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What do we want to achieve?

Rationale: The importance of reading


At St Luke’s, reading is recognised as fundamental to the children’s learning and therefore is an essential and integral part of all areas of the curriculum. We understand that children will not be 'highly engaged' if they struggle to read, therefore the teaching of reading is one of our top priorities with a heavy emphasis on the teaching of phonics.


Reading is at the heart of our curriculum as we understand the importance of talk and stories, and the critical links between these, especially the role stories play in developing young children’s vocabulary and language.




We aim for all of our pupils to leave St Luke's as independent, enthusiastic and knowledgeable readers, inspired by our reading and wider curriculum. It is our mission to make sure that every child in our school becomes a fluent reader.


We have invested and continue to invest in an abundance of new and exciting texts throughout our curriculum with the aim of inspiring our pupils to not only learn how to read, but also ignite a desire in them to want to read.


Our reading curriculum is underpinned by the national curriculum programmes of study for reading and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework. It has been carefully designed to meet the needs of our children and ensure that pupils:


  • Learn to decode and read fluently with the right level of accuracy, speed and intonation.
  • Develop a broad, rich bank of vocabulary and a love of language.
  • Be exposed to a wide range of text types and genres and understand their purpose.
  • Develop comprehension skills in order to understand and articulate reading matter.
  • Use the reading materials throughout the curriculum to improve knowledge and understanding of the world and develop an interest in topics.
  • Develop a love of reading and a desire to explore the wonders of books.
  • Have the ability to participate in discussions about books and share opinions.
  • Develop a broad knowledge of books and authors and develop preferences.


What does reading look like at St Luke’s?




At St Luke’s, we teach phonics through a systematic synthetic phonics programme called 'Essential Letters and Sounds'. This is a DFE validated scheme of work that teaches specific, relevant and ambitious vocabulary. The programme starts in our Nursery and continues into Reception and Key Stage One. Children may also access phonics teaching in Key Stage Two if they require further support.


For more detail, please explore the ‘Phonics’ page on our website or look at the Reading Policy below.


Reading fluency:


Our aim is for all of our pupils to become fluent readers, reading with accuracy and at an appropriate speed to ensure enjoyment and a good level of comprehension. Teachers model correct reading fluency daily through guided reading sessions, story time and through plenty of other reading opportunities across the wider curriculum. Teachers use techniques such as ‘Echo reading’ and Choral reading’ to model good fluency and enable children to practise themselves. If children are struggling to read fluently, teachers identify this and implement the appropriate support. This is detailed within the policy below.


Reading comprehension:


Guided reading sessions begin in our EYFS where carefully selected decodable books are used to teach early comprehension and decoding skills to children in small groups. Within these sessions, teachers model fluency and engage children in discussions about the text to improve their understanding and language comprehension. Children also have the opportunity to share what they liked or disliked about the text and start to make links between other stories that they have read.


When children move into Key Stage One, they continue to access small group guided reading sessions to support their decoding skills and reading fluency. Additionally, they participate in whole class reading sessions three times a week where the teacher uses an extract to teach a wider range of comprehension skills:


  • Sequencing
  • Retrieving
  • Defining
  • Predicting
  • Inferring


An age appropriate text is selected, often from our ‘Complete Comprehension’ scheme, for these sessions each week to improve vocabulary and comprehension. Teachers expose pupils to a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry ranging across different topics, genres and authors. The week follows a structure to maximise children’s understanding:


Day 1: Prediction / Background knowledge / Vocabulary

Day 2: Reading the text and teaching of a specific reading skill

Day 3: Children complete comprehension activity independently


Children in Key Stage Two access whole class reading sessions five days a week. Teachers select an extract to use over the week with a particular focus on a key reading skill:


  • Sequencing/Summarising
  • Retrieving
  • Defining
  • Predicting
  • Inferring
  • Comparing
  • Relating
  • Exploring


Teachers expose pupils to a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry ranging across different topics, genres and authors. The texts, often selected from our ‘Complete Comprehension’ scheme, are age appropriate and aim to improve vocabulary and comprehension. The week follows a structure to maximise children’s understanding:


Day 1: Prediction / Background knowledge

Day 2: Teaching of new vocabulary and reading the text

Day 3: Teaching of specific reading skill

Day 4: Children complete comprehension activity independently (specific reading skill)

Day 5: Children complete comprehension activity independently (mixed reading skills)


The reading long term plans for each year group are below as well as a document which details the progression of reading skills at St Luke’s:

Reading intervention:


At St Luke’s, we understand that children learn at different rates and that there are many factors that can become barriers to learning. We identify any pupils that may be struggling when it comes to learning to read early on and put in place the appropriate support in order to help them ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’.


Within the Essential Letters and Sounds phonics scheme, children can access either immediate intervention within the lesson, or one of the three ELS interventions that are delivered on a one-to-one, or small group basis:


  • Oral blending
  • GPC recognition
  • Blending for reading


Children may also access one-to-one reading sessions with an adult either daily or three times a week. These sessions are to support decoding and fluency, and where necessary comprehension.


Additionally, weekly pre-read sessions take place for pupils who need further support building their understanding of vocabulary in order to support their comprehension within whole class reading lessons.


Reading for Pleasure:


Reading is prioritised within every aspect of school life and at the heart of our curriculum from Nursery right through to Year 6. We have invested in lots of new texts across the curriculum to build a love of reading and exposure to different genres, text-types and authors. Our writing and reading long term plans consist of core texts that inspire writing, but also excite our pupils.


