We believe that learning to read is one of the most important things that children will learn to do at our school. Therefore we are extremely focused in making sure that every child at St Barnabas CE Primary School learns to read as quickly and as successfully as possible. At St Barnabas CE Primary, we love reading and this is why we work hard to make sure children develop an enjoyment of books as well as developing the vital skills to become a confident, reflective reader.



Children are taught listening skills from Nursery and the skill of segmenting and blending orally. In Nursery children are taught how to handle books. They learn that all print carries meaning and begin to develop an understanding of story structure and characters through adults sharing and discussing books. In Reception children are taught reading skills through sharing big books and sound bags. Children are given opportunities for individual reading with an adult, and guided reading sessions. Children are given further opportunities to develop an enjoyment of reading through the use of story sacks, listening to rhymes, jingles and stories using headphones and adult led daily story sessions. Also, the use of a phonics based home reading scheme enables children to consolidate learning and enjoy sharing books.

We use Letters and Sounds to teach phonics. Here the children learn how to read the sounds in letters and words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. Alongside this the children also practise reading (and spelling) ‘common exception words’, such as ‘I,’ ‘the’ and ‘said’. These are words that do not follow the usual phonic sounds and are trickier to learn. The children are exposed to these words regularly until they become instantly recognisable. Once children can blend sounds together to read words, they practise reading books that match the phonics and the ‘common exception words’ that they know.
As children progress through key stage 1 we aim for the children to use their phonic knowledge automatically and begin to recognise the combinations of letters that make different sounds. You will see a sound chart in all key stage 1 classrooms which helps the children to identify the different combinations of letters that make different phonemes. Children learn phonics in small differentiated groups which are focused on the aim of speedy response to all 40+ phonemes/graphemes and developing knowledge of alternative sounds. Children are assessed frequently, movement between groups is flexible and children are targeted to ensure each individual’s progression. The phonic knowledge of all children in key stage I is tracked and where necessary support via interventions is implemented. This may also continue into key stage 2.
We recognise that phonic knowledge is only one aspect of becoming a fluent and confident reader. As the children progress through year 1 and 2, the children are supported in the reading of common exception words, suffixes, syllables and contractions. As the children become more confident readers, they are introduced to spelling patterns and are expected to apply them in their writing.
If you require additional information relating to the curriculum please speak to your child's class teacher.
At St Barnabas CE Primary School, the reading schemes we use are Rigby Star, Project X and Bug Club.
At school your child may experience a variety of reading experiences dependent on their age and/or ability:
o Individual reading with an adult
o Guided reading in groups of the same ability
o Independent reading
o Whole class reading

As the children move into key stage 2 they will receive daily whole class reading sessions, which support the children on their journey to becoming confident, reflective readers.

In addition to learning how to read, we aim for all children to develop a love of reading which will remain with them for life. Throughout the school the children have access to high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Each class has a class author and teachers read high quality texts to children daily. Children also have many opportunities to meet and work with well-known children’s authors, recite poetry, visit libraries and many other activities which support the development of a love of reading.


Reading at home

The expectation is that all children in the school will read at home to an adult at least 3 times a week. A child’s reading development benefits greatly when they read and answer questions about their book every day. It is just as important that the children understand what they are reading, as well as being able to read the words, so please ask your children questions as they read to you (examples of questions for KS1 and KS2 can be found below). Please take time to sign your child’s reading diary every time they have read at home.

Parents play a key role in the development of reading. Ideas to try at home include the following:

- Find a place to sit together that suits you both away from any distractions and noise.

- Try to listen to your child read daily and always sign their reading record.

- Find some time to talk about the book as well as reading it.

- Encourage children to discuss vocabulary and discuss any new words together.

- Encourage expressive reading by drawing attention to punctuation.


Key questions to ask:

- Where is the story set?

- What is the character's main problem in the story?

- What is the main idea in the story?

- Is this a fiction or non-fiction book?

- Summarise the story in three sentences.

- How and why has the author used certain phrases?

- How do you think that the character feels?


Student Login

St Barnabas CE Primary School

Collin Street, Warrington,

Cheshire WA5 1TG

01925 633606