Skip to content ↓



At St Nicholas at Wade CE Primary, we believe that the teaching of reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them; a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves. Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading. 

“The wise builder, builds their house on the rock”

We want to give our children something solid to stand on, foundations that will allow them build a future for themselves and others that will be grounded in their own personal character, beliefs and values.

Our aim is that all children:

  • are excited and motivated to read and to be inspired to share this with others.
  • are explicitly taught vocabulary so they have the knowledge and words to be highly effective communicators
  • are provided with a rich, imaginative and aspirational curriculum;
  • are exposed to a wide-variety of high-quality literature, which is reflective of diverse communities and experiences.
  • build and internalise a bank of stories that support them in developing their imagination, vocabulary, writing techniques and confidence;
  • are exposed to high-quality shared and guided reading, modelling the skills and techniques of being a confident reader.
  • receive informative and motivational feedback in order to move them on developmentally, as well as motivationally as readers.

We cultivate the behaviours that they will need to be discerning readers as they read frequently and widely using self-regulation strategies and discuss what they read. This curriculum is delivered through synthetic phonics, a linked approach to shared and guided reading, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. All of these are essential components as they offer the range of opportunities needed to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers. 

It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Furthermore, we know that reading pleasure is beneficial not only for not only reading outcomes, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. Thus, we work hard to foster a love of independent reading and build communities of engaged readers. We understand the significance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, so we endeavour to build a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to have the confidence to support their children with reading at home. 

Reading is at the very heart of our curriculum. We are committed to promoting a love for reading and not only giving children opportunities to read in English lessons, but in the wider curriculum too.

At St Nicholas C of E Primary School, we recognise the huge importance that oracy plays in children’s future success both academically and socially. Language and communication, alongside high-quality phonics and early reading are the heart of our curriculum. High quality, warm interactions, enabling environments and our relentless dedication to effective provision ensure that no child is left behind.



Phonics (reading and spelling)

At St Nicholas at Wade CE Primary School, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At St Nicholas at Wade C of E Primary School, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


We value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.


Because we believe teaching every child to read is so important, we have a Reading Leader who drives the early reading programme in our school. This person is highly skilled at teaching phonics and reading, and they monitor and support our reading team, so everyone teaches with fidelity to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.

EYFS & KS1 - Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

  • We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lessons, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lesson as quickly as possible. Each Friday, we review the week’s teaching to help children become fluent readers.
  • Children make a strong start in Reception: teaching begins in Week 2 of the Autumn term.
  • We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised expectations of progress:
    • Children in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
    • Children in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.

EYFS & KS1 - Daily Keep-up lessons ensure every child learns to read

  • Any child who needs additional practice has daily Keep-up support, taught by a fully trained adult. Keep-up lessons match the structure of class teaching, and use the same procedures, resources and mantras, but in smaller steps with more repetition, so that every child secures their learning.
  • We timetable daily phonics lessons for any child in Year 2 and above who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics screening check. These children urgently need to catch up, so the gap between themselves and their peers does not widen. We use the Rapid Catch-up assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge and teach to these using the Rapid Catch-up resources – at pace. 
  • These short, sharp lessons last 15-20 minutes daily and have been designed to ensure children quickly catch up to age-related expectations in reading.

EYFS & KS1 - Teaching reading: Reading practice sessions three times a week

  • We teach children to read in KS1 & EYFS through reading practice sessions three times a week. For our lowest 20% they will have five reading sessions.  
  • These:
    • are taught by a member of the “Reading Squad” who are fully trained adult to small groups of approximately six children
    • use books matched to the children’s secure phonic knowledge using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments and book matching grids on pages 11–20 of ‘Application of phonics to reading’.
    • are monitored by the class teacher, who rotates and works with each group on a regular basis.
  • Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory. The reading practice sessions have been designed to focus on three key reading skills:
    • decoding
    • prosody: teaching children to read with understanding and expression
    • comprehension: teaching children to understand the text.
  • Mon – Session 1 -

Focus - Book introduction and first exposure.

Key teaching points – identify front/ back cover/ blurb/ vocabulary that children will encounter/ reading strategy that will be used.

  • Tues – session 2 –

Focus – Prosody and second exposure to text

Key teaching points – Fluency, expression, intonation, taking account of punctuation.

The children re-read the text using expression, intonation.

