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Early Reading



We want all children to develop a love of language for language’ sake. We aim to develop our children’s ability to use spoken and written language to communicate effectively – to listen, speak, read and write both in and for a wide range of contexts, purpose and audiences.

We want our children to read fluently and with confidence in any subject by the time they are ready to move to secondary school. We want our children to love reading and to want to read for themselves.

We want our children to acquire a wide vocabulary, a good understanding of grammar in context and to be able to spell new words by applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in our school.

We want our children to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style as necessary. We believe that all children should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing and aim to develop a legible, joined handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school.  We want our children to understand that all good writers refine and edit their writing before producing a final published copy therefore we want our children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in a piece of writing and edit their work during and after the writing process.

We recognise that each child has their own starting point upon entry to every year group and progress is measured in line with these starting points to ensure that every child can celebrate success.


Speaking & Listening
As soon as children enter St Peter’s School, we place a great emphasis on developing their oracy skills. We have a firm belief that if children “can’t speak it, they can’t write it”. Therefore children are constantly encouraged to articulate their sentences before beginning to write them down. The focus on oracy continues as children progress through the school with Storytelling, Drama and Talk for Writing strategies.

We work on promoting a love of reading in all children and fostering a text rich environment where children understand how language works as well as develop the skills they need to be proficient readers and to interpret texts accurately. Around school, you will see displays which celebrate authors, inspiring reading corners and spaces and a well-stocked and vibrant Library area. In addition to this, throughout the year the importance of reading is enhanced through activities such as World Book Day, author visits, storyteller visits, book-based dance workshops and book fairs. 

Early Reading

We follow the Little Wandle approach to teaching Reading and Phonics. Our approach is systematic, consistent and rigorous in order for all children to become readers as quickly as possible. We use the same phonics programme across the school providing continuity and a tool for guaranteed progression.

Daily phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1

We teach phonics for 30 minutes a day. In Reception, we build from 10-minute lesson, with additional daily oral blending games, to the full-length lessons as quickly as possible. We use the same phonics programme across the school providing continuity and a tool for guaranteed progression. 

Daily Keep-up lessons

Any child needing 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 for any child in Year 2 who is not fully fluent at reading or has not passed the Phonics Screening Check. We use the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessments to identify the gaps in their phonic knowledge. 

If any child in Year 3 to 6 has gaps in their phonic knowledge when reading or writing, we plan phonics 'catch-up' lessons to address specific reading/writing gaps. 

Reading Practice Sessions in Reception and Year 1

Reading sessions happen three times a week. These are taught by a fully trained adult to small groups of approximately 6 children. Books are matched to the children's secure phonic knowledge. Each session focusses on one of three key reading skills: decoding, prosody and comprehension. In Year 2 to 6, we continue to teach reading in this way for any children who still need to practise reading with decodable books. 

Teaching Reading beyond Little Wandle

Reading is taught 3 times a week using VIPERS. VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of 6 reading domains; the key areas children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.  The 6 domains focus on Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Sequencing or Summarising. 




Early writing is taught through early mark making, then when the children begin Little Wandle phonics, they are taught the correct letter formations. This begins with writing CVC words, moving onto short sentences using the sounds they have been taught. EYFS children are encouraged to write independently during continuous provision.

From Y1-Y6, the English curriculum is taught by studying the high-quality text from the English Learning Journey every half term, from which various writing opportunities are then derived. Each week, the children are taught to develop an understanding of how the text flows through reading comprehension, exploring key themes, events and plot of the texts being studied. From the text, children are taught the grammar elements of the NC, corresponding to the genres being written as part of the writing process. Children are then supported in how to apply the grammatical content taught in identifying features of a high-quality ‘Model Text’ before progressing to plan, write and edit a written piece which matches the purpose and audience. Children receive regular feedback from both teachers and their peers in the writing process.

We aim to provide our pupils with a ‘language rich’ environment and within our classrooms, we explore ambitious vocabulary in all lessons and use our working walls to acquire an understanding of new and unknown words as well as words in our Tier 2 and Tier 3 lists. We use the No Nonsense Spelling scheme for children in Y2-6 who no longer need Little Wandle phonics. Children are given weekly words to learn at school and at home in preparation for a spelling test at the end of the week.

We adopt a cross-curricular approach throughout the school to enable the skills that are learnt through the English curriculum to be applied in all other subject areas.


We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English curriculum in a variety of ways.

Phonics progression is assessed through regular Little Wandle assessments and past Phonics Screening Checks. If required, Placement Assessments are made for children who need to plug gaps in their Phonics knowledge.

We use NFER summative testing, past SATs papers in Years 2 and 6, Accelerated Reader Star Reading tests and book band level checks each term to assess pupils’ outcomes for reading. This enables progress and attainment in reading to be analysed and evaluated in order to identify the next steps of learning.

We formally assess an extended piece of writing each term, using a consistent format for assessment, which enables progress and attainment to be analysed and evaluated in order to identify the next steps of learning. Moderation of writing takes place in school between year groups. Where possible, moderation with other schools is carried out to ensure accurate judgements are being made.

The quality of reading and writing in English is evaluated by learning walks, drop-ins, ‘pupil voice’ discussions and book looks. This informs the subject leader of the impact of new initiatives as well as future areas for improvement. After monitoring, the subject leader provides feedback to SLT and individuals/whole staff to address areas for development.

Children at St Peter’s School enjoy reading regularly both for information and for enjoyment. They are able to discuss the books they have read with enthusiasm and recall detail. They are able to apply the features of different writing genres and styles to their own work and are able to write for different audiences and purposes.

The impact of the English curriculum is clearly developing with our revised way of teaching. There is evidence of progress, sustained learning and transferable skills and children are becoming more confident writers. By the time they are in Upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and they are able to apply the skills independently.​​​​​



Inclusion is so important in English at St Peter's. We aim to provide for all children so that they achieve as highly as they can in English according to their individual abilities. We will identify which pupils or groups of pupils are under-achieving and take steps to improve their attainment. Gifted children will be identified and suitable learning challenges provided in lessons. 

Pupils’ progress is closely monitored by the class teacher through a range of formative and summative assessments. Pupils needing extra support are identified by the class teacher with input from the class teaching assistant and their needs discussed with the Senior Leadership Team during Pupil Progress Meeting held three times a year. As a result of this, appropriate interventions are planned by the class teacher in collaboration with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator and class teaching assistant. Interventions are outlined on the class provision map and outcomes are monitored closely.

Within lessons, pupils are provided with resources to help them to achieve their best, such as the Grow the Code sound mat, Common Exception Word banks, handwriting guides and scaffolded tasks. We are fortunate to have access to a range of technology in our school, including translators, dictation software and braille resources. Support may come from working with an adult, or from working with their peers. Classrooms are designed to support pupils with learning walls to reinforce retrieval of knowledge and resources the children can access at all times. 

Useful Links

A useful website for checking book levels and points

Parents Guide to our Phonics scheme - Little Wandle

Reading Eggs

Spelling Frame 

Powerpoint from Reception Parents' Phonics meeting held on 13th October 2021

Powerpoint from Year 1 and 2 Parents' Phonics and Early Reading meeting held on 2nd December 2021

How to read with your child