Reading at St. Joseph’s


Through our English curriculum, we strive to teach the children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world. By providing an enriched and engaging English curriculum, we develop confident and enthusiastic learners who are equipped with the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society both now and in their future. Reading is at the heart of all our English lessons. By reading widely and often and through choosing quality texts, we want children to develop a lifelong love of reading and allow children to recognise the pleasure they can get from their reading, as well as an understanding that reading allows them to discover new knowledge, revisit prior knowledge and understand more about what they learn, fuelling their imagination for ideas to use in their own work.



The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One.  Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics are displayed in classrooms and this further enhances the rich literacy environment for early readers. Intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels and children who do not meet the threshold in Y1 in the phonics screening check receive extra daily phonics. Read Write Inc. is a literacy programme designed and developed by Ruth Miskin, one of the country’s leading authorities on teaching children to read. The programme aims to create fluent readers and confident speakers.

At the start of the new academic year, each child in Reception and Key Stage 1 is assessed on their letter recognition and reading within the first few weeks. After the assessment; any gaps in phonic knowledge, comprehension, or reading fluency will be used to assign each child to their own small, exclusive group for regular sessions with a trained member of staff using Read Write Inc. methods. These groups are organised according to the children’s specific needs, and the specific sounds, letters and comprehension skills needed are taught in a secure and engaging way.

The Read Write Inc sessions one hour minutes and includes a variety of activities delivered with pace and rigour. Children have the opportunity to learn sounds which are reinforced during the session with reading activities and spelling games – learning is put into practise.


As children progress through the levels, they are regularly assessed to ensure they are placed in groups most appropriate for them. If a child is found to be struggling, they are given timely interventions to help fill the gaps. Alternatively, children may also be ‘fast-tracked’ to a more able group when their progress warrants this.

Five key principles underpin the teaching in all Read Write Inc. sessions:

1)   Participation – As they are in small groups, children participate fully in every session. They are able to maintain high levels of concentration and they do not miss key elements of the teaching.

2)   Praise – Children work together as partners. They take turns to teach and praise each other. They are motivated by praise from their teachers and teaching assistants.

3)   Pace – Sessions are fast paced and lively. This keeps every child fully engaged and on task.

4)   Purpose – All staff have been trained in Read Write Inc. methods. They know the purpose of each activity, and how it leads into the next.

5)   Passion – Staff too, become passionate about their teaching as they see the children enjoying the progress they are making


Reading  Book Progression in Key Stage 2:

School uses a variety of different reading schemes to provide a wide variety of appropriate quality texts for children to read, covering all genres. The schemes incorporated into our reading provision include: Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat and Bug Club. All books are levelled (initially by phonic stage) in order to ensure progression and challenge for all children.This is currently under review .

Reading across school:

Reading forms the core of our English curriculum. In order to expose children to a variety of genres, books are purposefully selected by teachers in order to promote a love of reading, engagement and high quality writing from each child. Where possible, books are chosen with cross-curricular links to give learning more purpose and to make it more memorable. Our chosen books are then used within a learning journey, exposing our pupils to inference, high-level vocabulary, a range of punctuation and grammatical concepts and characterisation. In Foundation Stage, the curriculum is planned around novels and continuous provision is enhanced using the chosen books.

Children take part in whole class reading sessions. Since September 2020, these sessions are planned by teachers using ‘Vipers’ for comprehension. This is embedded throughout school. This approach teaches the skills of Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, Sequencing (KS1) and Summarising (KS2).

Progression throughout school

EYFS Year 1 and Year 2

We follow the RW Inc Phonics scheme to teach synthetic phonics in Early Years and Key Stage 1.  When children enter Reception, they quickly learn the letters (codes) that represent the first set of sounds. Children learn to blend these sounds to read simple words and as soon as they are confident, children apply their blending skills to read books independently.Children have reading for pleasure sessions where they take a school library book home.


Key Stage 2

In Year 3, pupils are exposed to more genres and ranges of text styles. They are then encouraged to read books that link to the genre. Similar text styles are also used in comprehension sessions to encourage the children to gain a better understanding of the features. We encourage a resilient approach to reading and inspire children to never give up. Again, teachers also teach comprehension skills through “VIPERS” question stems. Adults within the classroom ensure books are matched specifically to meet the needs of each individual pupil within the class. Cracking Comprehension is used in addition to VIPERS for those children who need intervention. We use the interactive programme ‘Reading Plus’ from Y3 onwards to develop reading stamina and comprehension.

Reading for Pleasure:

At St. Joseph’s, we strive to foster a love of reading both in school and at home. To ensure that all children have access to a range of books, all classrooms have a reading area where children can choose books that interest them and they are regularly given opportunities to read these books within the school day. Children also have access to the library which they are given the chance to visit fortnightly to choose a book to read for pleasure. Children also are able to listen to the class teacher reading a shared class book. This provides a quality model for reading and time for children to enjoy being read to.


We have librarians who run lunch time sessions in the school library and at certain times of the year in the Reading Barn

Classroom Reading Areas

Each classroom has a reading area, where books are at an age appropriate level of challenge and interest. Book corners have books that reflect the interest of the class.

The Reading Barn (before and after)

Wider experiences:

Reading is not only celebrated during lessons at St. Joseph’s. Throughout the school year, the importance of reading is enhanced through World Book Day, author visits, parent reading workshops and BKCAT Book Awards for our reading ambassadors, which St Josephs is leading on across the academy trust. We also aim to regularly utilise the local library through visits to borrow books throughout the year.

All of these opportunities assist in enriching and complimenting the children’s learning.


Children will have a love of reading.

  • Pupils enjoy reading regularly for information and for pleasure.
  • Pupils discuss books with excitement and interest.
  • Pupils have a good understanding of a range of genres.
  • All pupils learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and make progress.
  • The percentage of pupils working at ARE by the end of each Key Stage will be at least in line with national averages.
  • There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged).
  • Children will use their Reading skills as a key tool in helping them to learn, and as a result, know more, remember more and understand more.
  • Pupils will have a wide vocabulary that they use within their writing.
  • Children are confident in taking risks within their reading, challenging themselves to try something different.
  • Children are equipped with the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society both now and in their future.




Classroom Reading Areas

The Reading Barn (before and after)

Our love of reading is further celebrated online. For World Book Day 2021, we created The Story Corner, a collection of our favourite children’s stories read aloud and recorded by staff members from across school.

We have also created The Virtual Library, a selection of stories which children can access from anywhere.