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Literacy Information

Hello to all of the children, parents and staff of our wonderful schools.


As we reach the end of term we wanted to tell you a little more about this year’s Summer Reading Challenge from Stoke-on-Trent Libraries and The Reading Agency.


This year our theme is Wild World Heroes and we’re challenging children to visit their local library 3 times and read 6 books during the summer holidays – we’re also challenging children to learn a little bit more about nature and to see if there are any little things that they can do to help the world around them and to become Wild World Heroes themselves!


The Summer Reading Challenge is a great way to encourage children to keep reading throughout the summer holidays – when, research shows, there is often a ‘dip’ in literacy levels.


Click on the link below for a short infographic to share in class, assembly or at home which explains the

Summer Reading Challenge and how to join.


Stoke-on-Trent Libraries Summer Reading Challenge by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries on Genially




If you’d like more information about The Summer Reading Challenge then please contact your librarian:

Amy Capewell:

Janet Eardley:

Kylie Scott:

Chris Thomas:

If you’re not sure who your librarian is, don’t worry – get in touch with any of our librarian team, let us know what your school is and your librarian will be in touch!


We hope that you all have a wonderful summer and we look forward to working with all of you in the new academic year!


Many thanks

Amy, Janet, Kylie and Chris - The Librarian Team

Take Ten Reading Challenge!

As part of the National Literacy Trust’s #Take Ten Reading Challenge and in conjunction with Mental Health Week, St Mary’s took ten minutes out of their day to enjoy some reading time. Research from National Literacy Trust shows that children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to have good mental wellbeing. Reading for just 10 minutes a day can help children and young people relax, unwind and explore their emotions.  Here are some of our Year 5 and 6 children enjoying their favourite books.

View large version of image

View large version of image

View large version of image

Oak Academy


Oak National Academy are working with the National Literacy Trust to launch a new online library for pupils. The Virtual School Library hosts free reading and writing content from children’s authors, providing a free-to-access book every week from the platform’s author of the week. This week’s author is Jacqueline Wilson.

A great way to keep children reading at home!





The Teaching of Reading

  • It is our aim to develop enthusiastic and confident readers who can understand a wide range of texts.
  • Children will read for interest, information and enjoyment when accessing all areas of the curriculum.


Children should:

Experience exciting and enthralling books as soon as they enter our school.

  • Know how well they are achieving in reading and be supported towards their targets.
  • Experience text through interactive challenging activities including the experience of theatre.
  • Be challenged to develop their reading potential and aim high in the complexity of text and stamina of their reading.
  • Read in a stimulating, happy and secure environment.
  • Access high quality reading resources in classrooms, libraries and using ICT.
  • Experience a variety of creative teaching methods and approaches to develop their comprehension of text.
  • Be supported by a proactive reading partnership of home, school and parish.


Foundation Stage:

Reading opportunities are given on a daily basis.  A wide range of approaches are used to provide first hand experiences for the children.  The children are taught in a stimulating environment that is rich in written print.  There are focussed periods within the day when small groups of children share books in a more structured way - i.e guided reading.  The class teachers’ share big books with the class and reads stories and rhymes daily. Each class has an author focus. In Nursery the author focus is David McKee and in Reception – Mick Inpen.

 Phonics is taught daily and follows the Letters and Sounds document (a systematic synthetic phonics approach).  It covers all the pre requisite skills for reading such as sound identification, sequencing, reproduction and discrimination. The children are given an individual reading book to take home when they are ready.  This includes children in the Nursery.  The teacher reads with the child and encourages reading to take place at home. Each classroom has an attractive reading area with comfortable seating and a quality selection of engaging and appropriate books available.


Key Stage One:

Children are given a reading book at an appropriate level to take home, together with a reading record.  Childrens individual reading will be monitored by staff and supported by classroom assistants.  Each time a child reads at home or at school, a comment will be written in the reading record.  It is expected that children read at home with an adult at least three times a week. When a child is ready, they will join the accelerated reader scheme. Pupils will also visit the school library on a weekly basis. They will be encouraged to choose a book from the school library section which can be shared at home for enjoyment.

Phonics sessions take place five times a week.  Phonics activities are practical and fun to encourage learning – they follow the Letters and Sounds progression.  Children are grouped for phonics sessions according to the phase that they require. These smaller groups are each then taught by a teacher. During shared and guided reading, phonics work is reinforced in the context of real texts. The English national curriculum provides a wide range of text types.  Writing activities follow on from shared reading with a balance of reading and writing. Each class has a class reader which is changed on a termly basis. Time is allocated during each day for the class reader to be shared.

In Year One the author focus is Julia Donaldson and in Year Two Roald Dahl.  

Each classroom has an attractive Reading area with comfortable seating and a quality selection of engaging and appropriate books available.

Reading Schemes: Within the foundation stage and Key Stage One, we use a range of published reading schemes.

From pink to blue level: pupils have fully phonetically decodable books to read at home and school. The schemes used include:

  • Phonics bug
  • Oxford Reading tree: Songbirds, Floppy’s phonics, Project X, traditional tales
  • Big Cat Collins


From green to purple level, fully phonetically decoable books are available for those pupils who would benefit from them. They include the published schemes as listed above.


From green to lime level, again a range of published schemes are used. These include:

  • Rigby rockets, Rigby Star Quest
  • Oxford reading tree: Traditional tales, Biff, Chip and Kipper stories, More Biff Chip and Kipper stories, Fireflies, Snapdragons, Tree tops.
  • Ginn - Lighthouse
  • Heinemann – Discovery worlds
  • Pearson – Four Corners
  • Project X


By using a range of published schemes, we ensure that the reading opportunities are varied and rich for all of our pupils.

Children in Year Two will have the opportunity to join the accelerated reader programme once they have become more fluent in their reading skills.



Key Stage Two:

Children use the accelerated reader scheme, which is a national program used to assist in the improvement of pupils’ reading abilities and their comprehension of what they read. Accelerated Reader matches book choices (and quizzes) to meet their individual reading needs. Members of the Senior Leadership team and class teachers closely monitor the achievement in the quizzes to ensure the children are reading at an appropriate level. Where appropriate children are heard read by an adult in school.  It is expected that parents also hear their children read at least three times a week and sign in their planners. Pupils will also visit the school library on a weekly basis. They will be encouraged to choose a book from the school library section which can be shared at home for enjoyment.

Pupils who need to develop their phonetic awareness will receive a phonics session three times a week and be in a group according to the phase that they require.


Reading Schemes Children at St Mary’s are exposed to high quality literature in every year group. Each class has a class novel, which is shared on a daily basis and changed half- termly. Each classroom has an attractive reading area with comfortable seating and a quality selection of engaging and appropriate books available in order to develop children’s reading for pleasure and promote positive attitudes towards reading.


Furthermore, the range of books used is vast and matches the reading range that is needed to meet the children’s reading level using the Accelerated reader scheme.


Guided Reading

The purpose of a Guided Reading session is to deepen children’s inferential, retrieval and decoding skills. Children are placed into similar ability groups, which are reviewed on a regular basis. The text chosen for a given guided reading session challenges the group in terms of meaning and word difficulty.

Guided reading takes place outside of the standard English lesson. There is a balance of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts chosen for guided reading sessions. Some texts may link with wider genres being taught in English or other areas of the curriculum so that children are able to develop their love of reading, reading skills and knowledge across a range of subject areas.