At St Joseph’s we are passionate about the teaching of reading and aim for all of our pupils to become fluent, confident readers who have a genuine love and interest in reading. We truly believe reading is the key which unlocks the rest of the curriculum and therefore place high importance on this subject area within our curriculum offer.


Read Write Inc (RWI)


How phonics is taught

Children in FS2, Year 1 and Year 2 are taught RWI daily for a 1 hour timetabled lesson. Pupils are introduced to the Set 1 sounds in FS2 and they are encouraged to orally blend words with sounds they are familiar with. Pupils are introduced to alien nonsense words early within the RWI programme in order to assess their ability to decode and prepare them for the statutory phonics screening check. Alongside decodable words (green words), pupils are also introduced to high frequency words (red words) which are words that are not decodable. The pupils are encouraged to read and recall these words using sight reading and spotting the ‘tricky sound” which makes the word non-decodable using their phonics knowledge. Pupils are encouraged to look at the dots and dashes to indicate sounds within the words when they are first introduced to them.



We assess all pupils following Read Write Inc. Phonics using the Entry Assessment. We use this data to assign them to either Read Write Inc. Phonics or Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language. This gives us a very good indication of how well they are making progress relative to their starting points. We do this for all pupils, whenever they join us, so we can track all of them effectively. For those on the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme, we record their starting date and entry point on the tracker to monitor the rate at which they are making progress. We can also easily identify those who joined the programme later. We assess the children every half term and then they are regrouped according to their phonics knowledge and fluency when reading.



Reading books

Early in the programme, children are encouraged to read RWI books (both fiction and non-fiction) containing phonics sounds in which they are familiar and confident with. The pupils read the words inside the book beforehand on word cards and discuss the title of the story to encourage their prediction reading skills. Pupils are encouraged to read with a partner for support and to improve engagement. Afterwards, the children are asked questions linked to the content on the book to develop their early comprehension skills on retrieval.

Once the children have moved on to the Storybook part of the programme, they will start to take these home. The children take home a‘last and past’ Storybook – a previously read Storybook for extra practice. The children enjoy re-reading stories they know well. Their fluency improves on every reading. The will also take home a Book Bag Book. These books have guidance inside just for you as parents. They are matched to the books children read in school so provide practice of the same sounds – extra practice at the right level for your child. They include many of the same reading activities that we use in class.

Although phonically decodable books are key to children learning to read, we also expose children to a wide range of texts to build their love of reading. It is important that children listen to texts regularly to build their understanding of reading and the wider world. We have a daily story time, where sometimes the focus can be on enjoying a text being read aloud and understanding, rather than individual reading and decoding. We allow children to take home a book to share with their families, as well as their decodable Reading scheme book.

By doing this, we want to encourage parents to be part of a child’s reading journey and be part of a reading family, which research shows positively impacts attainment too. We have a large collection of rich, high-quality books, of all types, to promote this enjoyment of reading. Traditional tales, rhyme and repetitive language are particularly important focuses for early reading, however other genres such as non-fiction also play a key role in reading development. We focus on the vocabulary in the books, introducing new words and giving context to them so that the children can expand their own vocabulary.



Pupils who are focus children from assessment receive additional intervention. This is in the form of 1:1 and small group work to target specific sounds they are missing or not retaining or to work on an area which they are not progressing in, such as pace in reading. This ensures the pupils receive tailored support in order to make good progress within the programme. Some pupils in Key Stage 2 may continue to receive phonics intervention despite being off the programme.


Reciprocal reading

Pupils in Key Stage 2 classes are taught reciprocal reading which is timetabled for half hour lessons four times per week. The lessons are progressive and follow a structure to enable pupils to become fluent in the focus text and unpick it in depth in order to develop their reading skills to a high level.

Day 1 – Clarify

Pupils are introduced to words which have been identified by the teacher from the text as words the pupils may be unfamiliar with. These will often be words from tier 2 and 3 of tiered vocabulary (please see below).


These words are given to the pupils within the sentence and the teacher models using the different strategies below to find the meaning of the word. The pupils are then encouraged to work with their learning partner to find the meaning of other words from the text. Answers are then fedback and discussed.


Day 2 – fluency

Pupils take part in a pacey, engaging lesson where they use many different strategies (please see below) to read the text with fluency. The teacher will model some of these strategies to encourage pupils to read the text with meaning to develop their understanding.


Ping pong – this strategy encourages pupils to read with speed and stamina. The pupils work in pairs with the text in front of them. One partner will ‘ping’ with a hand gesture to signal their partner to continue reading from the word they have stopped on. The partner will then read and ‘pong’ with a hand gesture to signal to their partner for them to continue reading from the word they have stopped on. This also encourages pupils to follow the text and stay focused to be ready to read at any time.

Echo reading – this strategy is modelled by the teacher first then the whole class repeat back as a choral response. The teacher will model pausing and emphasising using intonation. This strategy develops pupils confidence to read with expression which is particularly importance around dialogue.

Swoop and scoop – this strategy is modelled by the teacher first then pupils may be asked to work on a piece of text themselves. The text is marked with a scoop underneath to indicate which words should be read without a pause. This strategy enables pupils to understand the importance of sentence construction within a text and emphasise how words scooped together provide a certain meaning.

Read aloud, think aloud – this strategy is again modelled by the teacher first then pupils may be asked to work on part of the text afterwards. The teacher models uncovering part of the text, thinking aloud about what the text has revealed, annotating these thoughts around it. This strategy encourages pupils to question and discuss what they read so they do not become passive readers.

Day 3 – Literal questions

Within this lesson pupils are provided with questions which are ‘find it, put your finger in it’ types of questions. These questions are retrieval questions which pupils can skim and scan the text to find the answer. The teacher may model this skill and pupils will answer a set of questions either independently or with their learning partner. The teacher will provide pupils with a variety of question styles such as sequencing events, find and copy, true or false to apply this skill in a range of contexts.

