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The Federation of St Cuthbert's and St Mary's puts reading at the heart of the curriculum. We strive to foster a love of reading at school and at home. We believe reading is an entitlement that should enable children to connect with some of the finest words ever written. It should open up a world of possibility and intrigue and is a fundamental life skill which, enables children to communicate effectively in all areas and equips them for the challenges they will face in the wider world. 


We aim to have pupils leave St Mary’s and St Cuthbert’s as lifelong readers, who have an instilled love for reading in them. In order to do this, children are encouraged to read widely and are exposed to a variety of genres. Reading across all subjects within the curriculum will prepare pupils for life beyond the Primary Classroom, where they will be taking with them the skills required for in-depth reading and analysing.


Speaking and listening is prioritised in order to build vocabulary for all learners in order to understand more complex texts. We provide a reading rich environment where pupils can access text linked to the 5 plagues of reading, curriculum areas and their own areas of interest.


We intend that our pupils will be both independent and reflective readers who can read fluently and for meaning.


We provide rich, meaningful discussions around texts, where all children feel confident and able to contribute by using their reading skills to access all areas of learning.

We use approaches that encourages children to spot clues and apply strategies to understand texts at a deep level


We bring reading to life and give it purpose using music, drama and performance.






Early reading is prioritised in EYFS and KS1. It is underpinned by a coherent and systematic phonics scheme which is taught daily. All teaching staff in EYFS and KS1 have high quality training in teaching phonics and members of staff have the opportunity to share good practice amongst each other to ensure consistency and the same high standards are met across the key stages.


For early reading and phonics we carry out a baseline assessment as children enter EYFS and KS1. We continue to assess children's phonics skills each half-term using phonics assessments in Reception and Year 1 that follow a similar pattern to daily lessons: phoneme / grapheme awareness, segmenting and blending, reading and writing.

Whole class phonics sessions are taught daily in Reception and Year 1 with those who are struggling to grasp key elements taught receiving additional phonics sessions. This is to ensure all pupils receive equal exposure to teaching material for their age group and are given the same opportunity to learn. 




The foundations are laid in nursery with a strong focus on speaking and listening skills. These are crucial for reading and are practiced throughout the day through a variety of fun phase 1 activities, listening to stories and joining in with song and rhyme.


Linking sounds and letters:

Pupils get used to letter sounds by playing lots of activities. They will begin to learn how phonemes in words re represented in written form by a letter or graphemes.

Telling Stories:

There is a strong focus on sharing stories, songs and rhymes together and building talking and listening skills. There are plenty of opportunities to hear and enjoy stories together. They are encouraged to retell stories in their own words to help build talking and listening skills.

Singing songs and rhymes:

Hearing and learning songs and nursery rhymes is an important part of the reading curriculum. Children explore sounds and begin learning story language and story structure



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