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At St. Bede’s Catholic Primary School we aim to provide every child with a rich, diverse reading curriculum that develops children into confident readers who have a passion for literature. This is achieved through the culmination of a range of strategies and support that utilises the skills of our talented teaching staff and supportive parents.

Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1

The development of reading begins within the Early Years Foundation Stage. St Bede’s uses the Little Wandle phonics programme to ensure children quickly master the basics of word reading and recall. The principle behind phonics involves segmenting words into their individual phonemes or ‘sounds’ before blending them together to produce a given word. Throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1 phases, the children enjoy a daily phonics lesson that eventually secures the mastery of the full range of phonemes and their written (grapheme) representation. It is important that this learning is consolidated at home; we hold phonics workshops for parents to support them in helping to play an integral part in their child’s reading progress.

Alongside this, teachers plan and deliver opportunities for children to respond to their reading through a range of teacher-led and independent activities. This helps to form a strong comprehension of what has been read, and a deeper understanding of the author’s choices and intentions.

At St. Bede’s, we believe that it is vital that our home reading books closely follow the phonics teaching that takes place in the classroom. This allows our children to continue practising at home the learning that has taken place at school.  There are two types of reading book that your child may bring home:

A reading practice book. This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.

A sharing book.  Your child will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.

Reading practice book

This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.

Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it to them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.

Sharing book

In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.

Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them and note down their progress through a home school link book. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!

In addition, the children are also provided with a text from the school library. This book is usually at a reading level above that of the child in question. Its purpose is to be a ‘read aloud’ text, in which parents are encouraged to read it to their child in order to promote a deeper enjoyment of reading, as well as introducing them to new vocabulary and genres of writing.

Key Stage 2

Within Key Stage 2, while an emphasis still exists on continuing to develop the children’s word reading skills, there is a greater emphasis on other skills such as comprehension and inference. We have developed a learning process of ‘responding to reading’ in order to ensure children are provided with the opportunity to develop their skills in all areas of reading. Within these sessions, the children take part in a small, teacher-led guided reading session, which focuses on the understanding and practise of a key reading skill. As well as this, the children also have the opportunity to complete tasks in relation to a text. These tasks again relate to a key reading skill, but also allow children to develop independence and creativity through what they have read.

Once becoming more confident in their reading ability, children within Key Stage 2 have more freedom over their choice of reading book to take home. Our library is stocked with books that have been handpicked by the school English leader and student librarians. These texts are updated on a yearly basis with a focus on providing high quality literature from a wide range of genres, cultures and time periods. They are categorised into a bespoke reading scheme, ‘Bede’s Books’, which allows the children to ensure they are reading texts that both develop a love of literature, and push the boundaries of their current reading ability.

Whole School

It is important that we come together as a school to celebrate the enjoyment that reading brings, and in turn further develop the pleasure for reading that our children experience.

Throughout the school year we do this in a variety of ways: a book fair is held twice a year, allowing children to discover new and exciting authors; we celebrate World Book Day with a collection of themed activities; and finally we hold author and storyteller visits that give the children an opportunity to be inspired by and ask questions to published writers.

For the children of St. Bede’s to go forward and be successful in all that they do it is integral that they have developed a sound understanding of reading. By creating a curriculum that teaches initial skills, before giving children the opportunity to develop and eventually master them, as well encouraging a pleasure for reading through a wide range of texts and reading opportunities, we believe that we meet this duty and develop our children into enthusiastic, life-long readers.


If you would like any further information, please speak to your child’s class teacher or click one of the images above to find out more.

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