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To develop in our pupils a love and curiosity for the written and spoken word so that they will become discerning in their own language choices and interpretation of texts, fitting them well for their future studies and preparing them to be confident and eloquent entrants to an increasingly more competitive employment market.

Essential characteristics of Readers:

  • Excellent phonic knowledge and
  • Fluency and accuracy in reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the
  • Knowledge of an extensive and rich
  • An excellent comprehension of
  • The motivation to read for both study and for pleasure
  • Extensive knowledge through having read a rich and varied range of texts.

Our Approach:

At St. Mary’s we aim to build a culture of reading and to create lifelong readers. We do this through modelling, environment, exposure and the positive profiling of authors/books. We expect all our staff to promote the positive benefits of reading throughout the curriculum and wider school life.

As a school, we follow TWINKL PHONICS which is introduced from Level 1 in Nursery, then carried through to the end of Key Stage 1. This programme follows the systematic approach to phonics. We have complete fidelity to the scheme, using their resources including: PowerPoints, Mnemonics, Songs and Rhino Readers (home reading books).

As soon as we can, when children have a sufficient reading ability, the Whole Class approach to Reading Skills is adopted. We use the VIPERS approach to the teaching of reading. This whole class approach is used; based on high quality texts, high level questioning and focused skill lessons. 

Whole-class reading is not a substitute for teaching children how to decode fluently. The only way that it can be meaningful for children who cannot decode is in addition to fluency sessions, not instead of. We listen to every single child read, every week regardless of their ability. This will build their decoding, fluency and intonation skills. Good reading is modelled daily by an adult in the class during shared class read.

Key Features of Reading at St. Mary's:

  • The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage Phonics is taught daily (45 mintues) to all children in Foundation Stage, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who need it.
  • Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent.
  • We plan timely interventions for those children who are working below expected levels as soon as needs are identified. 
  • The school ensures all texts are accurately matched to pupil ability (see our Fiction overview for the high quality texts in each year). These texts are based on various reading spines to give a sufficient challenge as our pupils move through the Where possible links are made to learning across the curriculum to build/secure their knowledge.
  • Our home reader books are carefully banded and matched to the phonic phases. All are phonetically decodable. In EYFS and KS1, the children take home Rhino Readers, that are accurately matched to their reading ability and are fully decodable.
  • All classrooms have their own class reading corners with age related books divided into fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The purpose is to promote reading and the class author and it is intended that these corners are further enhanced throughout the
  • Progression is established through the use of sequential learning steps: based on an increase in questioning and stem response expectations as well as an increase in text type ability.
  • Any children not making the expected progress have 1:1 or small group intervention using bespoke packages (e.g. Twinkl Codebreakers).
  • The school has a dedicated library where children can enjoy reading in a calm environment, share recommended reads and take home additional books to share. 
  • Every class has a timetabled slot for the teachers to read a book. This is called Shared Class Read. No questions, just the enjoyment of listening to an adult read. These texts have been carefully mapped out. 
  • Each class has a Reading for pleasure session. Children bring in books from home and share them with the class, recommend them to friends and have an opportunity to listen to each other. 
  • Each week, a child from each class is awarded the 'Reading Rockstar' award. They get to take a special bag home with a treat, another new book and a reading journal to record their reading adventures. 
  • The school has a strong link with the local Wednesbury Library where additional books can be loaned at request and trips, competitions and more are organised. 


See our Phonics Page for more information about Twinkl Phonics and our approach. 

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