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Reading & Phonics

at St Wilfrid's CE Primary School

We are thrilled to be a Success for All Partner School, a testament to our commitment to academic excellence and pupil success. Through this partnership, we have implemented effective strategies to improve early reading skills, ensuring that every child has a strong foundation for future achievements on our journey towards creating a community of lifelong learners! 

At St Wilfrid’s we are passionate about reading and actively promote a love of reading which inspires and excites all children. We believe that reading is a gateway to the world and understand the importance of improving reading standards on a child’s future academic achievement, wellbeing and success in life. 

Our English curriculum is holistically planned around quality texts and all children will develop an interest in words and their meanings and gain an appreciation of books from a variety of genres and authors. 

We teach children to read easily, fluently and with good understanding; to develop appropriate reading skills such as inference, skimming and scanning and summarising. 

Our children develop the habit of reading widely and often, for pleasure and information and this is timetabled daily. We aim for children to acquire a wide vocabulary from the books they read.  We have a well-stocked school library and children have a weekly time-tabled session there. Books are taken home to be shared with parents, to support them in their reading progress and maintain a love for reading.

Our classroom environments are designed with books clearly organised and readily available for children to select. We aim to have the best of children’s literature both classic, current, diverse, entertaining and challenging. We understand the importance of exposing our pupils to the very best stories and books. In our classrooms there is a culture of discussing, debating, enthusing and sharing what we are reading. 

Reading Reading Journey

Early Reading & Phonics

Our pupils learn to read accurately and fluently following the FFT Success for All phonics programme. This is a complete systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme that has been validated by the Department for Education. 

From Nursery through to the end of Year 1, Phonics and Reading sessions are taught daily. In Nursery, book talk is taught to support communication and language development, however from Reception – Year 2, FFT SfA Shared Reading lessons are completed daily.

Early reading and phonics are at the heart of our curriculum, and we ensure that children begin their reading journey at the earliest point in Reception, usually within the first two weeks of starting school. By the end of the Autumn term, many children in Reception are able to read appropriate captions independently. Throughout KS1, our early reading journey continues whereby the children are exposed to alternative pronunciations of sounds, common exceptions words, spelling rules and fluency. 

In Year 2, children progress to the Routes to Reading programme where they will master the skills, knowledge and understanding for reading fluency and comprehension. On their route, they will experience texts from a range of genres and text types. The programme builds on pupils’ phonemic knowledge, decoding, fluency and comprehension skills from Year 1. Progression from decoding to increased fluency and comprehension will come from quality teaching, modelling, practise and application across the programme. 

The Routes to Reading programme incorporates evidenced-based research and practice from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and from the DfE’s Reading Framework.

As we believe teaching every child to read is so important, Miss Gordon is our Reading Champion who drives the early reading programme in our school, in liaison with our Reading Lead Mrs Taylor. Our Reading Champion are highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the FFT Success for all Phonics Programme.

Year 1 Phonics Screening

Children in Year 1 will sit the Phonics Screening Check in June each year. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2. During the Phonics Screening Check, children are asked to read 40 words. Most of these words are real words but some are pseudo-words. Pseudo-words are included to ensure that children are using their decoding skills and not just relying on their memory of words they have read before.

Whole Class Reading

In KS2, children develop their reading skills through a whole class approach. This is taught for 45 minutes daily. These sessions are taught using whole novels and extracts.

The Reading Framework states:

“For pupils who can decode well, effective teaching supports pupils to develop as readers through: 

  • introducing a wide range of literature and non-fiction that they could not or might not choose to read independently
  • explanations, modelling and support from the teacher for different aspects of reading, including fluency
  • allowing pupils to think deeply and discuss a range of rich and challenging texts.”

Our reading lessons are organised to include a combination of:

  1. The teacher reading aloud
  2. Pupils reading
  3. The teacher modelling and explanations
  4. Questioning

For most reading sessions, when the focus is on building understanding and enjoyment, the teacher will read the text aloud, without pupils following the text. This allows pupils to listen, concentrate and think, as well as to hear a model of fluent reading. It also helps to keep a story moving along.

