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St Jude's School and Pre-School

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Reading at St Jude’s Catholic Primary School


At St Jude’s we aim to foster a lifelong love of books and reading recognising the importance of developing the skills of being a fluent, competent and insightful reader. This begins in Reception where, each day, children experience a range of reading activities. These activities include listening to and retelling stories and learning rhymes. The children will also learn how to tell a story from a picture book and recall and recount what has happened in the story. This stage in reading is very important in ensuring that children develop an understanding of the storyline and a story’s structure. This supports their future writing development.


Children in Early Years have a daily phonic lesson using  a combination of Read Write Inc phonics (which is a synthetic approach to teaching phonics) and Jolly Phonics actions.  During these lessons, children will learn how to recognise both the name and the sound of individual letters (a phoneme), sounds made by two letters (digraphs i.e. th, sh , ch) and sounds made by three letters (trigraphs i.e str ). The children also learn to identify what a letter or group of letters looks like (grapheme).

Once a child is confident at using their phonics they will begin to bring home phonetically decodable books, along with individual words to learn that cannot be sounded out, for example “the” and “who” which are known as key words or common exception words. Once they are confident with these books they will move onto books which will require them to use their phonic knowledge and their key word knowledge. A Parents’ Phonic Workshop is held in the autumn term for both Reception and Year 1 parents.

We do not use one specific reading scheme in our school, preferring to choose books from a range of different schemes in order to ensure there is something for every child’s interest.

From the beginning of Reception children have access to the school library and will bring home a school library book to share with their parents at least once a fortnight.


Children in year 1 continue to have daily phonics lessons using Read Write Inc, which become gradually more complex and challenging . Children will also begin to bring home spellings to practice which are from the phonic families and key words they are learning about.  

In Year 1 children will begin Guided Reading sessions where they are heard to read in a small group with similar reading ability. During these sessions, children will share the same text, and, as well as reading the text, will also learn about inference and different aspects of grammar and spelling. The book chosen for this session will be at a slightly more challenging level than they would have for their independent reading. Children will also continue to be heard to read individually, either daily or 2/3 times a week dependent on their progress and home support.


Guided reading continues in Year 2 and as the children develop their decoding skills with an increased emphasis on comprehension skills. Children will also continue to be heard to read individually either daily or 2/3 times a week dependent on their progress and home support. As the year progresses, children take increasing responsibility in recording their reading in their reading journals. There is still an emphasis on phonics in Year 2, the children begin to learn complex spelling patterns and rules and will have weekly spellings to learn which will help with both their reading and writing. Children who did not pass their phonics test in Year 1 will continue to have extra phonic sessions and will be re-tested in the summer of Year 2.


In Key Stage 2 reading is taught both within the main literacy lesson (Shared Reading) as part of our Book Led themes and in further small-group Guided Reading time. Children may be heard to read daily or several times a week, individually, if it is felt that they are not in-line with Age Related Expectations (ARE). Teaching assistants are trained to deliver a number of appropriate and effective reading interventions and catch up programmes such as: Paired Reading, Rapid Reading and Better Reading Project which can support children who are struggling to develop appropriate reading skills.

There is an expectation that all children read at least three times a week at home with an adult in years 3 & 4, and, in order to develop the reading stamina of children in years 5 & 6, the expectation is that they read an age appropriate book every night for 30 mins . Teachers check the children’s Reading Records to ensure this is happening, as we know that regular reading of a wide range of books supports children’s writing and other areas of the curriculum.



As children move through their reading journey they are constantly assessed to ensure that they progress to the next book and band level at the right time. At St Jude’s we use a scheme called “PM Benchmarking” to do this, which assesses a child’s ability to read and understand both fiction and non-fiction. It might be that some children require extra support with reading and this is given during the school day. In Key Stage 1 we have Teaching Assistants who are trained to deliver specific programmes such as Fischer Family Trust (FFT) Reading Intervention which is a 12-week programme that supports children catching up with their peers.

As stated in St Jude’s Home Agreement, we expect parents to support their children at home by listening to them read regularly. We encourage this through our reading certificates and reading challenge. These are very popular with the children and are well supported by most parents.

Each Child has a Reading Record which is used to record books that children have read and how well they have managed. Parents are encouraged to note any strengths or areas of concern.


In addition to our own continuous assessments of a child’s progress in reading, we are also required to complete more formal, statutory assessments. The first of these happen in Early Years when a child’s progress is measured against Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) expectations. In June of Year 1 the statutory Phonics Assessment test takes place. In Year 2 and in Year 6 children take part in end of Key Stage Assessments(SATs), one of which is in reading and this helps to identify if the child is in line with, beyond or below Age Related Expectation for a child of similar age.


The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading: transcription (spelling and handwriting) composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing). It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition (NC 2014)

In KS1, the children write using a range of genres – fiction and non-fiction – that most effectively support their writing development.

In KS2, we ensure that the children are continually exposed to a greater range of high quality texts to inspire their writing. They are given opportunities to write using a range of genres in order to demonstrate their growing understanding of purpose, audience and voice.