St Mark's CE Primary School


What does Reading look like at St Mark’s CE Primary School?

At St Mark’s we want all children to foster a lifelong love of reading and become enthusiastic, confident and fluent readers. Therefore, reading is at the heart of everything we do. We aim to provide both a rich reading environment and curriculum, exposing children to high quality texts across all curriculum areas. We want our children to read for enjoyment and also be able to use books confidently and accurately in order to find out about the world and develop a deeper understanding. We encourage children to develop an interest in words and their meanings, in turn providing them with the word power needed to be successful speakers and writers, so that they may function in society as literate readers for life.

The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage

The Programmes of Study for Reading at Key Stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)

Pedagogy for teaching of reading

In order for children to embed their learning and use it in context time and time again, it is vital that this learning is deep and profound. This will enable children to become more intuitive and creative in their writing and ultimately in all other aspects of the curriculum. Children need to be taught reading strategies and then have time to practise these skills in relation to books aimed at their level and ability. Children need access to a diverse range of books, including different genres, themes and target audiences. We strive to ensure this is provided for our children through a rich reading diet.

Learning to read at school and at home

At St Mark’s, children learn to read using systematic synthetic phonics. Every child takes part in daily phonics lessons from Pre-School up to Year 2 following the ‘Little Wandle Letters and Sounds’ programme of work. In these lessons, pupils are taught about the sounds (phoneme) that make up words and the letters (grapheme) we use to represent these sounds. Pupils are taught to segment and blend. Segmenting a word is when you break the word down into sounds, so cat becomes c-a-t. We also call this sounding out or decoding. Blending is when we put a word back together so c-a-t becomes cat. In school we use ‘robot arms’ to help us segment and blend. Take a look at this website for more information around phonics and some great resources to use at home. .  Children who are not secure in phonics when they leave Year 2 access phonics sessions as interventions.  This happens in all year groups in KS2, according to the needs of the children.

Every child at St Mark’s has a reading book linked to their phonic/reading level which they take home. Reading this book with your child regularly is a great way to help them practice their letters and sounds as well as helping them in understanding the meaning of a text. Every book your child reads will have opportunities for them to practice segmenting and blending, recognising tricky words as well as having some sort of meaning attached to the words. As your child’s ability to segment and blend develops, they are presented with a wider range of reading books suited to their level of reading and understanding. By asking your child questions about the book they are reading you can really help to develop their understanding of comprehension as well as extending their vocabulary.  The Wings have developed workshops and training videos to support families reading at home.


Reading opportunities across the key stages

Shared Reading- Pupils take part in shared reading on a daily basis. This is where groups of children read a text with an adult. Reading may be modelled to the children or the children may read the text together. It is another opportunity for pupils to apply their phonic and comprehension skills. Throughout the year, each phase will share at least six class reader texts which include at least one Shakespeare text and also a picture book. English lessons are linked to the class reader for that half term.  


Reading Practice


In Reception and KS1, children access reading practice three times a week. Each day an adult works alongside a small group to teach/model a range of reading skills at their phonic/reading ability: 

Day One-Decoding-blending and segmenting/New Vocabulary/Spelling patterns 

Day Two-Prosody-Focusing on intonation and punctuation 

Day Three-Comprehension-use understanding, retrieval and inference skills. 




Reading Practice expectations KS2.pdf


Library Timetable 

Atherton St George's are fortunate to have a well-stocked school library with a wide range of books, including fiction, poetry and non-fiction. The library is also available for children to work in when undertaking reading tasks and activities. Each class has a 20 minute weekly library slot built in to their timetable.  Children will either listen to a story read aloud by the teacher or will be given time to access and read for pleasure a book of their choice. Within each class, a reading area is also available where children can go to and enjoy reading and sharing their books with each other.

Reading for Pleasure

Story time- This happens in every class daily. It is a treasured time of day where children can sit back and listen to the teacher read. This may be a book the class has chosen, one the teacher recommends, or may be a continuation of the class reader.

Reading spaces- Each classroom has a dedicated reading area, where children can choose from a selection of high quality texts.  The reading areas are attractive and inviting for children and all children are encouraged to use them throughout the week.

Reading events- Throughout the year reading events take place in school, for example ‘Drop Everything and Read, World Book Day, book sales, author visits (in person or virtually), visits to the local library and online story times.  The events help to foster a love of reading and allow us to make links with the community.