St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School

Growing Together in Faith, Love and Learning


“The Lord gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance.”  (Habakkuk 2:2)


* Foster a love of reading by listening to and interacting with a broad range of literature.

* Provide children with necessary life-long skills to ensure they can read confidently and with a secure understanding.

* Build a community of engaged readers who turn to reading for meaning and pleasure by engaging with parents and carers.

* Provide plenty of opportunities to read for pleasure.

* Ensure reading is a transferable skill and that children are reading across the wider curriculum.

* Develop a consistent approach to reading teaching in order to close any gaps and target the highest number of children attaining the expected standard or higher.


We view reading as an entitlement for all, and that reading is one of the keys to academic success. By centring reading at the core of our curriculum, we are instilling in children an understanding that reading is a transferable skill that will benefit them in all subjects. We ensure that children read within and outside of reading lessons, where they can read for a range of purposes.

Learning to Read

A Systematic Approach – In our school, we use a systematic synthetic phonics programme called ‘Sounds~Write.’ (see Curriculum Page – Early Reading Phonics). All children have daily phonics or spelling sessions where they participate in speaking, listening, spelling and reading activities that are matched to their developing needs.

Daily Reading Practise – Throughout the school, all children read aloud daily during phonics, guided reading and whilst participating in other subjects. Where phonics is a primary focus in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1 (KS1), in Key Stage 2 (KS2), the focus is primarily on comprehension, as the expectation is that children will read with an appropriate level of fluency by the end of Year 2. Those who don’t continue with Sounds~Write teaching.  As children regularly read aloud, teachers engage in ongoing formative assessments to provide the right level of support for developing needs.

Access to appropriate Books – In EYFS and KS1, children are provided with books that are closely matched to their current phonetic awareness level. In addition to this, children are able to select books from our library to share at home with their families and to further foster a love of reading and stories.   In KS2 children have homereaders matched to their book band level of reading.  In addition in KS2, class library books have been carefully matched to the children’s year group and children freely choose these books. Teachers monitor choices to ensure texts are appropriate for reading ability and suitably challenging.

Assessment – The school utilises summative assessments written by the National Foundation for Educational Research in order to help validate teacher judgements of reading ability. This tool also allows teachers to accurately pinpoint cohort specific strengths and weaknesses in relation to the different reading skills.  End of Key Stage classes use SATs questions and EYFS/KS1 chidren have diagnostic testing from Sounds~Write.

Home Reading – In KS2, teachers monitor what children are reading.  Teachers closely monitor progress to determine when best to move children to the next level.


Reading to Learn

Daily Comprehension – We recognise that systematic, high-quality phonics teaching is essential, but additional skills and opportunities are required for children to become accomplished readers.  Comprehension opportunities are woven throughout our daily Class Novel ‘Love of Reading’ time approach and Guided Reading.

Reading Across the Curriculum – Teachers provide opportunities to read in different subject areas, either to further their understanding of topics, or to develop their emotional literacy (e.g. in Personal, Health and Social Education).

Clearly Structured Lessons – Guided Reading lessons follow this structure:

1 x guided reading focus based on class novel.

3 x Linked lessons based on a common theme.

Strong Vocabulary Development – High-quality texts and passages are chosen in guided reading lessons, appropriate to the expectations of the year groups or abilities of the children. Vocabulary is explored and developed, with teachers providing opportunities to explore definitions of new words and make links between these words and known words before reading takes place to ensure that children are supported to understand the text.


Reading for Pleasure

Teachers read aloud to children in all classes throughout the school right after lunch.  This is a bespoke collection of carefully curated books, from classics to the contemporary. The spine allows teachers to facilitate discussions that explore complex and diverse themes and encourages children to make links both within and between texts. The spine is kept under constant review.

Throughout the school, children are offered high-quality books that reflect the diversity of our modern world. Class libraries are well-stocked and is run by pupil librarians who are on-hand to assist children making independent selections with recommendations where needed.


Inclusion – Teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure that children are challenged, and they identify those who may need further support.
The following interventions are used with identified children:

Nessy Programme

KS2 Phonics Intervention

Small group Sounds~Write interventions.

Additional 1:1 individual reading sessions.


By engaging in and listening to high-quality texts, children display enthusiasm for reading and choose to read for pleasure.

