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.


Our Library

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!


The Joy of Reading

It is vital that children have a love of reading from an early age. This can be achieved by sharing stories with them, encouraging the reading books, visiting the library and modelling what good reading looks like.


Fluency & Decoding 

‘It’s in schools where most people not only learn to read, they learn how to read. For many people this is the one place where they will learn what reading feels like; and what reading is for. It’s the critical moment when either the reading bug might bite or give up trying.’

Michael Rosen

At St John’s, we use Read, Write, Inc. to teach phonics and early reading. Children begin the program in Reception and usually complete it by the end of Year 2. Click the link below to find out more about Read, Write, Inc.


Comprehension Strategies

When working with the children on comprehension strategies, we often use the skills below to structure the questions that we may ask them.


Home Reading

‘I was brought up by two special people. It was the hours and hours my parents spent sharing stories, poems and plays with my brother and me that got me into this whole author malarkey.’

Michael Rosen

Particuarly as the children become more fluent and capable readers, we want to encourage open ended questions which encourage them to refer to the text:

-  "How do you know that?

- "How can you tell that the character feels that way?"

- "What do you think has made the character do that?"

- "Which word(s) tell you what the weather is like?"



‘Please let’s remember: poetry can take us to places of our deepest misery, our greatest joy, to the exceedingly silly, to the foot-tapping heart-stopping wonder, to moments of unexplained melancholy. It can make the familiar unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar. It can be chanted, sung, yelled, whispered, read quietly to yourself, mimed, illustrated, danced to, filmed or accompanied by sounds that charm the ear. ‘

Mtchael Rosen


Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 94)



At evening when the lamp is lit,

Around the fire my parents sit;

They sit at home and talk and sing,

And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl

All in the dark along the wall,

And follow round the forest track

Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,

All in my hunter’s camp I lie,

And play at books that I have read

Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,

These are my starry solitudes;

And there the river by whose brink

The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away

As if in firelit camp they lay,

And I, like to an Indian scout,

Around their party prowled about.

So, when my nurse comes in for me,

Home I return across the sea,

And go to bed with backward looks

At my dear land of story-books.


We have included videos of some very well-known poems below:

- 'Chocolate Cake' by Michael Rosen

- 'The Jabberwocky' by Lewis Carroll

- 'The Owl and the Pussycat' by Edward Lear