Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.

Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.

It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

At St. Sebastian’s our reading aims are:

  • To promote reading for pleasure.
  • To promote confidence and positive attitudes to reading through access to a wide range of literature.
  • To develop phonetic skills which lead to blending and reading accurately and fluently.
  • To broaden pupils’ vocabulary.
  • To develop comprehension skills, and enable children to analyse what they read and to participate in discussion and debate about texts.
  • To encourage good home/school partnerships.
  • To monitor each child’s progress through the use of a range of assessment strategies eg Reading Age tests, on-going reading observations, phonic tracking and matching reading books to phonic ability.
  • To support those children who require additional support with their reading.
  • the school is determined that every pupil will learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities  
  • the school’s phonics programme matches or exceeds the expectations of the English national curriculum and early learning goals  
  • the school has clear expectations of pupils’ phonics progress term by term, from Reception to Year 2, and the school’s phonics programme aligns with these expectations  
  • the sequence of reading books shows a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge that is matched closely to the school's phonics programme.



  • RWI is taught daily throughout EYFS and Key Stage One. The children are assessed half-termly and placed in homogenous groups to ensure rapid progress.  Any child at risk of not meeting expectations is given targeted support and monitored closely.
  • Daily reading takes place with teachers and classroom assistants (for bottom 20%). All children heard twice weekly.
  • the school has developed sufficient expertise in the teaching of phonics and reading that ensures consistency from one year to the next
  • reading, including the teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics, is taught from the beginning of Reception  
  • teachers give pupils sufficient practice in reading and re-reading books that match the grapheme-phoneme correspondences they know, both at school and at home .
  • all classes complete a whole class guided reading session each day.

Year 1 - use the super six book and to ask literal comprehension questions.

Year 2 - complete whole class guided reading using the Read Write Ink comprehension books.

 Years 3 to 6  follow the weekly structure:

Teachers activate prior knowledge/set the context for the text through video clips, an object, or drama. Children practice fluency through choral rehearsing, reading a sentence at a time, preparing a presentation of the text to show understanding of new vocabulary.

Children are discretely taught new vocabulary in context and answer literal  comprehension questions if necessary.

Children are split into groups ( which are fluid according to their needs)

Children will have questions focused on a differentiated text at their reading level and answer questions on the appropriate content domain/ National Curriculum  objective.

  • staff read aloud stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction that develop pupils' vocabulary, language comprehension and love of reading. All classes have super six books which are read to them at the end of the day and have access to in the class library.
  • Pupils are assessed on the Accelerated Reader programme which ensures children are reading books exactly matched to their ability. Every time they read a book, they take a quiz to check their comprehension.
  • Pupils in Key Stage 2 use the Reading Plus programme to develop reading efficiency. This then allows children to concentrate on comprehension of texts.  Pupils are assessed termly, but also ongoing assessments are made daily as the children read to ensure progress.
  • All classes have a library that is well stocked and frequently replenished to ensure children have access to books other than the reading scheme books for enjoyment and to stimulate a love of literature.
  • Every half term, the children are assessed in their reading through class work and explicit assessment. These assessments are entered into Otrack and are used to inform planning and stimulate any additional learning required for the children (catch up or intensive programs etc).
  • New children to the school are assessed on entry by the Reading Leader to check their reading ability and targeted support is implemented to ensure rapid progress


Any children who has not completed the RWI scheme ( in key stage 2) continues with their phonic sessions for 45 minutes per day. These groups are regularly reviewed and fluid. We believe it is essential that these children are immersed in age appropriate texts and therefore carry out a whole class guided reading session. The children have the opportunity to establish the purpose of the writing, clarify language, infer, deduce and summarise orally.

Children who are falling behind their group receive fast track tutoring during the afternoon sessions.

Children who have not made adequate progress on the phonics scheme are tested using YARC, which allows the analysis of miscue. These children are targeted through intervention, a termly impact report is produced to monitor progress. Activities and materials recommended by the Learning Support Service, a modified version of Switched on Reading and non-phonic books for specific pupils are utilised.  Children are encouraged to strategically read for sense rather than being over reliant on word reading and decoding to develop fluency.  Childrens high frequency word recognition is built up from the text they are reading.  Confidence is built by lots of repetition of familiar books.  Children are encouraged to reread for sense and therefore they notice their mistakes and are gaining understanding from the text.  During these sessions visual fluency - finding words/letters fast- is practiced.


Support plan targets include precise actions for SEND children referring to the phase and sounds which they need to develop. These are then linked to speech and language support plans, for example children in year three whose target is to speak in the correct tense, use books to discuss what happened before, after and what will happen next. Blank level questions develop understanding of question types and a word a day to explores and builds vocabulary when reading.

Racing to English is also used to aid vocabulary for EAL pupils. 


Cross Curricular

Fluency is be modelled throughout the curriculum. Each new topic begins with a text, which will be read by an expert reader, such as David Attenborough or the teacher, from then chorally rehearsed as above. Meaningful research activities develop reading skills.



  • All pupils, including the weakest readers, make sufficient progress to meet or exceed age-related expectations  
  • Pupils are familiar with and enjoy listening to a wide range of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction.
  • The children enjoy stories, being read to and reading themselves – fostering a lifetime love of reading.
  • They develop and maintain enthusiasm and interest in books and reading and are familiar with a range of different genres and authors.
  • They have experience of reading non-fiction books for pleasure and for learning and can use them effectively.
  • They know how a library functions and treat the library, and class book corners, with respect
  • The children can confidently decode and phonically sound out and blend words by the end of Year 1 with increasingly sophistication and fluency by the end of Year 2.
  • They develop inference and retrieval skills in their reading comprehension in increasing complexity from Reception up.
  • Children achieve expected or above expected standard in their reading assessments in Year 2 and Year 6 SATs.
  • There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged)
  • Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school records.

The Reading curriculum is evaluated through:

  • Analysis of phonics lessons
  • Analysis of phonics assessments
  • Analysis of whole-class reading lessons
  • Analysis of comprehension questions

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St Sebastian's RC Primary School

Douglas Green (off Norfolk Street), Salford M6 6ET
what3words: /// call.logic.swing
0161 921 1625
[email protected]


Caroline Doyle | Headteacher

Jannine Platt | Deputy Headteacher and SENDCo

Helen Cooper | School Business Manager

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