As we believe that reading is key to all learning, the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of statutory assessments, and essential skills allow children to transition confidently.

Children read for meaning and for pleasure; staff enthusiastically share texts and show themselves as readers and parents and carers actively support us.

A high number of children achieve the expected standard or higher, and through targeted intervention, those who find reading challenging are helped to catch up.



Class Reading Spine Lists

We know that reading is an open door to all other learning opportunities. Our children know that reading frequently makes them a good reader, and being a good reader expands their world. Fundamentally, we want our school to be a place where children are read to, enjoy, discuss and work with high quality books.

Our ‘Reading Spine’ is one element of the approach we take to foster a love for reading in our children. The spine is a core of books that create a living library inside our children’s minds.  It is a store of classics and essential reads that help children engage at a deeper level and enter the world of the story.  We have produced our very own ‘Reading Spine’ for every year group so that children have access to these high quality texts.

The texts are frequently reviewed and carefully selected to ensure they represent our diverse community; we want every child to recognise themselves in the books we offer.




It is well-known that children love sharing stories and books. The Good Child Report from York University in 2016 shows us that reading for fun most days is something that makes children happy. In school, we also see greater rates of progress for children who share stories and a love of reading at home.

Storytime – Reading aloud

Here is a list of ten things that your child learns when you read aloud to them:

  1. sustain attention;
  2. appreciate rhythm and rhyme;
  3. build pictures in their minds from the words on the page;
  4. understand humour and irony;
  5. use new words and phrases in different contexts  – and later in writing;
  6. learn new vocabulary and knowledge of the world;
  7. think about characters’ feelings and use appropriate voices;
  8. follow a plot with all of its twists and turns;
  9. understand suspense and predict what’s about to happen next and
  10. link sentences and ideas from one passage to the next.

The trick to creating a great story time is to make it truly special. Here are a list of some of our top tips:

Make it a treat

Introduce each new book with excitement.

‘I can’t wait to read this one!’

Make it a special quiet time

Find a cosy spot and cuddle up together.

Show curiosity

Be curious about the book and approach it with intrigue.

‘I wonder what will happen…’

Chat about the story

Raise questions and be inquisitive about the story.

‘I wonder why he did that? Oh no, I hope she’s not going to…’

Link to other stories and experiences

Think together about what the story reminds you of so that your children are making meaningful connections between things they have learnt.

‘This reminds me of the time when…’ ‘Do you think this is a little bit like that book we were reading…’

Read favourites over and over again

Encourage your children to join with the bits they know. Avoid saying, ‘Not that story again!’

Use different voices

Bring the story to life with your voice!

Love the book

Read with passion and enjoyment – it really will rub off on your child.


How to support your children’s comprehension

Whilst your child is reading to you, and after they have finished reading, you can use questions like the ones below to help hone and bolster their comprehension skills:


Questions that explore the meaning of words and phrases to help understand the text:

  • ‘What does the word _____ mean in this sentence?’
  • What do the words _____ and _____ suggest about the character, setting and mood?’
  • Which word tells you that…?’
  • Which keyword tells you about the character/setting/mood?’
  • Find one word in the text which means…’’
  • Find and highlight the word that is closest in meaning to…’
  • Find a word or phrase which shows/suggests that…’
  • ‘Can you think of any other words the author could have used to describe this?’


Questions that encourage children to use their own thoughts, feelings and opinions in order to answer:

  • ‘How do these words make the reader feel? How does this paragraph suggest this?’
  • ‘How do the descriptions of … show that they are …’
  • ‘How can you tell that…’’
  • ‘What impression of … do you get from these paragraphs?’
  • ‘What voice might these characters use?’
  • ‘What was … thinking when…’
  • ‘Who is telling the story?’


Questions that direct children to predict what they think will happen based on the information they have been given so far:

  • ‘From the cover what do you think this text is going to be about?’
  • ‘What is happening now? What happened before this? What will happen after?’
  • ‘What does this paragraph suggest will happen next? What makes you think this?’
  • ‘Do you think the choice of setting will influence how the plot develops?’
  • ‘Do you think… will happen? Yes, no or maybe? Explain your answer using evidence from the text.’