  • Weds/Thurs – session 3 –

Focus – Oral comprehension 

Key teaching points – comprehension linked to a specific reading domain.

Adult to introduce/ reinforce the reading skill that is being focused on and what we do to answer those types of questions. Guide children through a range of questions linked to the reading domain.

  • In Reception these sessions start in Week 4. Children who are not yet decoding have daily additional blending practice in small groups, so that they quickly learn to blend and can begin to read books.
  • Key Stage 1 (Read the same text all week)
  • In Years 2 and 3, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books.

EYFS & KS1 - Home reading

  • The decodable reading practice e-book is taken home to ensure success is shared with the family.
    • Reading for pleasure books also go home for parents to share and read to children. We share the research behind the importance and impact of sharing quality children’s books with parents through workshops, leaflets and the Everybody read! resources.
    • Children have two phonically decodable books matched to their phonic ability weekly.
    • Once a child has taken a Fluency Assessment against their phonic ability, they will move on to Accelerated Reader programme. These children will take a Star Reading Test which will give them a ZPD, then enabling children to select home reading books at an appropriate level. Once children have completed their reading book, they take an Accelerated Reader reading practice quiz on that text to ensure that they are comprehending their independent reading. The results of these tests, along with the teacher’s judgement, help us to decide whether the child is ready to move on to more challenging texts. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised parents’ resources to engage our families and share information about phonics, the benefits of sharing books, how children learn to blend and other aspects of our provision, both online and through workshops.

EYFS & KS1 - Additional reading support for vulnerable children

  • Children in Reception and Year 1 who are receiving additional phonics Keep-up sessions read their reading practice book to an adult daily.


EYFS & KS1 - Ensuring consistency and pace of progress

  • Every teacher in our school has been trained to teach reading, so we have the same expectations of progress. We all use the same language, routines and resources to teach children to read so that we lower children’s cognitive load.
  • Weekly content grids map each element of new learning to each day, week and term for the duration of the programme.
  • Lesson templates, Prompt cards and ‘How to’ videos ensure teachers all have a consistent approach and structure for each lesson.
  • The Reading Leader and SLT use the Audit and Prompt cards to regularly monitor and observe teaching; they use the summative data to identify children who need additional support and gaps in learning.


Reading after phonics

Once children are confidently reading, typically during mid-Year 2, they move on to accessing the Accelerated Reader programme, which ensures all texts independently read are accurately matched to pupil ability to ensure progression and challenge for all children in accordance with their Lexile score.  All children who are ready to move away from Little Wandle, complete the initial Star Reading assessment to identify their Lexile. Staff and the English lead, use Accelerated Reader class reports generated by the initial assessment and the quizzes to identify specific areas of need linked to the reading content domains to identify the areas of need for individual or groups of children.

All children from Year 2-6 take part in daily whole class reading lessons, to teach pupils a variety of comprehension skills including vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summarising /sequencing. Teachers use these to introduce pupils to a range of genres and to teach a range of techniques which enable children to comprehend the meaning of what they read. More complex questions are evaluated between wider groups and teachers model how to refine answers to a high standard.


Ensuring reading for pleasure for all

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002)

‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

  • In Early Years we read to children every day through Drawing Club where we develop children’s vocabulary.
  • In Years 1-2 we read a minimum of three times a week. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at St Nicholas at Wade CE Primary School and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures. Each month we receive a box of current books from a local bookshop to keep reading motivating and enjoyable.
  • Children in Years 3-6 are encouraged to read five times a week. Children chose a book from within their ZPD range as well as any book of their choice to read purely for pleasure.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books. In Nursery /Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • Children have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school. As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • The children in reception visit the local library.
  • The school library is made available for classes to use weekly at protected times. Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc). Our school and class libraries allow children to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of books. They are stocked with an attractive range of fiction and non-fiction to support every ability and reading choice and encompass the latest reading trends and classic texts that should be part of every child’s primary school experience- building the children’s cultural capital.
  • During weekly reading for pleasure sessions in the library, children are introduced to a variety of different books, stories and poems to encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. Children can also spend quality time exploring the texts the library has to offer; they are invited to take home a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ book in addition to their school reading book.
  • To promote parental engagement in home reading, we invite parents/grandparents to a reading breakfast, where they can share stories together before school. We also provide parental workshops which are designed to facilitate engagement between parents, the school and their children’s reading. They begin with messages about the importance of reading for pleasure which is followed by informal parent/children reading time supported by teachers where necessary.
  • We address book poverty by giving out free books to identified children and arranging ‘Book Swaps’.
  • We celebrate reading together throughout the year by taking part in both school-based, local and national reading initiatives including the National Poetry Day, World Book Day, author visits, book swaps and extreme reading challenges.
  • Teachers regularly read with the children so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books.  This is in addition to the books that they bring home.  This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing 
  • Reading Influencers, chosen from Years 2-6, engage in a multitude of reading activities, including book recommendations, reading newsletter and competitions to inspire and encourage their peers in reading for pleasure.
  • Termly and often seasonal reading challenges are set to encourage participation in reading for pleasure.



