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, pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure, to read widely and to read aloud. Reading lies at the heart of our curriculum.  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.


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.


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. 


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) 


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 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 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 works 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


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 Trolley 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. When assessing end of Key Stage reading, teachers will assess a selection of pieces of writing in Years 2 and Year 6, using this to inform reported Teacher Assessment judgements. Exemplification materials are used to support judgements made. 



Through high-quality teaching of phonics & reading, our aim is for 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