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ST. MARY’SChurch of England Primary School

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Reading at St. Mary's

We teach whole-class reading sessions to all pupils from Nursery through to Year 6. The reading lessons develop the child's ability to read for meaning whilst prompting pupils to think deeply about the texts we have chosen for them to read.


Lessons are guided by the class teacher through a pedagogical model of:

  • Guided reading - guided initially by the teacher to demonstrate prosody, intonation and fluency.
  • Shared reading - carefully planned tasks and discussion points for pupils to consider the reading theme/content domain studied.
  • Independent reading - of the class text, poem or non-fiction text.

Parent & Carer - Downloadable Reading Curriculum Plan

Our whole-class reading sessions:

  • Are not carousel activities without purpose. Each lesson has a specific focus with a learning intention and success criteria. The LI is woven around one of the content domains and the reading skill in focus.
  • Incorporate reading! As silly as it sounds, some learning experiences can be removed from the subject at hand. At St. Mary's each reading lesson includes children being read to (shared read) and some independent reading to practice the skill.
  • Are pitched using a text that sits above the average reading age of the pupils in the class. Therefore whilst we know that some children may find the text difficult to read independently, we are still exposing all children to rich and deep vocabulary.

Assessing Reading


We use a mixture of summative assessments to measure pupil progress:

  1. Chronological reading test (Salford Reading Test) as a baseline in September, Spring and Summer.
  2. Curriculum reading tests - based on the content studied and skills learnt through a component unit of work.


Teachers use regular formative assessments as a way of understanding pupils' knowledge and skill development week-to-week. These include: unseen texts - mini tests/quizzes that enable teachers to understand how a child is developing their comprehension and understanding of the wider content domains.

Developing Reading Fluency

Please see a parent and carer presentation we delivered in Autumn 2022 to help parents develop echoic reading at home. Echoic reading supports children to:

  • Negotiate sentences/phrases, paragraphs or pages
  • Learn to turn-take
  • Develops fluency in reading over time as children become more confident at page marking and reading with expression.

Incentivising reading at St. Mary's

Teachers - Supporting Subject Knowledge Development

Celebrating reading at St. Mary's

All children are encouraged to read beyond the remit of our daily homework. Our 'Get Caught Reading' approach encourages all children - in every phase - to engage in reading out of the context of their home learning.

Writing at St. Mary's

At St. Mary's we believe that a reciprocity between reading and writing teaching is vital to support pupils in their journey to become authors who can write for a variety of purposes.


Our pedagogical model is based on the principle of modelled instruction - using:

  • I DO (a model created by the teacher for the children to un-pick literary devices, skills and knowledge),
  • WE DO (a shared model co-produced by the children and the teacher where ideas can be elicited and displayed for all to see - demonstrating understanding of the skill taught).
  • YOU DO - the independent application/practise of the skill by the child.


We always teach writing 'in context'

Why is this important? Our pupils need to connect ideas/schema over time. Teaching unrelated content in an illogical sequence prevents pupils from knowing and remembering more. What does this mean? We do not teach grammar or punctuation skills that may be appropriate to the year group but are disconnected to the current audience/purpose of writing. Further, we expect teachers to think carefully about how to embed the knowledge and skills being taught - rather than using commercial worksheets or poorly sequenced learning derived from other sources.

We know that for our children to be confident writers who are able to sustain the interest of the reader - they need a rounded knowledge of HOW writers hone their craft and to have opportunities (regularly) to practise these skills.


The process of writing extends beyond simply teaching transcriptional, compositional and grammatical devices. Children need to understand audience, purpose and form - and to do this we need to present and engage them with a process of teaching that mirrors that of a writer.


Our process for teaching writing considers:

  • Context, purpose and audience - why are we writing this? Who will read it? What is it for?
  • Immersion - complete immersion in texts, extracts and narratives that set alight the child's curiosity, brings to life vocabulary
  • Understanding conventions - seeing the writing THROUGH the eyes of the writer. Considering the author's decision-making and the effect/impact on the reader
  • Establishing structure - ensuring pupils have a clear view of the structure of a text so that they can emulate and manipulate it to ensure their own is clear and effectively structured.
  • Inserting content - once immersed in quality text models they should begin to plan their own content using these experiences. We advocate a box-up technique to identify key themes and ideas for paragraphs - mapping out the text so that the child can talk confidently about their writing.
  • Oral rehearsal - a child needs to internalise their text to really 'know' it before beginning to write/record. Oral rehearsal supports the child in remembering content so that they can focus their working memory on grammatical devices and features they want to include. What a child can SAY, they can WRITE.
  • Recording (writing) - the easiest part if the process has been followed and pupils have a well-planned and structured text. We remind pupils that the first draft is the starting point. Once on paper, they can embellish and improve it until they are happy with the finished product.
  • Editing - this can take many forms but is often the phase that children find the most challenging. Editing is a layered process, which takes time to result in a finished outcome. It is impossible to edit everything at once. 
  • Evaluation - should provide pupils with an opportunity to comment on how effective their work was in fulfilling the 'brief'. The best evaluations include comments/feedback from the intended audience (e.g. the headteacher reading a letter to addressed to them and evaluating the work).  Evaluation is not about writing skills and literary strategies alone - the evaluation should include whether their writing had the desired effect on the audience.


How do teachers plan for writing?

We advocate the 'small steps' planning - ensuring that teachers consider the 'journey' of writing rather than simply focusing on skills and knowledge development in isolation.


The small steps approach encompasses three elements:

  1. The context for writing - with teachers carefully considering the Purpose, Audience and Form. There could be more than one purpose/audience as the component unit develops.
  2. The small steps - this is the individual steps the teacher will take to immerse and develop the pupils' knowledge and skills as the component unit progresses. This process considers the pupils' abilities, prior knowledge and deficit in understanding.
  3. The child's journey - the skills and knowledge the child will learn - displayed in their exercise book.

Small Steps Planning for Writing

What should my child's writing look like to be 'age expected'?

Primary League Stars - Literacy Support 2022

Our children are excited to work with partners Southampton Football Club and their Primary League Stars programme - this year focusing on Literacy and promoting wellbeing through their sports and phonics programme. Here, you will hear from our articulate, brilliant pupils!

St. Mary's children and their experiences

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