St Mary's Church of England (Voluntary Controlled) Infant School

St Mary's C of E Infant School

Early Reading

A love of reading

Reading is the key to all learning. Without it, children cannot confidently access learning in other subjects. It is a vital skill for life, and one which opens many doors of opportunity and imagination.

We know from research that children who read well have a more extensive vocabulary and are more successful at school and beyond. We see it as our duty to ensure we foster a love of reading in all our pupils and inspire them to be lifelong readers.


Reading needs to be taught frequently at a high quality and with a vast quantity of rich literature and texts of both fiction and non-fiction. We believe reading is the bedrock to ensuring children prosper and flourish at St Mary's. Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. We use a quality first phonics programme called Sounds-Write to enable children to learn the skills required to blend, segment and manipulate sounds. It is a very highly structured, multi-sensory, incremental and code-oriented, instructional approach to teaching children to read and spell.


In reception, we want children to know some familiar stories by heart and to enjoy participating in stories with rhyme and repetition. They learn to make choices based on their preferences and enjoy sharing and discussing books together. Alongside this, the children in reception read phonetically decodable books in line with the sounds they have been taught in their Sounds-Write phonics lessons.

They progress through our reading scheme systematically, ensuring they practise their skills to become competent readers.

The books we use for this are a combination of:


  • Jelly and Bean
  • Sounds Write 
  • Dandelion readers

When the children know enough of the code to begin to read more independently, we also use Maverick Early Readers and Rising Stars Planet Galaxy which are no longer organised by sounds, but continue to increase in difficulty. These books are sent home as a sharing book for parents to read collaboratively with their children. Please watch the video below to find out about how to use our reading books with your children. 


In Year 1 and 2 there is a daily reading lesson. This will either be a guided reading or whole class reading lesson. The teaching of reading is not limited to this time however – it is an integral part of every single lesson at St. Mary's. Children read widely for a range of purposes in all curriculum areas and we have planned this reading carefully to match what is being taught.  


By the time children leave St Mary's they are keen readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres and can confidently participate in discussions about books.

Reading will be assessed using:


  • Phonic Screening Check
  • Regular phonics assessment
  • Formative assessment during guided and whole class reading 
  • PM Benchmarking Assessment
  • Year 2 TAF (teacher framework) and exemplification documents to support in school moderation of this specific year group
  • KS1 SATS