The Importance of Reading

Becoming a fluent reader enables children to access all areas of the curriculum. It opens doors for them and gives them real joy. Teaching children to read confidently for information and for pleasure is the most important thing that we do at St John’s.

Find out what our Executive Head, Gareth Elswood, has to say about reading by watching this clip.





At St John's Primary School, we believe that developing a love of reading is the key to the success of our children. We actively encourage all children to read a wide variety of materials for pleasure and our aim is for our pupils to become readers for life. This enjoyment of reading is shared by all our staff, and reading opportunities are promoted through all curriculum subjects.


We take the teaching of reading seriously and have the common aim of ensuring children become active, critical readers and to promote reading for enjoyment for all.


Our Approach to Reading

The National Curriculum for English states that, ‘Reading widely and often opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious minds.’ Here at St John’s we pride ourselves on children become active, critical readers and promote reading for enjoyment across all key stages.

Whist developing reading for pleasure through a text-lead approach to teaching, children are also developing skills in stamina, fluency and comprehension needed to become an effective reader in a range of subject areas. 

A wide ‘diet’ of reading is provided for our children at St John’s including whole class guided reading, shared reading, individual reading and group reading.  We consider storytelling and the sharing of stories to be the keystone to develop the enjoyment of reading as well as modelling fluent reading and comprehension skills therefore plan in a shared reading experience each day from Nursery right up to Year 6.


Text- Led Approach

At St John’s, we have designed a curriculum that is driven by high quality texts. This text-led approach is a very effective way of teaching the English curriculum. By teachers using high quality texts, children are immersed in a love of reading and writing. Through this method, children easily develop their speaking and listening skills, reading, writing and drama in a fun, engaging and motivating way.

Reading Spine

Each half term, the children are exposed to a wealth of texts that link to all areas of the curriculum and themes. When choosing literature to share in the classroom we ensure that we expose children to a range of culturally diverse texts and authors that reflect their cultures and experiences. Our Reading Spine can be found at the bottom of the page which shows the link texts that would be used in our whole class reading sessions. 



Our Approach to Whole Class Reading

At St John's we have implemented a whole class approach to reading from Year 2 upwards.  Through this approach we aim to ensure that all our children become analytical readers, have an awareness of authorial intent and can justify and explain their own opinions. 

Adopting a whole class reading approach also allows all children to comprehend above their word reading ‘level’. It is expected that all of our children will develop good levels of comprehension. Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world.

We believe that the best way to develop comprehension skills is through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and nonfiction.

With the new National Curriculum split into three key areas: Reading for Pleasure, Vocabulary Development and Oral Comprehension, a whole class approach to reading will enable children to develop their skills within each of these. All children will be given the opportunity to read aloud, listen to a text read by a teacher or peer and develop their ability to be able to discuss what they have heard in a constructive way. Unfamiliar vocabulary will be explored and explained within a familiar context, ensuring a breadth and depth to their reading as well as enhancing their enjoyment.

When working with the children on comprehension strategies, we often use the skills below to structure the questions that we may ask them. These are also the areas which we assess them in. 


Teaching of Phonics 

Children are taught to read with the use of systematic synthetic phonics (Read,Write Inc.) from the beginning of Nursery. The teaching of phonics is an integral part of the school day where children have the opportunity to work in small focus groups depending on their attainment. Phonics is built upon in Guided Reading sessions in Reception,  where small groups work with a key adult to build their comprehension skills.


Home Reading 

Children will be given a new reading book from their class teacher to take home and share with friends and families on a weekly basis.  Children will be moved up through the stages when their teacher feels that they are fluent with the words within that stage and that they understand the meaning of what they have read.  Ask your child’s class teacher for more information about our reading books.

At school, we encourage your child to read a range of books and talk about the books they read.  We also show and encourage the children to look after the books they borrow so that other children can enjoy reading them. Our children read their home reading books 4 times per week and these are discussed and changed regularly. 

Below is a list of comments that the children or the adults can write/discuss around their home reading book. 

Library Visits  

Each half term, every class from Reception - Year 6 visits our local library in Longsight. This is a wonderful opportunity for the children to develop and nurture a love of reading from an early age.

On each visit to the library, children may borrow one book for the half term. When each child has finished their book, they can swap with a friend. This enables the children to have a mini version of the library within their classroom too!