St Joseph'sCatholic Primary School


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Subject Leader: Mrs Handford

Governor Link: Mrs Strinati




Leaders have made sure that learning to read is a high priority in the school. (Ofsted, 2021)


At St Joseph's, reading lies at the heart of our curriculum. 


At St Joseph’s, pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure, to read widely and to read aloud. We are dedicated to ensuring that our pupils become lifelong readers and we believe reading is key to academic success. We want all children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers, who appreciate the importance of reading as a transferable skill in the wider world, and who value books as a source of pleasure and enjoyment. We believe that reading can offer children greater knowledge of the world around them and expose them to vital experiences beyond their day-to-day lives. 



At the earliest stages of learning to read, our children are given purposeful activities to support and develop their language skills through a variety of texts. Within our teaching of reading, children are encouraged to read aloud and talk about the texts that they read together. Children are encouraged to read daily both at home and in school and are able to select a different text from our reading scheme to take home daily as well as a separate book that they would like read to them. When learning through our Success for All phonics scheme, these texts have been carefully selected to ensure they are engaging and phonetically matched to their understanding in phonics.



Substantive Knowledge

Substantive knowledge is the ability to decode and sight-read words. Our children need a secure knowledge of phonics. This means that they will be able to hear phonemes, identify digraphs and trigraphs and match the sounds to individual letters and groups of letters (phoneme-grapheme correspondences). They will then be able to apply these skills to blend the sounds of letters together to decode unfamiliar or unknown words. They will also need to sight read a range of tricky words to enable them to become fluent readers.  As they progress in their reading, children will begin to automatically recognise words, reading with automaticity and pace.  This provides children with opportunities to read for pleasure, including reading and reciting poetry, and helps them to develop their vocabulary. Children are then able to apply their knowledge of reading strategies to comprehend a range of texts.


Disciplinary Knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge is the process of thinking critically and creatively using the automaticity of substantive knowledge. Once children are fluent readers, who can understand what they have read, they begin to develop their disciplinary knowledge in reading. This involves the ability to interpret different texts, drawing upon knowledge of language and literary conventions. It involves the skills of supporting an opinion, based upon evidence within the text, and comparing and contrasting books from a range of genres, written by a variety of authors. Children will develop the skill of comparing themes, drawing upon extracts from the text to back up arguments and discussions and evaluating the intentions of the author, and expressing personal preferences.


Our Curriculum


Within the teaching of reading in KS1, children share stories that build reading and comprehension skills that will also help to develop their vocabulary. Each shared story book has an associated phonics sound that enables children to practise and embed the sounds that they have encountered in their phonics teaching. As children are secure within their phonics understanding and reading and usually within Year 2, they will follow the SFA 'Spelling with the Jungle Club' programme each day which build seemlessly on from their phonics understanding.  This programme provides digital, interactive sessions that are rooted in evidence-based research teaching patterns and morphology. 


In KS2, or as children become accomplished fluent readers, children are able to select books of their own choice to fully support their love of reading and independence. Our children are able to access texts that challenge their reading skills. Our children enjoy a wide range of texts across a variety of genres that supports the essential reading skills they need to become competent, fluent readers who will become lifelong readers and writers. 


Phonics & Reading sessions

A Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme, Success for All,  is taught daily from the start of Reception, until children are secure within their phonics knowledge. Teaching and learning of phonics is carefully adapted and monitored weekly to ensure that our children make good progress. View our Phonics curriculum for for more detailed information. 


Whole Class Reading Lessons

Structured whole class reading is taught from Year 3 to Year 6, using rich, age-appropriate texts which teaches and provides practice of the essential reading skills:







Shared books are vital in developing children’s vocabulary and are carefully selected by teachers for their classes to ensure maximum impact on language development. An important part of these lessons is book talk, in which children and teachers find connections between different texts, discuss their preferences and make recommendations.


Reading Across the Curriculum

All of our classes enjoy a wide range of texts available in their reading areas in order to encourage a positive culture of reading throughout all classes. Core texts, which relate to the class’ current topic are visible and used in all subjects to ensure that reading skills are applied across the curriculum. 


