At St Stephen's we intend for our children to leave us as effective and confident readers and writers who have had experience of high quality books throughout their time with us, and are skilled and successful communicators. 

Developing a love of reading, writing, story and communication is at the very heart of our curriculum as we use a high quality picture book to inspire every term's learning, developing an understanding of narrative, explore the world around us and hearing, reading and enjoy high quality vocabulary.

Phonics, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

  • In EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2, twenty minute phonic sessions take place daily following Letters and Sounds.
  • For children in any year group who find phonics challenging, additional sessions are put in place which target the specific phase necessary.
  • Y1 and Y2 children also spend time spelling the common exception words. 
  • In KS2 discrete spelling sessions happen 4 times per week.
  • Phonics teaching continues into Key Stage 2 for any child who is yet to reach the end of Key Stage 1 milestone. 
  • Grammar is taught discretely and then embedded in writing sessions so the children experience a 'learn, apply, learn, apply' approach to developing grammar. 

We recognise that excellent reading skills are the key to accessing the whole curriculum and have an embedded and sequential approach to developing reading skills from EYFS through to Year 6. This is central to a vibrant reading culture in which books and reading are celebrated in order to ensure our children become, and remain, enthusiastic and confident readers. 

Alongside our phonics programme and the English National Curriculum, our reading curriculum offer includes the following:

  • In EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 children are heard by the teacher at least twice per week with some children identified for daily reading.
  • By the end of EYFS and throughout all year groups, children’s books are changed daily or when they have finished the previous one. 
  • Individual reading at both home and school is recorded in Reading Records.
  • In EYFS and Phase 1, daily reading comprehension takes place. This frequently uses the VIPERs approach (Vocabulary; Inference; Prediction; Explanation; Retrieval; Sequence/Summarise)
  • In KS2 Guided Reading (typically in a group) takes place daily, with some children also being heard reading individually on a daily basis.
  • Written reading comprehensions take place frequently 
  • All children have timetabled opportunities to use the library, with staffed small group sessions running four afternoons per week.
  • Reading challenges, World Book Day and author visits help to enhance our reading curriculum. 

Reading Book Provision


  • All children should use the school’s agreed script for handwriting.
  • From Term 3 in Y1 we aim for all children to be joining their handwriting unless there is a specific reason why they can not. 
  • Talk For Writing is used as a teaching tool, which uses story mapping, group story recital and story innovation to help children to develop their own narrative voice.
  • The Power of Pictures is becoming embedded in our practice to intertwine the development of reading and writing skills. In this approach, children interrogate text and pictures and the relationship between them, both as readers and as writers. 
  • Children have frequent and varied opportunities for sustained writing across the curriculum, with a series of focused shorter tasks flowing into a longer application activity.
  • Children are given the opportunity to write in varied genres in both fiction and non-fiction and these are mapped out across the curriculum to ensure a broad and consistent coverage.
  • Fiction and non-fiction writing genres are are covered each term.
  • Every term, children learn a topic-related poem off by heart and put in their poetry anthology.
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