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It is our intention that all children will be fluent and confident readers who choose to read for pleasure.  A love of books and an enthusiasm for reading are precious and important at St. Mary’s.  Staff understand that there is a correlation between children who read for pleasure and life success (socio-economic background should not be a barrier).  Phonics is emphasised in the early stages of reading as staff are aware of the importance of being able to decode with automaticity. 



Secure Phonics knowledge should also go hand in hand with effective modelling of comprehension skills.  Children at St. Mary’s are exposed to a variety of genre through shared reading and whole class reading during English lessons and reading across the curriculum. 

We use the acronym VIPERS to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum.   


With the help of the PTA and a tremendous effort from the whole school community we recently bought a London bus and transformed it into our school library.  Each class is now able to visit the bus once a week and borrow a book from our extensive range.



  • To develop happy, healthy and curious learners who read confidently and independently
  • To begin to develop lifelong enjoyment and pleasure in reading
  • To enable children to access all areas of the curriculum
  • To enable children to access, understand and begin to manage information
  • To begin to understand the meaning of what is read to them and what they read
  • To begin to respond to what they read; to say whether they like or don’t like it and why
  • To begin to understand and respond to the feelings that words can arouse in us like happiness, sadness, anger
  • To begin to understand that this experience allows us to make connections with other people
  • To walk through doors to the past, to the future, and to other worlds both real and imagined

As a community of readers, we expect all teaching staff to model and communicate their love of reading. Here are some of the ways that we do this:

  • Teachers reading to their class (our aim is for 10 minutes every day)
  • Reading with individual children
  • Talking about and reviewing books with children
  • Whole school events to promote reading e.g. Book Week, Masked Reader, Bedtime Stories and CLiPPA Awards



At St. Mary's a love of books and the development of lifelong readers who choose to read for pleasure is at the heart of what we do.  Synthetic phonics teaching opportunities are embedded within the context of real books in StoryTime Phonics

From LEYs until the end of Year Two children have a daily phonics lesson.  In Nursery children are taught Phase One, teaching our youngest children important basic elements such as oral segmenting and blending of familiar words.  During lessons in EYs and KS1 previous phonemes are revised, new phonemes are introduced and then children apply their new learning.  Common exception words are also explicitly taught. Those children who still need support with reading or children who are new to the school/language also have ‘Phonics Booster’ classes.

Children have a range of opportunities to develop their phonics skills in class throughout the curriculum.  Speaking, listening, reading and writing activities are developed which allow them to explore and practice their phonic knowledge  and their blending and segmenting skills independently.

Please click here for a copy of our Reading and Phonics Policy

Please click here for a copy of the DFE's Letters and Sounds guidance

Click here for free Letters and Sounds resources

Click here for Mr T's Phonics You Tube videos to help you practice your phonics at home!









At St. Mary's we use Focus Education schemes.  Each scheme is based on the use of high-quality text which provides the driver for the unit.  Across each year group, texts from classic to current authors have been selected to ensure that pupils experience a wide and rich reading curriculum to promote a life-long love of reading.  Similarly, a range of poetry is fully integrated.

Each unit is broadly 6 weeks with flexibility built in to extend, adapt activities or introduce alternative activities based on rigorous on-going assessment.  Outcomes and objectives are clearly identified, and activities planned to ensure that they are based on the year group learning.  Grammar and vocabulary work is taught purposefully, in context, so children achieve a greater understanding. 

Along with the focus on grammar and vocabulary development to ensure effective and accurate writing, the high-quality texts provide models and scaffolds so that children are enabled to make independent choices about how they write and the effect they wish to create. Pupils are given time to write, evaluate, redraft and proof-read their extended pieces of writing using given prompts appropriate to their needs. This is often done alongside teacher and peer support.


Useful Links for Parents

Click here for the Primary English National Curriculum