We are delighted to announce that our recent Ofsted inspection (September 2023) was rated GOOD, with OUTSTANDING in Early Years.

English - Reading

Statement of Intent - Reading  

Open a book and discover a story and open your mind to the world on the pageThe wonder of words as they dance into action, draws you away to a different age.”  - Rebecca Lawrence, extract from her song, ‘Open a Book’ 

 It is our intention that all our children will leave St John the Baptist with a life-long love of readingThey feel confident in accessing a range of genres, can read with fluency and confidence, and are reflective readersWe have placed reading at the very core of our curriculum and believe that all our children have a right to a literacy-rich environment, with access to high quality and vocabulary rich texts across the whole curriculumWe are committed to helping our children establish an appreciation and passion for reading at all stages of their learning journeyWe encourage our children to read widely using both fiction and non-fiction texts, and where possible, make links with their termly topics.  

By the time children leave at Year 6, they will have been provided with a tool kit that they can take with them onto the next chapter of their learning journey, including: 

  • Reading with enjoyment across a range of genres 

  • Reading for pleasure as well as for information 

  • Building their bank of sight words to enable fluent reading 

  • Understanding and applying their knowledge of phonics and spelling patterns and use this to decode words with accuracy 

  • Reading and responding to a wide range of literature  

  • Understanding the layout and how to use different genres and text types of literature 

  • Having an interest in words and their meanings, developing a rich and varied vocabulary 

  • Understanding and responding to literature from a range of cultures and literary heritage 

  • The ability to read with expression, clarity, and confidence 

  • A deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy 

  • The skills required for in-depth reading and analysing 


Learning to read is one of the most important things a child will ever learn, as it underpins learning in everything they do within the curriculumAt St John the Baptist, we are dedicated in ensuring that every child learns to read as quickly as possible and develop a passion for reading along the way  


Children in EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and KS1 are following the Song of Sounds schemeThis is an engaging, fun, and interactive programme.  

Song of Sounds is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme, which runs from EYFS to Year 2.  The programme teaches children to read and write by introducing children to the sounds that they can hear in words (phonemes) and their written equivalent (graphemes)Children learn to blend sounds together to read words and segment words to spell them. 

Song of Sounds is also a multi-sensory phonics programme. It is hands-on and interactive with music, movement, and practical activities at its core, to ensure children enjoy the phonics learning process.  The programme ensures that children become fluent readers and knowledgeable spellers by the end of Key Stage 1. 

Our children receive daily Phonics sessions, which are taught discreetly in Early Years, Year 1 and Year 2The first four lessons are approximately 20 minutes with an hour’s consolidation lesson at the end of the weekWithin the Early Years indoor and outdoor environment, children can explore Phonics related activities independently throughout day. Children are assessed at the end of each unitUsing this information, teachers will determine whether children need further support in the development of their phonics. 

We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjectsAlongside this, the children are taught the ‘tricky words’ – high frequency words which do not follow the regular phonetic pattern. 

The children access decodable books to complement their learning and are regularly listened to by adults in the class. 


To develop the reading and comprehension skills in KS2, we have adapted the Reciprocal Reading approach to meet the needs of our childrenDelivered five times a week within each class, children access a quality text and develop the skills of clarifying (vocabulary), questioning, predicting, and summarising.  Using VIPERS, children learn a range of questioning techniques and how to respond to them using evidence from the text.  Children take on the roles of clarifier, questioner, predictor, and summariser during their reciprocal group session and then apply these skills later in the week with an independent comprehension 


To support our focus on reading, we have invested in the program ‘Accelerated Reader.’  We felt that this reading program would help develop a culture of ‘reading for pleasure,’ as well as allowing teachers, parents, and pupils to monitor progress and attainment  

At the beginning of the year, Key Stage 2 children take a STAR Reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. Questions continually adjust to the child’s responses. If the child’s response is correct, the difficulty level is increased. If the child misses a question, the difficulty level is reduced. The test uses multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 20 minutes to completeAfter undertaking this assessment, the class teacher is provided with a range of information related to the child’s reading abilityThis includes: their reading age, the difficulty range of books that a child should be reading  and how children can be supported to improve their reading comprehensionIn independent literature-based reading.   On completion of their book, children are invited to take a short online quiz.  

Children using Accelerated Reader choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them.  


At St John the Baptist, children are given time to read quietly and / or take an accelerated reader quiz at the start of the dayThis is called D.E.A.R. or Drop Everything and Read. 


Teachers regularly read quality texts to the children outside of their English and Reading lessonsThis is to promote a love of reading, and help to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing 

 “Following research by psychologists Philip Gough and William Tunmer (1986), they define reading comprehension as the outcome of an interaction between word reading (decoding) and spoken language comprehension. The act of reading aloud to the class from a challenging text may support the development of the children’s spoken language comprehension and therefore contribute to their reading comprehension skills...  Reading can be perceived as the interaction between the reader, the text and writer, and the social and cultural perspectives they explore: the act of deriving meaning from the communicative acts of others. By being exposed to a wide range of literature, children develop a depth of knowledge that supports them to comprehend and the motivation to read widely themselves.”   - EEF (Education Endowment Foundation) ‘Reading Aloud with your Class – what does the research say?’