  • The teacher reads the class novel daily and this is studied in reading sessions twice a week by the pupils.
  • The rest of the reading sessions are taught using extracts of text, which the teacher will read first before providing opportunities for the pupils to read.

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure aims to establish each child as a lifetime reader. Studies emphasise the importance of reading for pleasure for both educational as well as personal development. They show that promoting reading can have a major impact on children, their future and their life chances. Reading for pleasure is at the heart of our curriculum and is promoted throughout all subjects. 

At St Wilfrid’s, the teachers and other adults have the important role of fostering a love of reading with the pupils. Teachers regularly read aloud to pupils - Studies show that children who are read to aloud are more likely to do better in school both academically and socially.   Effective reading aloud time is about creating a positive reading experience to engage pupils, so teachers model their enthusiasm for books and reading them. 

Book club is timetabled for every class for 15 minutes a week and is a time for book talk and to recommend books to pupils for class reading and reading at home. During book club, teachers promote books and pupils make recommendations to each other. 

Throughout the year, events are planned to promote reading for pleasure throughout school. These events include World Book Day, local library visits, author visits and our Summer Reading Challenge. 

Our library is stocked with a high range of high-quality texts and resources. Our resident librarian is font of book knowledge and along with her library monitors helps to run and administer the library effectively. It has attractive displays of books and resources which are rotated throughout the year dependent on topics and current affairs. Each class has a timetabled time to visit the library each week to choose books to read at school or enjoy at home. Story time is often held in the library and children have the opportunities to snuggle up with book.  

Reading ambassadors have been selected in each class. These are children who are passionate about reading and want to share their love of reading with others. Reading ambassadors are involved in whole school worship time, sharing book reviews, reading new books and introducing competitions and events.

St Wilfrid’s Reading Spine

“Reading aloud fosters positive attitudes, enhances pupils’ motivation to read, and develops vocabulary and other knowledge, including of books, authors and genres that they might not choose to read for themselves. It also contributes indirectly to their fluency, as they listen to an accomplished reader bring a text to life.” [Reading Framework] 

At St Wilfrid’s we have developed our own Read Aloud reading spine to create a core set of books which create a living library inside a child’s mind. It is a store of classics and essential reads that help children engage at a deeper level and enter the world of the story. Reading time is timetabled carefully and is an integral part of the teaching day in every class. This is recognised as an important tool to enhance language development and the love of stories. 

In EYFS and Year 1 our reading spine consists of our ‘Favourite Five’. These are five carefully chosen picture books and poems per half-term, using Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine and guidance from the Book Trust. We aim to include stories from a range of cultures and stories which celebrate diversity. These stories are frequently read to children so that children can hear them over and over again.  We aim for children to want to return to familiar stories and be able to join in with familiar phrases and rhymes.

In Year 2 – Year 6, the children enjoy a novel each half term. Taking inspiration from Doug Lemov’s ‘Reading Reconsidered’, Pie Corbett's Reading Spine and recommendations from the Book Trust, we have created a Super Six Reading Spine for KS2 which encourages reading of five different key text types which help children to navigate reading with confidence. All children will experience a variety of these texts during their journeys through both Lower and Upper Key Stage 2. Our class readers are updated annually to ensure that they are relevant and engaging for our children.

Reading at Home

All children are expected to read at home every night, either with a parent/carer or individually (see homework policy).

EYFS and Year 1

Children will take home:

  • A phonetically decodable reading book matched to the phonics sounds that they know
  • A library book – chosen by child to share with adult at home

Children will receive a phonetically decodable reading book each week to practise at home the sounds they have learnt in school. They will also take home a Reading for Pleasure book, namely their library book.  A reading for pleasure book, is a book which you can share and enjoy together.