Children’s progress is continually reviewed through daily informal and half termly formal phonic assessments and evidence from their reading and writing.


Assessment is used to monitor progress and to identify any child needing additional support as soon as they need it.

  • Assessment for learning is used:
    • daily within class to identify children needing Keep-up support
    • weekly in the Review lesson to assess gaps, address these immediately and secure fluency of GPCs, words and spellings.
  • Summative assessment for Reception and Year 1 is used:
    • every six weeks to assess progress, to identify gaps in learning that need to be addressed, to identify any children needing additional support and to plan the Keep-up support that they need.
    • by SLT and scrutinised through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker, to narrow attainment gaps between different groups of children and so that any additional support for teachers can be put into place.
  • Fluency assessments measure children’s accuracy and reading speed in short one-minute assessments. They are used:
  • in Year 1, when children are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 boks
  • with children fllowing the Rapid Catch-up programme in Years 2 to 6, when they are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books
  • t assess when children are ready to exit their programme. For Year 1 children, this is when they read the final fluency assessment at 60–70+ words per minute. Older children can exit the Rapid Catch-up programme when they read the final fluency assessment at 90+ words per minute. At these levels, children should have sufficient fluency to tackle any book at age-related expectations. After exiting their programme, children do not need to ready any more fully decodable books.
  • A placement assessment is used:
    • with any child new to the school in Reception and Year 1 to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.
  • The Rapid Catch-up assessment is used
    • with any child new to the school in Year 2 and above to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan and provide appropriate extra teaching.

KS1 Statutory assessment

  • Children in Year 1 sit the Phonics screening check. Any child not passing the check re-sits it in Year 2.

Ongoing assessment for Rapid Catch-up in Years 2 to 6

  • Children in Year 2 to 6 are assessed through:
    • the Rapid Catch-up initial assessment to quickly identify any gaps in their phonic knowledge and plan appropriate teaching
    • the Rapid Catch-up summative assessments to assess progress and inform teaching
    • the Rapid Catch-up fluency assessments when children are reading the Phase 5 set 3, 4 and 5 books for age 7+.
  • The fluency assessments measure children’s accuracy and reading speed in short
    one-minute assessments. They also assess when children are ready to exit the Rapid Catch-up programme, which is when they read the final fluency assessment at 90+ words per minute.

After phonics

The impact of the school’s curriculum can be seen in the learning produced in children’s books and in the wider learning environment; we ensure the children are aware of work they have done well and what needs to be done to improve further through marking and feedback. Future planning is directly impacted by assessment for learning, and misconceptions and gaps identified through assessments. This ensures children’s learning is deep, and that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils. Additionally, previous learning is regularly revisited in order to ensure it is embedded.

We measure attainment using monitoring and book looks, benchmarking, Accelerated Reader, the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 national assessments. Our test data comes from SATs, benchmarking and Accelerate Reader. In addition, evidence from Guided Reading sessions (Reading Squads/ Reading Journals) is used to formatively assess children in order to identify gaps and plan subsequent lessons. Teachers regularly meet with senior leaders in school to monitor pupil progress and set effective targets.

Our well-planned English curriculum ensures that the children at St Nicholas-at-Wade children develop the skills, knowledge and vocabulary that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language. Through the breadth and depth that our curriculum offers, children are equipped with the skills to become lifelong learners, to enjoy and appreciate a rich variety of literature, and ultimately, to being the best they can be.  It leads them to become informed, enthusiastic and skilled readers and writers, who can engage with texts and the world around them, as reflective and independent thinkers.