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Please find the PowerPoint from the Early Reading and Phonics parent workshop held on 20th March 2024. 

If you have any questions or would like recommendations for games or books linked to reading, please do ask Mrs Pridmore or any of the staff, who will be more than happy to help. 




At St Mark’s, we believe that reading is at the heart of learning. Children build a  strong    foundation in reading through a careful and thoughtful balance of our structured reading scheme and the offer of engaging, creative and purposeful experiences through rich texts, film and drama. A wide ranging and diverse selection of high quality texts underpin our curriculum in which children are encouraged to discuss, question and play with language as well as make links. We strive to ignite our passion for reading in every child.

Our aims in reading:

  • To ignite a passion for textual exploration.
  • To offer access to a wide variety of inspiring texts.
  • For each child to read daily whether through shared reading, one to one or guided groups.
  • For each child to have the opportunity to hear stories read to them daily.
  • To be proud of each unique and personal response elicited through rich questioning.
  • To provide a coherent progression of key skills through both Key Stages so that children become fluent and intuitive readers who read for meaning.

Reading and quality literature is implicitly interwoven into our curriculum through the use of key texts to expose our children to various genres and famous authors and to enhance the variety of exciting topics that we teach. Alongside phonic understanding we teach the children to develop inference, deduction, explanation, and prediction skills so that they can gain a deeper understanding and enjoyment of the text.


We teach children to develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding. We also teach them to understand both the books that they can already read accurately and fluently and those that they listen to. They participate in discussions about books, poems and other works that are read to them and those that they can read for themselves, taking turns and listening to what others say. They should be developing their understanding and enjoyment of stories, poetry, plays and non-fiction, and learning to read in calm and quiet environments. They will learn to explain and discuss their understanding of books, poems and other material- both those that they listen to and those that they read for themselves - and learn to justify their views about what they have read.

At St. Mark's we follow the Supersonic Phonics phonics program, which gets the children off to a great start with their reading, encouraging and nurturing their phonic development. Phonics is taught daily in structured sessions in Reception, Year 1 and in Year 2 until children are secure in their skills. The sessions are taught in differentiated groups to ensure that all learners make good progress in the knowledge and skills that they need. Sessions include daily shared reading of a phonetically decodable texts and captions suitable for the children's level. Phonics is assessed half termly to ensure that the groups are fluid and that progress is not limited. Children needing more support have 1.1 interventions. Phonics Tracker is used to monitor this progress. 

 Children are taught reading skills through well-structured whole class reading sessions. In these sessions, links are made to the VIPERS (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summarise/sequence), which are the key skills that build a child’s reading comprehension and understanding.

When exploring a text in a Guided Reading lesson, different reading strategies are applied to enhance child engagement in the reading process. Some of these strategies include:

• Choral Reading – This develops confidence when reading and is often effective after the text has been introduced, as it increases fluency and expression. As a class, you read one line of the text together, then read line one and line two of the text together, and so on, depending on the fluency and difficulty.
• Echo Reading – The repetition of lines develops fluency and allows pupils to hear expression and replicate in their own reading. The teacher will read and then the pupils will repeat what has been read.
• Ping Pong Reading – This is a fun and fast paced strategy that is useful with a known text. The teacher decides who is going to read next and pupils read aloud, with the teacher controlling how long each pupil reads for.
• Spot Check – This strategy allows the pupils to hear the teacher model expression and also keep up with an effective pace of reading. The teacher will read aloud but sometimes will leave the word off at the end of the sentence, signalling with the tone of their voice to the pupils that they need to read aloud the end of the sentence.

Teachers, pupils and parents are invited to celebrate reading in a range of ways and at a mixture of events to further enrich their children’s reading experiences. Book swaps are organised to allow pupils to bring in books from home to swap with books from other pupils which encourages not only a variation in reading genres but also the environmentally friendly approach to sharing books with others. Book fairs from local book shops are put on to invite pupils to experience new and up to date books from a wide range of diverse authors. Authors also visit the school to share their experiences as an author to inspire the pupils. Themed days are celebrated throughout the year, including World Book Day.

Reading at Home

  • For children in EYFS and KS1, this will consist of a Reading Journal, a reading book for pleasure and a level-appropriate book which is either linked to their Phonics progression or is at their reading level using banded book levels.
  • For children in KS2, this will consist of a Reading Journal, a reading book for pleasure and, if the pupil is below the age-expected level in reading, a level-appropriate book which is either linked to their Phonics progression or is at their reading level using banded book levels.

