Reading at Over St. John's

It is our intention that all children will leave our school being able to read confidently and fluently, as reading is a fundamental skill used within many aspects of life. By supporting our children to develop their reading skills, we aim to prepare children for the next stage of their academic journey as well as developing a love of reading for pleasure and for purpose. Reading is also used to stimulate children's imaginations and a love for books. Reading has a high profile at Over St. John's and teachers promote and value reading as an enjoyable activity and a life skill.

Our reading curriculum is delivered through a variety of different activities and approaches:

*All children are provided with a reading book and a reading diary. We encourage reading on a regular basis (at least four times per week) at home as well as regular reading to the adults in school. 

*Each class has a reading corner stocked with fiction and non-fiction texts and poetry texts, which the children are encouraged to access. 

*Specific English lessons, linked to the text we are exploring in writing, focus on the teaching and developing of particular reading skills, whether it be prediction, inference, summarising, explaining etc.

*In Year 2 to Year 6, children are taught to read, develop and practise reading skills through well planned whole-class shared reading sessions.

*In Reception and Year 1, children take part in guided reading sessions based on the books linked to their current phonics teaching.

*Sharing and reading aloud stories in class is also something teachers do. The texts used are part of our whole school reading spine which is a list of quality texts for each class, which will be read aloud to and shared with our children during their time at our school. Within KS2, there is a two-year rolling of texts due to the nature of our mixed classes. It has been created with the support of the Pie Corbett Reading Spine and in conjunction with our staff team. This list of books will be added to, supplemented, and changed by staff as and when is needed. Reading and sharing books gives our children the opportunity to listen to a story, no matter their age, and enjoy a book they may not otherwise have read. Reading aloud to children also helps to promote and model reading fluency, intonation and expression.

During focussed reading tasks, whether in English lessons, whole class shared reading or guided reading sessions, reading skills are explicitly taught, reinforced and supported by the VIPERS approach (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explain, retrieve, sequence/summarise). These are displayed in all classes and are referenced during reading lessons and linked to the reading tasks that children are completing. 


At the bottom of this page, there is a link to our whole school reading skills and knowledge progression document.

Whole Class Shared Reading

                                                                                                                       Steps to Read.png

Whole class shared reading takes place three days a week in Year 2 to Year 6. The teaching of our whole class shared reading is supported by the Steps to Read programme from Literacy Counts and is delivered around a sequence of high quality age-appropriate texts. The texts used are aimed to promote a life-long love of reading and includes fiction, non-fiction and poetry which enhances learning across the curriculum.  Each session, follows a four step teaching sequence, which involves read, model, practise and apply encouraging a clear focus on the reading skills and strategies needed to enable children to become proficient and confident readers.

Developing Reading Fluency

As part of our whole class reading sessions, there is a specific element focused on developing and improving reading fluency. Specific areas of reading fluently are focused on - phrasing, recognition of puncutation, expression, intonation within each session. A section of the text is modelled out loud to the children. The text is then surveyed and a discussion is had about what was happened at certain points which can act as cues. The children are then given the opportunity to read the text aloud either through choral reading, echo reading or paired reading. 

Guided Reading in Reception and Year 1

In Reception and Year 1, children take part in guided reading sessions three times per week. Guided reading builds on the teaching of phonics exploring short texts that include only the sounds and words that the children have been taught, are secure with and are reading at around 90% accuracy. Text used with guided reading our from our scheme - Monster Phonics. The children will read the text in Guided Reading one week and then take the same text home the following week. This helps to reinforce teaching and allows the children to continually practise the sounds they have learnt. Guided Reading follows the same teaching sequence each week. Children explore the key words and focus words in the book, read sections of the text and docuss and explore it in more detail with their teacher. Modelling of reading by the teacher is also important to build skills of fluency. 

Reading at Home

At Over St. John’s, we encourage the daily reading and sharing of books at home. We carefully monitor the children’s reading at home and encourage parents to be fully active and engaged with us in this in order to support their child’s ongoing development. Reading diaries are checked weekly by an adult in school and reading is rewarded through our school raffle ticket reward system. 

Reading diaries are checked weekly by an adult in school and reading is rewarded through our school raffle ticket reward system. For each read recorded in their diaries, children will receive a raffle ticket.

This year, we shall be playing a game of


Children will need to read at least four times over one week to receive a stamp and move around the Readopoly board. One square will be stamped for every four reads. For every four reads, the children will receive a special Readopoly token to put in our Key Stage prize jars, which will be drawn at the end of each term.

On the Readopoly board, there are special challenges for the children to complete when they reach the challenge square. The challenges are explained around the ‘Readopoly’ board. 


Reading and sharing books at home, as well as in school, is essential and can make a huge difference to a child’s reading ability and helps to develop an enthusiasm for reading and a life-long love of books. At Over St. John’s, we encourage the daily reading and sharing of books at home.

Throughout the school, in each class, children will take the following books home every week:

  • 1 x reading book matched to their current reading level. In EYFS and Year 1, these will be phonically decodable based onsounds that have been taught and are secure with the children. 
  • 1 x library book for reading / sharing for pleasure

Home reading books are organised into stages. Children in Reception and Year 1 read phonetically decodable books which follow the teaching sequence of our Phonics scheme, Monster Phonics. Children in Reception and Year 1 will only ever bring reading books home with sounds in they have been taught in school to consolidate this learning. Over the course of Reception and Year 1, children will read through books from Stage 0 (wordless books) to Stage 8. Children in Reception and Year 1 will come home with a guide for sharing their phonetically decodable books over a week with their adults. 

Towards the end of Year 1, children will be assessed on their reading in order to move from phonetically decodable books and to continue to progress through the rest of the stages. Our books within Stage 9 to Stage 18 are grouped according to their level of difficulty, providing children with a challenging reading experience which also allows them to build on and use their phonic and whole word knowledge to read independently. Within our Stages 9 to 18, we use the following schemes within reading: Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree, Smart Kids which comprises of a mixture of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Traditional Tales and Poetry. This is further supplemented by a wide range of reading material that has been selected and appropriately matched using the Accelerated Reader Programme

Reading at home can take on the following forms:

  • Independent reading of a school book.
  • Sharing a book together.
  • Talking about the book together and answering questions about it.
  • Reading and sharing a variety of reading materials.

Children may choose to read a book they have read before. This is great. This helps to familiarise themselves with the text and type of book as well as developing fluency and confidence in reading.


Reading Survey - February 2024

In February 2024, we carried out a whole school reading survey for children in Year 1 to Year 6 to gain their views, opinions and thoughts about reading. On the whole, the results from the survey were positive and it has given us some ideas of what we need to do next in terms of developing reding for pleasure. We aim to run this survey again later in the academic year. The results are attached to this page below. 

Files to Download