Raising aspirations so every child can spread their wings and fly!


Reading at St Mark’s

Questions for Reading at Home

Tips for Home Reading & Phonics

Tricky Word List

'Robot Arms' demonstrated

by a Reception pupil

At St Mark’s we want all children to read with enjoyment, confidence and fluency. In order to do this we ensure that pupils:

  • have access to high quality texts from stories, to non fiction and poetry
  • have opportunities to listen to others reading to them
  • learn to read using systematic synthetic phonics from the very start of Reception


Every child at St Mark’s school takes part in daily phonics lessons from Reception up to Year 2. In these lessons pupils are taught about the sounds that make up words and the letters we use to represent these sounds. Pupils are taught to segment and blend. Segmenting a word is when you break the word down so cat becomes c-a-t. We also call this sounding out. 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. Watch the video below to see ‘robot arms’ in action.

Key Words
There are some words which are tricky to sound out. We call these Tricky Words or Key Words. We practice recognising these as whole words. Your child may bring tricky words home to learn. A list of tricky words is also available on this page.

Reading Books
Each child at St Mark’s school has a reading book which they take home. Reading this book with your child each night is a great way to help them practice their letters and sounds as well as helping them to understanding the meaning of a text. Every book your chid 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. 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. Please see the guidance on questions you can ask at home which is available on this page.

Reading Schemes
At St Mark’s CE Primary school pupils have access to lots of quality and enjoyable picture books including stories, non fiction, ebooks and poetry. In addition to this, pupils also have access to a number of books from the following reading schemes:

Guided Reading: Collins Big Cat Readers
KS1 Home Readers: Oxford Reading Tree Phonics, Oxford Reading Tree Traditional Tales, New Way and Oxford Literacy Web
KS2 Home Readers: Tree Tops, Oxford Literacy Web, Cambridge Reading, All Aboard, Nelson and Penguin


Repetition is a great way for children to engage with and enjoy books. Re-reading favourite stories, poems and rhymes really helps pupils to understand and enjoy patterns of language.

Guided Reading


In Reception and KS1, children access guided reading 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.


In KS2, each child has a guided reading session at least once a week. This is where an adult teaches your child, within a small group, about specific reading skills. This may be how to read for meaning and answer questions based on the text. Throughout KS2, the APE model is used: Answer/Prove/Explain. These sessions help your child to apply their reading skills and develop their comprehension skills. Also within the KS2 guided reading cycle, children will have the opportunity to:

  • KS2-Pre-Read-Reading an extract prior to analysing with the teacher. Children will look for any words they may not understand or words/phrases that they like.
  • Comprehension task-Within this activity, children will use their retrieval and inference skills to show that they have an understanding of the text.
  • Personal Choice Reading-Children will have the opportunity to read for pleasure a book of their choice

Shared Reading
Pupils take part in shared reading on a daily basis. This is where large 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.

Library Timetable
In Reception and KS1 pupils can come with an adult to borrow books from our library. Library opening times are: Monday – Wednesday from 8:45am. In KS2 each class has its own library shelf. Pupils can borrow a book from school if they ask an adult in the classroom.
Wigan Library also has a fantastic range of books for children and families to enjoy for free. For more details contact Wigan Library on: 01942 827621

Click below to see what your child will be learning about in reading this year:

Year 1 Year 2
Year 3 Year 4
Year 5 Year 6