Year 2

Once children have completed the phonics programme they will move onto a colour-banded book. This is based upon whether a child passed their Phonics Screening Check and if they are fluent within their reading. We aim for all children to have completed the SSP by the end of Year 1 but in some cases, we do continue Phonics teaching into Year 2 and beyond.

Most Year 2 children will take home:

  • A colour-banded reading book matched to their book band (PM Benchmarking) – this will include High Frequency Words and vocabulary beyond phonic knowledge
  • A library book – chosen by child to share with adult at home

Colour banded books are given following the PM Benchmarking assessment tool. The colour-banded books are not fully decodable and contain high frequency words and more challenging vocabulary; however, they are loosely matched to the different phonics phases. Children will need to have covered certain phonic/spelling rules e.g. silent letters before they are ready to move on to the next colour. The vocabulary also becomes increasingly difficult as you move through the colour bands. 


Children will take home:

  • A colour-banded reading book matched to their book band (PM Benchmarking) up to the end of Lime Level. After this, children can choose any book from class/school reading library.
  • A library book

In order to foster an enjoyment of books and develop good reading habits it is important that pupils are given opportunity to read for pleasure and enjoyment. This is also an excellent opportunity for pupils to rehearse essential reading skills. Parents are encouraged to question and discuss the content of the book their child is reading, and encourage them to enjoy the text together.

Book Club

Every Friday, we spend 20 minutes taking part in Book Club. Book club is a time to recommend books to pupils for class reading and reading at home. Children have been sharing books they have been reading, as well as finding new books with their class teachers. It has been great to see the children inspired by others, encouraged and engaged in reading and passionate about their reading! 

Book Badge

The Book badge, designed by one of the UK’s best known illustrators, Sir Quentin Blake; who you might know from bringing to life characters such as Roald Dahl's BFG and Matilda! Some of our children have completed their application, sharing their love of reading, to earn their Book Badge. Monroe and Lucy from Year 5/6 have received their Book Badge and would love to share their love of reading with you, to inspire you all to love reading, get stuck into books and share this with others. 

Monroe (Year 5/6)

I completed my application on the book Candy Floss by Jacqueline Wilson. I wrote about the book, what it was about and what I enjoyed about the book. I enjoy reading lots of different authors but I particularly like Jacqueline Wilson as her books are very intriguing and gripping. They are true page-turners! I would highly recommend ‘Lottie Project’ if you haven’t read one of her books as it teaches you about the Victorians, which is an important part of History. After receiving my badge in the post, I felt proud and grateful to Mrs Melody and Mrs Taylor for sharing this opportunity with us. I enjoy Book Club on a Friday because I like talking about the books I have read and I love reading. I hope to inspire others to read like me. 

Lucy S (Year 5/6)

I completed my application on the book Slime by David Walliams. I wrote about what I enjoyed about the book as well as what was my favourite part. I really enjoy reading books by David Walliams as they’re very funny. I would highly recommend ‘Demon Dentist’ if you haven’t read that one, it is really funny. When I received my badge, I felt excited as I never thought someone would read my application, nor receive a badge. I wear my badge with pride and I feel amazed that my love of reading has been acknowledged. 

What is the Blue Peter Book Club?

The Blue Peter Book Club is all about sharing the joy of reading! 💙 Each month we'll talk about a different book from the list below and find out your thoughts on it too! We’ll also have lots of fun activities, quizzes and cool challenges to try.

How do I join?

It's super easy to join the Blue Peter Book Club – there's no secret handshake or special code. Everyone is welcome to be a part of the fun. Just grab a book from our list (or you could even read a choice of your own) and start reading. Taa daah! You're officially a member of the Blue Peter Book Club!🌟 You can share your thoughts with other fans, talk about your favourite books or even send in pictures and selfies!

What books are in the Book Club?

Although you're welcome to read any book you like, to make things easier we've put together a list of six amazing books for you to try! Visit the Blue Peter Book Club using the link on the left to learn more!



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