Our Approach to Reading


Approaches to the teaching of reading

When children start EYFS they will be introduced to the letters and sounds phonics programme. In nursery this will begin as whole class teaching as children are taught to listen for sounds in words; this later builds to recognising written sounds for reading. Throughout the year, children will also be taught phonics in small groups, appropriate for their ability. All children in nursery will have a library book which they can change weekly.


The teaching of high quality synthetic phonics continues into Reception and KS1 (years 1 and 2). All children will have a daily, dedicated phonics lesson, following the letters and sounds programme. These lessons will be engaging, interactive and fully differentiated to meet the needs of all pupils, allowing them to make sustained and accelerated progress. Children will be taught to blend sounds to decode words, sentences and whole texts. Children are taught to use phonics knowledge and use visual cues to aid word recognition. As children become confident at decoding and word recognition, their fluency develops and allows them to develop their understanding of the texts they are reading (reading comprehension). Whilst both word recognition and comprehension are crucial skills to help children become confident readers who can critically engage with texts, the ultimate aim of the teaching of reading is to develop comprehension skills and therefore their ability to use literature to learn, appreciate and enjoy.


Children in KS2 will continue to be taught the necessary phonics and context cues to help further develop fluency; however the main focus of the teaching of reading in KS2 will be to develop an in depth understanding of a range of text types and genres, addressing our overall reading objectives.


In addition to dedicated phonics lessons and the teaching of reading through English lessons, all children will take part in small group guided reading sessions. During these sessions children will work with teachers and support staff to develop a range of reading skills, including: further help and support in decoding texts; the ability to distinguish between fiction and non-fiction texts; confidence in reading out loud; an understanding of the structure and organisation of a range of texts presented in many formats; how the author’s use of language contributes to the overall effect of a text and children’s ability to orally discuss texts, including their ability to express preferences about the texts that they like to read.

The fundamental aim of St. Bartholomew’s approach to the teaching of reading is to ensure that the needs of every child are identified and sequences of phonics and reading lessons are pitched to promote accelerated progress for all pupils. We strongly believe that promoting a love of reading throughout the curriculum, with clearly built in progression, is key to ensuring the success of our pupils, regardless of their starting point. Early identification of pupils who need extra support, through dialogue with teachers and the analysis of progress and attainment data, enables appropriate intervention to be implemented so that no child falls behind.  For example the intensive reading intervention programme ‘Reading Recovery’, which is delivered by a qualified teacher who is specifically trained, targets children who are achieving at below age related expectations in reading at the end of Year 1, allowing these children to quickly catch up with their peers. Intervention groups for gifted and talented pupils means that we never put a limit on what our children can achieve. This is fully promoted in all lessons.


Expectations, both of teachers and pupils, are extremely high. Pupils at St. Bartholomew’s strive to improve and enjoy success whilst developing a passion for and appreciation of a wide range of literature. All the staff at St. Bartholomew’s have a strong desire to nurture a love of reading and this is achieved through our personalised and individualised curriculum. Regular monitoring of attainment and progress in reading through: observations, book trawls, analysis of data, pupil progress meetings and discussion with colleagues, helps to ensure that the teaching of reading evolves in response to the needs of our pupils.

  • Children will develop a love for reading and be able to make informed decisions about their individual preferences due to continual exposure to a wide range of high quality texts.


  • Children will become confident readers who can read fluently and accurately using a range of decoding and encoding skills.


  • Children will become enthusiastic, responsive and knowledgeable readers.


  • Children will read a wide range of material in different and appropriate ways across all areas of the curriculum.


  • Children will understand and critically respond to authors’ use of language in a range of texts.


  • Children will learn how to use clues to reach conclusions, evaluate and predict what may happen.


  • Children will interpret and use organisational devises such as chapter headings, sub-heading, changes in print and typeface to gain a full understanding of a text type and an ability to navigate it appropriately


  • Children will use skills they have developed to become critical readers to help them achieve success and progress in writing.

Home reading

All children in reception and KS1 will have a home reading book from our reading scheme. This scheme offers a structured progression to reading, allowing the children to practise and improve their reading skills at an appropriate level, through access to high quality fiction and non-fiction texts. Once they have completed this scheme, children will move onto our banded reading scheme which continues throughout KS2, choosing books appropriate for their ability. As a school we have invested significantly in new reading books following consultation with the children. The range of books available includes many by well-known and popular authors. The children have opportunities to read their books individually to their teachers and teaching assistants and are supported to change their reading book regularly, allowing them to swiftly progress through the scheme. It is crucial that children read daily, even for small amounts of time and at St. Bart’s we appreciate the support from parents in hearing their child to read at home and recording this in their reading diaries.
Reading and the enjoyment of books is an integral part of each day at St. Bart’s and we endeavour to ensure that all children leave our school as confident, successful and critical readers, who have developed a life long passion for reading.