Adapted Learning & Tutoring with the Lightning Squad

Children are provided with opportunities to keep up with the pace of learning in lessons, through additional sessions and within wider implementation across the curriculum in EYFS and Year 1. Targeted teaching and resources are used to support pupils at all levels to master the skills required for the next step in learning. Children who need to catch up more significantly and into Year 2 & beyond will be provided with the support they need to make progress from their starting points and to master skills incrementally to achieve success. They will do this in a range of ways supported by the resources and tools provided with the programmes, by expert teaching and through the tutoring programme as necessry. 


Tutoring programme, Tutoring with the Lightning Squad (TWL) is an approved tutoring programme that is designed to enable pupils to catch up with their reading skills. It provides assessment, planning and teaching for tutoring pupils in pairs or individually. The programme provides structured reading activities and practice to address skill development in fluency, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary and comprehension. In a TWL tutoring session, pupils work in pairs on a computer. During the activies, partners take turns completing activities and providing feedback to each other. A trained Learning Support Assistant, works carefully with selected children to provide support and teaching, conducting checks to verify mastery and providing feedback to ensure success. 

Here is an independent review of the Lightning Squad programme Teach Primary review - FFT


For our more able pupils we will expect our children to have opportunities to:

  • read and have open discussions with more meaning, drawing on inference and deduction;
  • discuss their thinking as they ‘read between the lines’
  • show attention to spelling and meanings of more complex words
  • maintain fluency and breadth of reading
  • think creatively, explore and develop ideas, and try different approaches. 
  • set their own questions, offer ideas, suggest solutions or explanations, and reflect on what they have read, or heard in order to clarify their thoughts.


Reading Aloud

Every teacher reads aloud to their class each day. Stories are also shared across year groups and in assemblies. The whole school are able to access books during lunch time and break time from our Reading caddy enabling another year group to share books and read aloud to each other. Children have regular opportunities to read aloud on a one to one basis with staff, Beanstalk readers and volunteer readers. St Joseph's enjoys a great relationship with the staff from our local library and all classes visit the library at least once a term where books are selected to support the class curriculum for the term. 


Reading Assessment

Attainment in phonics & early reading is assessed weekly throughout the year and carefully planned interventions are put in place swiftly to ensure that no child is left behind. Reading is assessed regularly throughout the year. At the three main assessment checkpoints, progress is tracked, using the Corner Stones Maestro which align with the National Curriculum.  Regular moderation takes place, to quality assure judgements made. These are in school, as part of a hub of local schools and within our Academy Trust. 


We are proud to be a Coram Beanstalk Partner School and our children benefit from highly skilled and trained Beanstalk volunteers who visit our school each week reading one to one with children. For more information on the impact of Beanstalk Readers, click the link below. 

Our impact | Coram Beanstalk (


All children at St Joseph's visit our local library in Aylesham at least once each term where they are able to share, choose and listen to stories. The school liaises closely with the library so that the children can also explore books related to learning and about topics currently being explored in school. 


" After a recent visit to the library during the school day, 12 of the children came

back to use the Library after the school had finished.

Having the pupils visit Aylesham Library from St Joseph’s has been a real success story!"

(Heidi da Costa, Customer Service Development Librarian, Dover) 



Through high-quality teaching of phonics & reading, our aim is for all of our children to become fluent, confident word readers by the end of KS1.  Providing children with a wealth of stories, and opportunities to share them, promotes a love of reading which goes beyond the classroom. By the time they leave our school, our children will be fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure, participate in discussions, and communicate their opinions and responses confidently and appropriately. These skills will allow them to unlock future learning and provide them with limitless possibilities.

Visit your local library in Aylesham and take books home for free. 

Opening times are below: 
Monday ➔ CLOSED
Tuesday ➔ 9.30am - 12.30pm & 1.30pm - 5.00pm
Wednesday ➔ CLOSED
Thursday ➔ 9.30pm - 12.30pm & 1.30pm - 5.00pm
Friday ➔ 9.30am - 12.30pm & 1.30pm - 5.00pm
Saturday ➔ 9.00am - 1.00pm
Sunday ➔ Closed