of individuals, this may include specific phonic support, developing skills of comprehension and additional individual or small group tutoring. It is important that children who are struggling to learn to read not only need to catch up with their peers, but also to continue to make additional progress.


Our aim at St Mary’s is that every child’s needs are catered for, and every child is given the chance to succeed and become a competent reader. It is our aim to give every child the opportunity to experience success in learning and to be the best that they can be. Adaptive teaching, appropriate to individual children’s needs, is provided during class lessons and intervention sessions. SEND pupils have Pupil Passports and Support Plans, which may include specific reading targets.


Promoting a reading culture

Additional to the above, we promote a reading culture across the school and within our local community through many different ways.


All children have been issued with a Reading Record, which is tailored to the child’s year group. These records help to promote and encourage regular reading at home. The records are also used in school to record when the children complete independent reading or reading with an adult.


Our school library is a place that is loved by all! We are proud of our extremely well-stocked and up-to-date selection of books in the heart of the school, which all children are actively encouraged to use. We have a team of Year 6 Student Librarians who apply for the role termly and are carefully selected as ambassadors for the love of books. The recent introduction of our outdoor Reading Zone, monitored by the Student Librarians, allows children to continue their love of reading journeys at break and lunchtimes, which is favoured by many.


Every class has a welcoming reading area in their classroom, which is seen as a special place that is generously stocked and regularly updated with new books. Each month, every class can order a new book from Bookwagon, a company who read and rate every book they sell.


Every year, we celebrate World Book Day by dressing up as a book character and dedicating the whole day to reading-related activities. The children are always incredibly excited about celebrating this event! All children receive a token that they can exchange for a book on the World Book Day book list, or use towards the purchase of an alternative book.


Our PFA run Book Stalls and Book Swap events regularly throughout the year, after school. This brings excitement for the children, as well as their parents, about taking home a new book.