Within EYFS and Key Stage One, story time is timetabled daily and children often vote for the story they wish to read that day. In addition to this, they have opportunities across the week to sing and listen to poetry to develop their understanding of rhyme and rhythm to help with early reading. Pupils in Key Stage Two access a range of reading material each day and also have the opportunity to read for pleasure during transition times during the day. They can select books from their class library, or from the school’s Accelerated Reader Library.


In EYFS, books are positioned across all areas of continual provision for pupils to access during the day. Throughout the rest of school, books are displayed proudly in classrooms and have been carefully selected to represent our community and reflect the diversity of our school. Reading displays, inside and outside, promote new books and old time favourites.


Children have the option to take books home to read weekly either independently or with family or friends. Where children are learning phonics, they take home decodable books matched to their phonics knowledge and a book to read for pleasure. All children are able to take books home from either the class or school library to enjoy at home. (Please see Homework section of the website for details of when children can swap their books.)


We are also so lucky to have a lovely team of Reading buddies from Year 5 who read with our Key Stage One pupils each day during lunch time, sharing stories and discussing favourite books.


This year, we are working towards achieving the One Education Reading Award! There has been lots going on to celebrate our love of reading such as author visits, competitions and Governor story drop-ins. Children have also been participating in national events such as ‘The Readathon’, ‘National Storytelling Week’ and ‘World Book Day’.


See the Reading Policy below for more details on how we celebrate Reading at St Luke's.

Have a look on Twitter at the fantastic reading going on at St Luke's: #Stlukesburyreading

Assessment in Reading


Phonics progress is assessed using diagnostic assessments once a term, which informs teachers of any gaps or misconceptions in pupils learning. Teachers also assess pupils daily through formative assessment in order to support individual needs.


At the end of Year 1, pupils will take the phonics screening check. Its purpose is to assess whether children can read accurately a selection of words that include common GPCs: the first step in learning to read. It does not aim to assess reading comprehension or whether a child can read familiar words speedily or decode unfamiliar ones easily. The children who do not meet the expected standard are screened again in year 2.


Reading comprehension is assessed through summative tests at the end of each term within Key Stage One and Two. Additionally, children in Key Stage Two take a ‘Star Reader’ assessment to gain a ZPD code to match them appropriately to books within our Accelerated Reader Library. YORK assessments are also used to identify what support may be needed for any pupils struggling with reading in Key Stage Two.


St Luke's Reading Policy


Our Reading Policy below details how Phonics and Reading are taught at St Luke's and explains how pupils improve their reading skills within the Phonics scheme. There is also further information on assessment for reading, how we encourage home reading opportunities, further details of interventions for extra support and how we promote Reading for Pleasure.




How have we adapted learning following a pandemic?


Throughout this turbulent year, Reading and Phonics have still been top priorities at St Luke's.


During school closures:


  • In EYFS, phonics videos were provided for parents to access at home with their children including a bank of resources to help practise decoding.
  • In Key Stage One, the class teacher delivered daily, live, online phonics lessons. Children continued to learn new phonemes and practised reading and writing during the sessions.
  • In Key Stage One and Two, reading was taught daily following our guided reading sequence and extracts were shared remotely for children to read and discuss during live lessons. 


We recognised it was sometimes difficult for children to read for pleasure at home as they did not have the same access to a range of books. We provided lots of free resources for children to access at home to enjoy, such as free audio books, story times with authors and a portal where children could leave reviews and comments about books.


2021 - 2022


Within Reception and Key Stage One, pupils have undergone phonics diagnostic assessments each term this year to inform teachers of any gaps and misconceptions in their phonics knowledge. In order to address this, the Essential Letters and Sounds long term plans are adapted for each year group to ensure missed learning is prioritised (please see phonics section of our website for more details.)


Where necessary, the long term plans above for teaching reading comprehension skills are also adjusted depending on the needs of the class following assessment for learning.


In order to support children who are struggling with reading, children receive additional intervention, a reading buddy or one-to-one reading sessions with an adult to improve fluency, decoding and comprehension.


We are also developing reading opportunities across the curriculum, in addition to English lessons, to increase children’s exposure to texts and practise decoding, improve reading fluency and comprehension skills within different contexts.

How can you support your child’s learning?


In EYFS and Key Stage One, teachers will set a phonics based activity on Class Dojo each week as homework for your child to complete. You can support them with this activity, by practising saying, reading and writing the sounds with them. Remember to send a picture back of the work the children have completed so that we can celebrate this achievement with them back in school!


From Reception to Year 6, children will also be set homework on Reading Eggs each week. This will be either to support their decoding for reading or understanding through comprehension based activities. Please encourage them to complete this and support them if necessary.


Additionally, it is expected that children will read at home either with an adult or independently each day. Please see our homework policy for suggested times to be spent reading for each year group. To help your child improve their reading skills, you could listen to them read, supporting them with the meaning of unfamiliar words, or you could also read to them, modelling accuracy, speed and intonation. Please remember to sign their reading record each time they read as they can win prizes in school!


Talking about books with your child is another great way to engage them. Discussing what they have read, or favourite books is a good place to start. We have provided some discussion questions below that will help you lead discussions with your child about their book. We have also provided a link to the Peters Books website, a great source to find activities and lists of age appropriate books that your child may be interested in.



Have a look also at the two documents below which provide many links to websites that offer audio books, e-libraries, author videos and plenty of other activities.