St George the Martyr CE

Primary School

‘Go shine in the world and live as Jesus did with compassion, honesty and integrity.’

English - how we learn to read and write

Reading at St George the Martyr CE Primary School

Reading is integral to learning and we aim to develop a love of reading in all of our learners. At St George the Martyr, we believe that reading is the foundation to accessing the full curriculum and we are determined that every child learns to read and experiences success in reading from the very beginning. It is vital that you establish a reading culture at home too, and make time to read with your child every day. Children who do best in education have had a good foundation in talk and literature at home. Reading to your child and ensuring that they are reading to you regularly is the single most important thing you can do to help them educationally. It also benefits them emotionally and socially. The world makes so much more sense to those that are read to and who read often. Children who see themselves as readers can learn to the full, discover their own talents and interests and explore the limits of their imagination and creativity.


Strategies to Teach Reading


Reading in Reception and KS1

  • The foundation of early reading is learning to decode fluently through systematic synthetic phonics. At St George the Martyr, children in Reception and KS1 take part in daily phonics lessons using the DFE’s Letters and Sounds resource programme. They learn synthetic phonics in an integrated way, which links their reading and writing.


  • Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to: recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes; identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’; and blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word. Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see. They experience success from the very beginning. The phonic ‘Bug Club’ books used in lessons are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and as children re-read the stories their fluency increases. This helps children to learn to read with a storyteller’s voice.



  • In KS1, children have Guided Reading lessons in addition to Phonics lessons. They read with an adult at least once a week, and participate in a range of activities to help develop their word reading and comprehension skills, as well as promoting a love of reading for pleasure. Children read Oxford Reading Tree banded books matched to their current phonic knowledge and instructional reading level.


Reading in KS2

  • In KS2, children take part in whole class Destination Reader lessons every day, with a focus on developing more complex comprehension skills. Destination Reader is an approach to teaching reading at KS2 that can be applied to all texts. Its main focus is on developing key reading strategies which support comprehension and enable a deeper understanding of texts. There is also a focus on partner work and discussion, and children are taught learning behaviours that support dialogue.


Reading Assessment

  • In the Early Years and Year 1, children are assessed regularly within their lessons. They learn sounds and practise reading every day at exactly the right level.


  • Children in KS1 and KS2 are regularly assessed in reading using PM Benchmarking Assessment Resources. The PM Benchmark Reading Assessment Resources have been designed to explicitly assess children’s instructional and independent reading levels using unseen, meaningful texts. By providing accurately levelled fiction and non-fiction texts ranging progressively from emergent levels to reading age 12, teachers are able to rigorously access children’s fluency and retelling strategies while determining their comprehension within and beyond the text.


Reading at Home

At St George the Martyr, we believe that reading is the key to success. We know through research that reading regularly and developing strong reading skills from an early age improves children's performance across the curriculum. It is important that children read daily at home as well as at school.


Children at the Early Stages of Reading

Children take home two reading books each week:

  • A Phonics Bug Club book that they are familiar with;
  • A book at their current instructional reading level to read with the support of an adult;
  • A book they have chosen themselves from their class reading corner to share with an adult and read for pleasure. This book may be one that is too difficult for the child to read alone and is for the parent or carer to share with the child, enjoy and discuss. 


Fluent Readers

Children take home two reading books each week:

  • A book that is closely matched to their current independent reading level;
  • A book they have chosen themselves from their class reading corner to share with an adult and read for pleasure. This book may be one that is too difficult for the child to read alone and is for the parent or carer to share with the child, enjoy and discuss. 


These books are changed when the child finishes the book and this is monitored by the class teacher.


Celebrating Our Children’s Success as Readers

We believe that it is important to celebrate our children’s successes as readers at home and, through our home reading rewards system children’s efforts are recognised and celebrated. Each week, the number of completed reading records are counted up and the class with the highest percentage, gets the reading trophy in their classroom for the week. They also get a special mention on the weekly newsletter to parents.


Writing at St George the Martyr CE Primary School

We want every child to leave school as effective and confident communicators who love writing. We teach writing as an individual subject for two lessons each week. Our ‘Units of Work’ in writing have been carefully crafted by teachers and link to the grammar curriculum that is being taught in grammar lessons that week. Children produce a complex extended piece of writing every week. In order to do this they talk, plan, write, edit and rewrite during the week. High quality texts are chosen to help ensure that children are inspired in their writing. Children also take part in drama and other speaking and listening activities to formulate ideas about what to write. There is a focus on planning ideas as well as thinking about the task, audience and purpose. Children are taught to write in a variety of styles in context such as narrative, persuasive, journalistic, recounts and reports. Children learn how to vary sentences, make interesting and ambitious word choices, and use grammar and punctuation correctly. Each piece of written work is carefully modelled by teachers and scaffolded through using ‘success criteria’ to guide a child and then marked by highlighting real successes and an area for improvement. Children are taught explicit grammar skills in weekly grammar lessons. These grammar skills are then practised during the weekly writing lessons. Children also have weekly spelling lessons, where children are taught spelling rules and conventions. The children are then given spellings to learn for homework which they are tested on the following week.