Pupils who are taking home book banded books are read with regularly and can transition between book bands to align with their reading level.Reading at home is essential to a pupil’s reading progress so Reading Journals are taken home daily.

As well as the books explored in Guided Reading sessions, each class has a 'reading tree.' This is a set of vocabularly rich and topical chapter and picture books for each Year Group. It includes poetry, non-fiction, diversity, well-being, global issues, inclusion, traditional tales and equality. Please see the reading trees below. 


Children are assessed termly against the objectives for their year group. Due to the coverage outlined in the English overview, teachers can identify the areas which children are achieving and identify gaps in the children’s reading attainment. This will give the teacher guidance as to how to determine if the child is on track for the specific point in the year. Children are also tested through summative assessments, which are structured in a more formal style. These assessments allow for children to be tracked against the objectives for their year group. From this, gap analysis can be conducted and support can be provided if and when necessary.

In lessons, we ensure that children are supported so that all children can achieve. Support that may be used includes, but is not restricted to, word banks, chunked tasks, sentence stems and vocabulary support. Teachers show awareness of each individual child’s current reading attainment level and ensure that they are successful, whichever stage they may be at. Additional interventions may run in addition to whole Guided Reading lessons. These are in place to support children in the skills needed to be at the age-related level for reading for their year group. These interventions are brief, regular and targeted so that learning time is maximised and progress is evident. Interventions include, Supersonic Phonics Programme, fluency and comprehension support via our VIPERs approach, Lexia reading intervention programme and Year 6 morning booster groups. 



We understand that reading and writing are inextricably linked, both to each other and to the wider curriculum. Purposeful writing is at the centre of our provision driven by personal experiences, cross-curricular topics and creative expression. Each child’s writing journey will be a personal reflection of their learning adventure throughout the school. Essential building blocks are embedded to ensure fluency of key skills enhance this journey.

Our aims in writing:

  • To provide a coherent progression of key skills through both Key Stages so that children become fluent and effective writers and can express themselves through written language.
  • To expose children to a variety of writing genres across the curriculum and elicit their responses in a way that is meaningful and purposeful.
  • To equip children with skills in spelling, handwriting and grammar so that they write with confidence, clarity and impact.


The structure of our sequence of lessons in writing ensures that children see models of excellence and are able to talk about the features of a genre, so that they can mirror these skills in their own writing.

We believe that good writers are good editors, and children are taught vital editing and proof reading skills in each unit of writing that they undertake. 

 We focus on a set of objectives in one school term and through a variety of writing opportunities. We aim to embed these skills.  Our aim is that, rather than skimming the surface of these skills, the children will ‘deep dive’ into them, using them confidently, so that they are embedded before moving on to new skills. Children are given rich opportunities and supported by adults within the classroom to reach their full writing potential, through small group work and master classes (supportive interventions) . Teachers are supported by Senior Leadership and Subject Leads to plan units as needed and are provided with regular CPD to ensure that their subject knowledge is developed.


We ensure that all learners are supported, including our SEND learners, using effective resources and approaches including scaffolds, word banks, chunked texts or tasks, talking tins and a range of others. Teachers are acutely aware of an individual child’s needs to ensure that they can be successful in their writing journey, whichever stage they may be at. We ensure that learning is remembered by reviewing skills and ensuring objectives are revisited during starters and fluency tasks. A range of interventions are offered to those needing further support. 

For those needing additional support, we run tailored interventions. After each session, progress is reviewed and links to classroom learning is set with the class teacher. 

 Our website has additional writing challenges and games on class pages, to inspire a love of writing. Our school newspaper, engagement with annual writing competitions and involvement in our school newsletter all aim to include and celebrate pupil's writing and creative ideas. 

Our aim is that children will develop strong literacy skills to help them to flourish on both their academic and career journey in the future. Teachers also give verbal feedback during every writing unit to ensure progress and bespoke feedback is given to pupils, as well as picking up on common misconceptions and addressing these in class.

Spoken Language

At St Mark’s we understand that the skills of speaking and listening underpin children’s development of both reading and writing. We strive to provide a culture of high quality discussion, questioning, reasoning and vocabulary, and offer opportunities which nurture their confidence in developing these vital skills.

Our aims in Spoken Language:

  • For children to be exposed to a rich and broad vocabulary which they are keen to understand and apply.
  • To develop children’s skills of discussion to become confident and articulate when explaining their ideas and understanding.
  • To teach children to apply speaking and listening skills for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • To develop their comprehension skills through the teaching of 'Vipers' lessons from EYFS to KS2. 


St Mark's Church of England Primary School – Fresh2o

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