English - Reading

Reading at St. Paul's


At St Paul’s, we value reading as a key life skill which underpins every element of the curriculum. We know that proficiency in reading, writing and spoken language is key for pupils’ success in school. Without reading, we cannot develop our children into the next generation of historians, geographers, scientists etc. Therefore, we are dedicated to ensuring that by the time children leave St Paul’s, they are fluent, confident readers and speakers, who can communicate effectively and coherently.  We understand that children need to be able to be rapid, fluent decoders in order to successfully comprehend texts.  Our reading curriculum is designed to enrich children’s fluency, vocabulary  and love of reading through book talk, building and sharing a love of stories, and accurate assessments.  We have high expectations of all of our pupils.  We aim to ensure that the percentage of pupils working at age related expectations and above age-related expectations within each year group will be at least in line with national averages. We strive to ensure that there will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils.  Through the dedication of staff, range of resources and enthusiasm of pupils, it is our goal that children leave St Paul’s as competent readers, who can draw upon their reading skills to become flourishing members of society.



Reading and sharing a love of books is one of our biggest priorities at St Paul’s. Staff read to children daily in a variety of ways, including high-quality class novels, carefully selected guided reading texts and across our broad and balanced curriculum.  Children have access to a wide range of diverse texts and genres in our library and in class libraries. Teachers select high-quality texts for these areas, based on a variety of factors. These factors include: the response the book will create, the strength of the narrative, inclusivity, reflections of different cultures etc. Children are often given the opportunity to vote for which text they would like to be read to next. These texts are then displayed in reading areas, inviting children to revisit them and reconnect with them.

We teach Phonics using the First Class Phonics scheme. The scheme offers a fully resourced systematic, synthetic programme of study, with high expectations of progress and success in Phonics. All members of staff who deliver Phonics are fully trained. The lessons follow a consistent structure of Revisit, Teach, Practise and Apply. The teacher makes formative assessments during every lesson and the children’s progress is closely tracked. Any children who are not keeping up with expected progress are identified and offered intervention to help them catch up quickly.

Children who are following the First Class Phonics programme read phonetically decoable books which are carefully matched to their current phonics knowledge. These books are given to the children at least two weeks after the corresponding graphemes have been taught, allowing time for children to consolidate learning so that they can read the text confidently and independently. Any tricky words are identified on the back of the book for the children to practise. Children also regularly take home other books which are labelled 'Read with me' and have access to class libraries and our school library.

In Reception and Year One, children participate in daily guided reading sessions in small groups. They read phonetically decoable books which are carefully matched to their current phonics knowledge. The children have a chance to pre-read the book with a Teaching Assistant, before reading with the class teacher the next day. In Year One, children complete follow up tasks and have the opportunity to read for pleasure in the week's sequence too.

From Year Two to Year Six, children participate in daily guided reading sessions, typically lasting 45 minutes. Teachers follow a structured weekly plan to ensure a broad range of decoding and comprehension skills are taught, developed and revisited throughout the week. This structure was developed after training with John Murray, the creator of reading Explorers. The children are familiar with the skills stated in the content domains through the use of our Reading Gems, across KS1 and KS2. These skills are taught explicitly through a range of different texts, allowing children to explore a range of genres, authors and text styles. These texts form our reading curriculum. We have selected genres and themes we would like to be covered in each class, and teachers choose appropriate texts to meet the needs of their current cohort. During guided reading lessons, teachers model: fluent, engaging reading, strategies to read unfamiliar words and strategies for answering questions. Layer One focuses on retrieval questions, allowing children to become familiar with the text and practise the skill of skimming and scanning. Layer Two focuses on defining the meaning of words. Children are exposed to a wide range of new vocabulary, and learn the meaning of new words through discussion, drama and imagery. Layer Three focuses on inference questions, allowing the children to learn the skill of locating ‘clues’ within the text. Layer Four is called the ‘Warm Application’. Teachers choose around six questions from any combination of content domains, based on their prior assessment. Children independently answer these questions then the teacher will model how to answer each question, demonstrating the necessary skills required. The final layer of the week’s guided reading structure is called the ‘Cold Application’, which provides a chance for children to apply their knowledge learnt in the week on a new text.


Throughout the year, we enrich children’s reading journeys through participating in a wide range of reading based events. World Book Day promotes discussion of children’s personal favourite texts, and allows children to recommend texts to each other. Each class also has a ‘Book Buzz Box’ which consists of ten unfamiliar texts across a range of genres. Teachers recommend books from the box to pupils in the hope it will inspire other children to want to read the same book. Other events take place, such as author visits, sponsored reads and mystery texts. It is our aim to keep these events fresh and exciting for our pupils.



Phonics is assessed regularly to ensure progress is being made and children at risk of falling behind are identified. This is through daily formative assessment and half-termly summative assessments. This ensures we maintain our high percentages of children who pass the phonics screening check at the end of Year One.  Children in Years Two to Six use a tracker to monitor their progress in the Cold Application aspect of Guided Reading. Teachers can use this to provide personalised feedback, inform their planning and address misconceptions with the class. This helps children feel more confident and equipped in answering different styles of questions during termly assessments. This in turn helps maintain results which are at least in line with national average.  Termly assessments based on the reading content domains help provide a summative assessment of progress in reading, and helps identify those children who may need additional support to keep up with their peers.  Children can also use their reading skills to gain knowledge in wider subject areas and enhance their understanding. Ultimately, children develop a love of reading at St Paul’s and understand the vital role it plays in their education. They learn to love reading and all the benefits it brings.

Files to Download

Contact the School

St Paul's Catholic Primary School

Miss M Flynn (Headteacher)
St Paul's Catholic Primary School
Turner Lane
SK14 4AG, United Kingdom

Main Contact: Mrs S Phoenix (School Business Manager)

Tel: 0161 368 2934

SEN Contact: Mrs R Shackleton

SEN Email: SEND@st-pauls-hyde.tameside.sch.uk