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St John's C of E Primary School

"Sharing joy and hope in the community."



At St John’s, our vision is for every child to develop a love of literature in all its forms. Through reading inspiring and informative texts, each child learns how to write in a given style, communicating information, expressing emotion and delighting in the development of their own reading and writing. Every child should be prepared for the next phase of their life by being inspired by their teachers and being ‘armed’ with a range of literacy skills and the willingness to explore their imaginations through words.



At St John’s, we believe that the teaching of reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them; a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves.

Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading and allows our teachers the freedom to devise programmes of study, which are accessible to all and maximise the development of every child’s ability and academic achievement. 

This curriculum is delivered through the synthetic phonics scheme (Essential Letters and Sounds), a linked approach to shared and guided reading, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. All of these are essential components as they offer the range of opportunities needed to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers. A range of fiction and non-fiction genres are covered in each year group to allow the children to develop a wide vocabulary and knowledge of text features.

It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Furthermore, we know that reading for pleasure is beneficial not only for reading outcomes, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. Thus, we work hard to foster a love of independent reading and build communities of engaged readers.

We understand the significance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, so we endeavour to build a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to have the confidence to support their children with reading at home.

Reading is at the very heart of our curriculum. We are committed to promoting a love for reading and not only giving children opportunities to read in English lessons, but in the wider curriculum too.



Learning to read is one of the most important things a child will ever learn. It underpins everything else, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We also want your child to develop a real love of reading and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.


  • We start by teaching phonics in the Foundation Stage and Key stage 1. We follow Essential Letters and Sounds.
  • Phonics is taught to the whole class with specific time for intervention inclusive within the lesson.
  • Phonics provision is also supplemented by a wide range of speaking and listening, English, spelling and grammar activities.
  • Teachers regularly read with the children so the children get to know and love a range of stories, poetry and information books.
  • Classrooms have attractive book corners, displays or mini libraries where the children can access a wide range of books, fiction and non-fiction, to help embed their love of books, stories and reading.
  • Guided reading: In Year 1 this starts with group work around a feature ELS text working towards (in the summer term) the Year 2 model of using the Literacy Tree’s ‘Literacy Leaves’ guided reading planning. Teachers share a text, work with small groups and set independent tasks based on the passages read. This model continues through the year groups up to Year 6.


  • The Literacy Leaves tasks tackle comprehension, vocabulary extension, comparison, summarisation and expressing opinions about a text through using

evidence – all skills detailed in the National Curriculum (2014). These resources also enable teachers to use whole books as a focus rather than extracts, which helps children to develop inter-textual links.

  • In class English lessons, the Literacy Tree scheme provides a wealth of stimulating texts from diverse times and cultures. These are used to teach reading skills whole-class and also to aid linked writing.
  • Feature Days eg World Book Day, author visits, performance poetry slams etc, foster interest in reading, writing and performing.
  • The weekly Reading Champions competition motivates individuals and groups throughout the school.
  • Reading competitions are set at Christmas and for the summer holidays through the library service.
  • PDMs provide opportunities to share good practice, monitor the teaching of reading and to share information, including that from the Somerset Literacy Network. Ongoing support and training is given to staff members lacking experience in specific areas.





Children become avid readers and delight in their improving skills. They are fluent, expressive and accurate in reading aloud. They have good comprehension skills and rapidly acquire new vocabulary. They can apply their reading skills in a number of contexts.


The impact of our Reading Curriculum is measured in the following ways:


  • Children’s progress in phonics is continually reviewed through periodic phonic assessments and tracked using the Essential Letters and Sounds online assessment tool. 
  • Through these, teachers identify which specific intervention is needed.
  • In June, for Year 1, the national Phonics Screening Check is undertaken to confirm that the children have learned to decode to an age appropriate standard and determines what level of provision they will require the following year.
  • Year 2 and Year 6 take SATs in May, giving indications of school performance against national measures.
  • The Rising Stars PIRA assessment tool is used from Year 1 (summer term) to Year 6 to identify any gaps Teachers then use the information to feed back into their planning.
  • Pupil Progress meetings are held to analyse data and plan interventions.
  • Pupil Interviews are held so that pupil voice has a place.



Most importantly – children leave St John’s with a lifelong love of reading and the ability to interpret a range of texts and explain their preferences for certain authors and genres.