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The Teaching and learning of Reading at St Mark’s Primary School


We place a high emphasis on reading standards across the school and aim to inspire a love of reading.  Reading is delivered using varied approaches to ensure the mechanics of reading are taught and embedded to support fluency. Comprehension skills and new vocabulary is explicitly taught through a range of text and pupils are given opportunities to explore and apply their skills across the curriculum.  Our intention is also to develop and inspire a love of literature and expose pupils to high quality literature, which sees our children reading age-appropriate books both inside and outside of school. 


Synthetic phonics and early reading is taught through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. It is a systematic, synthetic phonics programme, validated by the Department of Education, that ranges from Nursery to Year 2.  Its primary focus is on using the skills of decoding and blending sounds together to form words. Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows the Little Wandle sequence which allows children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master strategies as they progress.   We also model these strategies across the curriculum.   Children read phonically decodable books linked to the Letter and Sounds phrases. In Year 3, catch-up sessions are set up for pupils working below the expected reading level for their age; these aim to address gaps and accelerate progress.   






Daily phonics and/or reading lessons take place every morning along the follow pattern:

Year group








Use of letters and sounds

Singing phonics

Little Wandle from Summer Term


Year 1




Little Wandle Phase 2 and 3 with assessment every 6 weeks + small phonics group (Review, teach, practise and apply


Year 2

3 x per week



Whole class catch up programme



Year 3


Daily 9.30am


Daily small group catch up program and revision



Years 2-6




Teaching of reading follows the  model below :

                                           Monday – Text Talk

                                           Tuesday -Word detective retrieval practise

                                           Wednesday-Thinking Caps- Inference practise

                                           Thursday -Building Blocks- Structure and Grammar

                                           Friday -Point of View- Longer answers


  • All staff from Nursery to Year 3 have been trained in the delivery of Little Wandle   


  • Reading books are used that are linked to the Little Wandle phonics scheme, enabling children to decode words using their synthetic phonics
  • All Year groups have and keep reading records and pupils are encouraged to read at home.
  • Pupils in Years 2-6 participate in the ‘Teaching of Reading’ every day between 9.00-9.30am and each day focuses on a different component of reading.
  • All classes have an end of day reading time within class
  • Wherever possible, and without compromising the quality of the literature, the texts have been linked to the thematic content of termly topics to further enhance knowledge and provide a purpose and content to writing, particularly for non-fiction.
  • Pupils participate in half term visits to our local library, Durning Library, to foster a love of reading
  • World Book Day is celebrated every year, allowing the children to dress up as book characters and enabling the school to raise the profile and importance of reading
  • Phonics workshops are held for parents to support them in reading with their children at home
  • Classes visit the school library on a weekly basis
  • There has been a recent investment in bilingual texts to support our children and families who speak English as a second language



  • The school follows a writing scheme called the ‘Literacy Tree’ which embeds high quality texts in order to inspire writing
  • The skills that are taught across the week are: fluency, retrieval, inference and deduction, structure and grammar.  Children record their answers to questions in their reading journals and this is used as evidence towards assessing their skills against the learning objectives at the assessment points across the year.  Teachers build in opportunities for children to self-assess their work at the end of the reading sessions and teacher collect them in at the end of the week to oversee the week’s work.    
  • In KS 1 children’s books are changed at least three times per week. In KS 2, books are changed when required and children’s reading will be reviewed at least three times per week by the teacher or teaching assistant.  Even if children are reading a chapter book over a period of time they still need to bring their book and reading record in every day. The Early Years team send books home regularly and Reception Class are read with at school on a weekly basis.
  • Volunteer readers have been trained to read with targeted children in Years R,1, 2, 3 and 4.





  • Reading is assessed against the year group Reading objectives within the English curriculum and our assessment tool Target Tracker on a termly basis
  • Children are expected to make six steps of progress across the year and are plotted using the key in the Target Tracker (see below)
  • Children regularly assess themselves against the success criteria within writing lessons and are engaged in the formative assessment process of responding to teacher feedback and comments in order to improve their work
  • Exemplars of work from a range of schools which is deemed to be at the expected standards and at greater depth, is used to assess the standard of work within different year groups
  • Teachers participate in whole school and cross school moderation to check, compare and improve standards across year groups



Little Wandle Phonics

  • A phonics Assessment is carried out every 6 weeks to measure progress.  
  • Keep up sessions take place in the afternoon from formative assessment during the phonics session.
  • Year 1 Phonics Screening Outcomes during the past three years have been broadly in line with national expectations.
  • For parents - Letters and Sounds (littlewandlelettersandsounds.org.uk)


Target Tracker Summary

Assessing Against the Learning Objectives:

Highlight Objectives Red or Blue or leave in Black

Terminology used:

Black – Objective not taught or not grasped by the pupil

Working towards Securing the Objective (Objective has been taught and there is some evidence of application)

Secured the Objective

Mastery Primarily at the end of the year as this requires a deep understanding of the learning objective and application across the curriculum. 

End of Autumn and Spring Assessments usually show working towards however, as we know, this won’t always be the case.  




Target Tracker – Summative Assessment

Expectation:  6 Steps of Progress across the Year

Where to go on Target Tracker:   Log into Target Tracker

Select Year Group – Primary – Steps – Single Subject – Select Subject – Then assess by right clicking

End of term Age Related Expectations


End of Autumn (December)

End of Spring

End of Summer

Year  1       




Year 2



2S/2S+ (Expected/Greater Depth)

Year 3




Year 4




Year 5




Year 6



Reading and Maths On track to meet the criteria of the SATS tests in May. 


(Expected/Greater Depth)



B  – Beginning

Beginning to access the curriculum for their year group and, if the pupil continues to make the expected progress, they will be secure by the End of the Year. 

B+ - Beginning +

Pupils are further ahead and have more understanding.  They are on track to achieve Secure + or greater Depth by the end of the year. 

W – Working Towards

Working within the curriculum.  Good understanding of the learning objectives taught. Evidence that the pupils are applying their knowledge and skills to other areas of the curriculum.  

W+ Working Towards +

Pupils are further ahead and have more understanding.  They are on track to achieve Secure + or greater Depth by the end of the year.  These are your higher achievers. 

S  –  Secure

Pupils are secure in the objectives for their year group and there is evidence of application across the curriculum. They are making links and connections in their learning.  Please note - It is a best fit judgement however they need to be secure in approximately 90% of the objectives. 

S+/GDS – Secure + or Greater Depth Standard

Pupils have a deep understanding of the objectives for their year group; they confidently apply their knowledge and skills across the curriculum.  

This is guideline.

Accompanying documents

English Reading Positional Statement 
English Overview