Questions that require children to think about the intentions of the author and the choices they make:

  • ‘Why is the text arranged in this way?’
  • ‘What structures has the author used?’
  • ‘What is the purpose of this text feature?’
  • ‘Is the use of … effective?’
  • ‘The mood of the character changes throughout the text. Find a phrase which shows this.’
  • ‘What is the author’s point of view?’
  • ‘What effect does… have on the audience?’
  • ‘How does the author engage the reader here?’
  • ‘Which words and phrases did ….. effectively?’
  • ‘Which section was the most interesting/exciting part?’
  • ‘How are these sections linked?’


Questions that direct children to find answers directly from within the text. You can often put your finger under these answers:

  • ‘Who…?’
  • ‘Where did…?’
  • ‘When did…?’
  • ‘What happened when…?’
  • ‘Why did… happen?’
  • ‘How did…?’
  • ‘How many…?’
  • ‘What happened to…?’
  • ‘What kind of text is this?’


Questions that challenge children to put events in order or to talk about them chronologically:

  • ‘Can you number these events 1-5 in the order that they happened?’
  • ‘What happened after…?’
  • ‘What was the first thing that happened in the story?’
  • ‘Can you tell me in a sentence what happened in the opening/middle/end of the story?’
  • ‘In what order do these chapter headings come in the story?’

Summarising (KS2)

Questions that challenge children to express information succinctly, include key information and to avoid unnecessary detail:

  • ‘What were the key events leading up to…?’
  • ‘What happened before…?’
  • ‘How did the story open?’
  • ‘What were the main events that happened in this chapter?’




* Deliver an engaging and exciting curriculum that helps develop a love of writing and inspires children to want to write. 

* Encourage children to be imaginative, and to bring this to their writing.

* Provide children with the essential skills in grammar, spelling, punctuation and composition that will be life-long. 

* Support children to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word.

* Develop children into writers with an understanding of the writing process, including proofreading and editing to enhance their work.

* Support children to be articulate and confident communicators who express themselves and enhance their learning when engaging in discussions. 

* Create a culture where children love to read and take pride in their writing. 


A Clear Writing Process –  The delivery of our English lesson is planned and delivered using the Lancashire Planning Document for English and children are exposed to a wide range of genres throughout their school journey. Lessons are planned and delivered so children develop a love for books, write for a range of purposes and audiences and are inspired to become the writers of the future. Children will explore a variety of text types as they progress through school, developing and applying skills they learn.

The Teaching Sequence

Our agreed teaching sequence for the English units are;

  • Phase 1: Creating Interest and shared outcome
  • Phase 1: Reading: responding and analysing
  • Phase 2: Gathering content
  • Phase 3: Writing
  • Phase 3/4: Presentation

The amount of time spent in any one phase needs is tailored to each unit and each cohort’s needs.

Strong Grammar Teaching – Children are taught to use precise grammatical terminology and discuss and learn from the works of notable authors through the English Units. Stand alone grammar lessons are taught if required, particularly in preparation for SATs. 

High-Quality Texts – Throughout the school, children have access to high-quality texts and visual stimuli which spark imagination and inspire ideas for writing. Texts are also used to explore layout and language features of specific genres. 

Progression to Cursive Script – Correct letter formation is taught from the EYFS. Once Year 1 children are confident with letter formation, they are introduced to cursive handwriting, which is further developed in Year 2.  Handwriting is taught regularly to ensure that the majority of children are writing using cursive script by the end of Year 1. In KS2, handwriting is reinforced through modelling, but handwriting lessons can be taught if cohorts require them.  

Spelling – In KS1, children are supported to improve their spelling choices through engagement with Sounds~Write. In addition to this, children are taught how to spell the common exception words from the National Curriculum.  In KS2, the children follow the progression of spelling.

Validating Teacher Judgements – Teacher’s take part in external and internal moderation.  This is an opportunity for teachers to have children’s writing viewed and validated by their peers in school and with teachers in our cluster. 



Children are engaged and thoughtful in lessons.

Children know more and remember more and have skills which equip them to progress from their starting points.

Children have strong writing skills that allow them to access the whole curriculum and transition to secondary with confidence.

Writing is high-quality and well-presented in a range of ways.

Children’s understanding of the writing process helps them make good progress, with a high percentage achieving age-related expectations.

Communication skills are strengthened and they can articulate themselves well.