Day 4 – Inference questions

On this last lesson within the sequence, the pupils will have become very familiar with the text being covered which will enable them to be more successful at answering more complex questions. On this day, pupils answer ‘look for clues’ questions which require them to dig deeper beyond the surface of the text to interpret it. These questions often require pupils to make a point and support this with evidence from the text. Again the teacher may model this skill as well as ask pupils to work on questions themselves.

Once pupils complete this cycle on a piece of text they begin this sequence of lessons again on a different text or part of the text they are reading.


Reading for pleasure

At St Joseph’s we strive to encourage every child to develop of love of reading which will stay with them and make them lifelong readers. In order to support this, we show our children what it is to enjoy reading and allow them to feel the pleasure reading can bring. Guided by the research provided by Teresa Cremin, the Open University and the UK Literacy Association, teachers use strategies to model what Reading for Pleasure is and lead our children to make better book choices. This has included staff audits of children’s texts, authors and reading practices. Teachers take their time to prepare their classroom with a collection of books that they have carefully selected based on children’s interests and teacher’s author and book knowledge. The children may choose one of these books alongside their Collins Big Cat book and this can be read during the protected 15 minute Reading for Pleasure slot during the school day and shared at home as well. During Reading for Pleasure sessions, the class teacher may wish to read 1:1 with a child, read with a group of children, use the time to help specific children make better reading choices or even use the time to model Reading for Pleasure themselves as they enjoy their own book in class.

Core Story

We value the importance of children being able to listen to a story and being exposed to high quality texts. Core story is a protected time slot at the beginning of the day where the class teacher reads aloud to the class with no agenda but to enjoy a story being read to them. Each class is assigned six books and every half term the teacher will select a new core story to read to the class. The selection of books has been collated based on the Teresa Cremin Reading for Pleasure research and the level of lexical difficulty and supports a cross curricula approach to learning. We aim to provide children with a range of vocabulary rich texts, as well as a variety of authors, traditional stories and cultural and historical references.

Each year group will include six texts based on the following criteria:


The Year 4 example of texts also contains the Lexile Score which should always be ambitious. During core story, children are expected to listen and engage with the story; however, questioning should not be made too challenging and detract from the story.


Collins Big Cat reading scheme


Pupils in Key Stage 2 access the Collins Big Cat reading scheme which has a progressive colour band with a variety of books linked to each reading level. The children are assessed to ensure they are correctly matched to the book band they are selected. Pupils take these books home to read with their parents/carers and have their book changed frequently. This scheme ensures the pupils are supported to access reading material linked to their current developmental stage and ensures children make progress in reading beyond their daily reading lessons.


Reading logs and rewards

Parents/carers are encouraged to record what their child has read at home (from a RWI book, Collins Big Cat book or book for pleasure) in their child’s reading log. These are checked daily by members of staff and pupils are awarded with class dojo points if they have read at home. Pupils will have their books changed frequently and when needed if they have finished their book. These are also logged on a record in school.



Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. Our approach to Phonics looks at more than just reading: it is a holistic approach which focusses on decoding, comprehension, and vocabulary development as an overall approach. It promotes a consistency within reading across school so that we can give our young people the best possible start and ensure that they can all become confident, fluent readers. To support the provision of Early Reading and Phonics at St Joseph’s, we have a dedicated RWI Leader, who is available on a fortnightly basis to support the quality of delivery of phonics and provide real-time, on-the-spot coaching as necessary to ensure there is consistently high quality teaching of phonics at St Joseph’s.

By ensuring that children are confident and fluent readers at the end of Key Stage 1 allows the opportunity for a focus on the development of their comprehension of texts in further depth as they move through Key Stage Two. The Reciprocal Reading structure provides a base for children to study extracts in detail to unpick the vocabulary, read at pace and answer a range of question types and styles.

Timetabling core story daily alongside independent reading time and daily reading lessons ensures all of our children receive a varied reading diet which encourages them to love reading and see it at the heart of our curriculum.



Writing is a crucial part of the curriculum at St Joseph’s. Our core objective is to foster a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas with clarity and creativity through the use of a wide vocabulary informed by high-quality reading texts and bespoke strategies. We also intend to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. We set high expectations for all our children to take pride in their work and have a fluent, cursive handwriting style alongside allowing their imaginations to flourish.



In order to help us to develop confident, enthusiastic writers who can express themselves with confidence and strong vocabulary, we develop very close links between writing, reading and our wider curriculum. This provides our children with regular opportunities to write in a range of styles and for a range of purposes and audiences.


Our approach to teaching Writing is through clear, structured, daily Literacy lessons including a weekly Grammar lesson. Teachers use engaging texts and topics to inspire their writing.


In each lesson, the teaching of vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, speaking and listening objectives are interwoven so that children have the opportunity to learn these features in context. All lessons build up to a piece of Independent Writing at the end of a unit of work (weekly or bi-weekly). This enables teachers to assess the children’s writing and inform future teaching needs. Children are given time to plan, draft, edit and improve their written work, using feedback from teachers and peers to support them.


Children learn spellings at home each week and these are tested in school.  A bespoke spelling scheme linked to the national curriculum ensures spellings are taught explicitly four times per week and are linked to our handwriting policy.



The impact of our writing curriculum is sustained progress, learning and transferrable skills across all subjects and disciplines for our children.  With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught consistently and thoroughly in both key stages, children are confident writers. By the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills to suit purpose, organisation and audience. By the end of Year Six, children will be able to write clearly, accurately and adapt their language and style appropriately. Our pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word. Most importantly, they will develop a love of writing and be well equipped for the rest of their education.