‘Reading for Pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success.’
– OECD 2012

At St Mary’s we intend to instil a lifelong love of reading and we implement this in a number of ways in school.

Please see St Mary’s reading diet. – St Marys Reading Diet Reading Curriculum

To develop reading the following high-quality teaching schemes and approaches are used:

  • Little Wandle Phonics – lessons from EYFS to Year 1(beyond as appropriate)
  • Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Big Cat books
  • CLPE Power of Reading core texts in all English lessons
  • PM Benchmark assessment
  • St Mary’s Reading Spine for story timeSt Marys Reading Spine



The foundations of phonics are introduced through the ‘Communication, Language and Literacy’ provision. Children are provided with a language rich environment to support their language development as well as. a love of books. This is done through:

  • sharing high-quality texts with children
  • learning a range of nursery rhymes and poems action rhymes
  • activities that develop focused listening and attention, including oral blending
  • attention to high-quality language with children

This enables children to be ready to have a strong start with their phonics learning beginning Phase 2 in the second week of their Reception year.

Reception and Key Stage 1

Systematic Synthetic Phonics is taught using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Scheme from the Autumn term of Reception. To enable children to have a strong start with their phonics learning, they must start Phase 2 by the second week of their Reception year.

‘Children need to learn to read as quickly as reasonably possible, so they can move from learning to read, to reading to learn, giving them access to the treasure house of reading’ – Little Wandle

Reading Sessions

Reception and Key stage 1

Our primary decodable books used in reading sessions are Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Big Cat books, these texts are cumulatitive and matched carefully to insure progression in phonics and reading.

Little Wandle Reading sessions takes place three times per week and children focus on three key areas:

  1. decoding
  2. prosody
  3. comprehension

Twice per week children complete a reading for pleasure activity.

Home Reading

Children are given a Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Big Cat book to take home and practise reading each week.

We also use Jelly and Bean phonics books that we have matched to the systematic order of the Little Wandle scheme for our early readers.

As children have reached the end of the Little Wandle Scheme particularly entering Year 2 there are Collins Big Cat books, Jelly and Bean, Project X books matched to phase 5 alternate sounds books to continue to build on the foundations of Little Wandle.

On completing the Little Wandle Scheme children are then benchmarked using PM Benchmark assessment and their reading level is carefully tracked each term to ensure that they are reaching their reading targets for their age phase.

Key Stage 2

Guided Reading Sessions

Guided reading takes place five times a week. Children in year 2 move into guided reading format when teachers feel they are ready.

All children read with an adult at least once a week, on average twice per week. Sessions are planned to ensure that children progress and reach their personal reading targets.

By KS2 children are into the guided reading routine model and this is embedded in morning lessons.

Home Reading

Our later books are colour banded so that once pupils are confident readers they can choose their own books at the right level of challenge to take home before they move onto free readers.

Catch Up

Assessment is used to ensure that children requiring extra support in reading are targeted and receive the additional help for them to achieve.

EYFS to Year 2

Children needing support have group or individual phonics catch up sessions to ensure that they ‘keep up’.

Daily reader sessions – take place to develop children’s fluency and independence in reading.


The bottom 20% of readers have daily reading interventions plus additional phonics interventions if required.


“Early reading, whether it is in a parent’s lap, on the carpet of a classroom, or in a snug reading corner, gently but indelibly imprints upon us the mould from which will cast a lifetime of communication in the world.”

Alex Quigley, Closing the Reading Gap 2020

Home Reading

To encourage ‘reading for pleasure’ children also bring home a sharing book once a week; At the early reading stage this is a book designed to be read with their adult and then as children become more fluent throughout their school life, they will be able to read to the adult.

St Mary’s Library

All children have access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books in our school library. Each class has a timetabled library time to use the library every week – ensuring they have time to explore and select books that interest them as well as having time for an adult to read to them.

Story Time

Children have story time scheduled every day ensuring that they are hearing and exploring rich texts.

We have created our own St Mary’s Reading Spine which consists of books recommended by educational experts such as Pie Corbett.

St Marys Reading Spine

Year 1 Objectives

Year 2 Objectives

Year 3 Objectives

Year 4 Objectives

Year 5 Objectives

Year 6 Objectives

St Mary’s Reading Policy 2022-24