At St John’s reading underpins everything that we do. We aim to encourage all pupils to foster an appreciation and love of reading by introducing them to a wide range of high quality fiction and non-fiction texts.

Alongside this, one of our key focuses will be to develop children’s comprehension skills and vocabulary. We will help them to access the whole curriculum, to make links across different subjects and develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live in. We will ensure that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence and are ready for the next stage in their education.

Reading is an important part of all children’s learning and progress at St John’s and we start with the basics when children start with us in Reception.


Early Reading and Phonics

When children start school, we teach them Phonics in a systematic structured way every day. It is an important daily lesson in each class from Reception through to Year 2. St John’s follows the government ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme which develops the children’s ability to hear, discriminate, recognise and write the sounds. For more information on the teaching of Phonics in St John’s, please click here.


Developing Reading Further

Alongside daily phonic sessions, children are applying their knowledge of Letters and Sounds through regular guided reading sessions with an adult. These sessions help to develop and build word recognition skills, comprehension and prosody (intonation and expression). We have a wide range of books from different schemes which are grouped into phonic phases up to Phase 5. Children take home their guided reading book from the week which is closely matched to their individual phonic level. In addition to this, children also take home an unseen book from their phase level, which can be read with adult support.

Once through the first part of Phase 5, children access double tiered book bands which build confidence and fluency with appropriate challenge. All children are expected to take home books daily to practice, improve and foster a love for reading. Children progress through our book banded reading scheme at the discretion of the teacher, who may use an assessment tool such as PM Benchmark to support progression.

From Year 2 onwards to develop reading skills further, we follow the VIPERS model. Click below on the sub-headings to explore the VIPERS model more!



This model focuses on developing skills in vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and sequencing / summarising – these skills are established through regular whole class reading sessions. Guided reading sessions are sometimes used as extra intervention sessions in KS2, where some children may need further support with particular aspects of reading and / or phonics.

At St John’s, where possible, we try to link an engaging high quality text to other curriculum areas. This provides a stimulus for many of our English lessons. This gives us the opportunity to expose children to high level, subject specific vocabulary. We believe it essential to pick out and talk about vocabulary to enhance children’s understanding in all aspects of English, not just reading.

When children reach Year 6, we endeavour that each individual child is a confident and competent reader, prepared for life beyond primary school.



Fostering a love for reading 

Alongside our class novels, each class carefully choose a book to read purely for pleasure at the end of the school day. This is when an adult reads to their class and the children can immerse themselves in the book to just enjoy listening to the story. Authors have been carefully selected and information about them is displayed clearly to help deepen children’s authorial knowledge. Most recently, Year 6 have loved reading 'High Rise Mystery' by Sharna Jackson - they loved being detectives along the way trying to solve the murder! In Year 1 the children have enjoyed 'Meerkat Mail' by Emily Gravett - they loved lifting up the flaps to read the postcards! 


Reading areas around school and in classrooms have been developed to provide attractive and comfortable places which offer a variety of books for children to read. Children are encouraged to use these areas to listen, share and enjoy books and stories. At St John’s we are committed to widening children’s knowledge of authors through activities such as whole school author focuses and literature displayed around school.


As part of our World Book Day celebrations this year (March 2021) we hosted a virtual author event - we met Serena Patel! The children loved listening to how she became a writer and enjoyed getting stuck into creating the plot for their own mystery stories! Her book - Anisha the Accidental Detective were a big hit and are currently in our KS2 class libraries. Grace in Y6 has just finished reading the book and thoroughly enjoyed the mystery genre! 


Children are encouraged to use the school library and class libraries to choose a book for pure enjoyment from Reception up to Year 6. Here are some of our class libraries!



Our PFA, local shops - Lathoms Bakery and Freshway and Southport Rotary Club have kindly donated money towards us buying some new books to fill our class libraries. Below are some of the books we have purchased! 



Supporting Reading at home – CLICK LINK FOR TOP TIPS

Supporting your child to read at home is key to boosting children’s language and reading skills.


Did you know that children who are regularly read to in the 5 years leading up to school are exposed to 1.4 million more words than children who aren’t read to during those years?


Parents play a vital role in developing their children’s reading.


At St John’s, all children are expected to read at home at least 3 times per week and to have their reading record diary signed by an adult. In KS1 and LKS2, reading with an adult at home provides many benefits – the modelling of expression, pace and fluency will build children’s own reading skills and confidence. 

Click here to find out more about the benefits of home reading!


Reading also enables children and adults to discuss the story and vocabulary building on comprehension skills. In UKS2, children are more inclined to read independently, however we do suggest that adults ‘check in’ with their child to ask questions about what they have read. Children will be rewarded with a small prize if they read the expected amount each week. At the end of each half term, children who have read regularly have the opportunityto win a book!

Below are some links for some recommended books for different ages that can be read and enjoyed at home!

Books recommendations for 3-5 years.

Books recommendations for 5-7 years.

Books recommendations for 7-9 years. 

Books recommendations for 9-11 years. 

Click here for free e-books from Oxford Owl.



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