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Christ Church CE Primary School

'With God,
all things are possible' (Matthew 19:26)



At Christ Church CE Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should ignite and cultivate a child’s love of reading, writing and discussion, creating a firm foundation of skills and knowledge in this area of learning. We aspire to widen our children’s horizons through developing their ability to communicate effectively and thoughtfully, and their capacity to interpret and comprehend the written and spoken word which surrounds them. We aim to inspire and foster a love of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of, and passion for reading widely, often, and for enjoyment. We recognise the importance of creating a culture of children taking pride in their writing, writing clearly and accurately and adapting their language and style for a range of contexts. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate and succeed fully both across the curriculum and as local, national and global citizens.

At Christ Church CE Primary, we aim to ensure our English curriculum is accessible to all, maximising the development of every child’s ability, believing all children have the right to enjoy the varied and rich literature available to them.


At Christ Church Primary School, we believe reading to be at the heart of everything we do, and teach it through a systematic and sequenced approach.

Reception and KS1

At Christ Church Primary School, children are taught to decode through Read, Write Inc. – a validated and highly accredited programme of systematic synthetic phonics. Through these carefully sequenced lessons, children are taught how to read the graphemes which represent sounds. They are taught to blend these sounds into words, gradually building to blending in their heads. Children read books which are exactly matched to their sound knowledge. These books are then sent home for parents and carers to also read with their children.  Children are grouped based on their sound knowledge and complete the programme once they have attained automaticity and fluency. Children struggling to keep up are tutored 1:1 to ensure they do not fall behind. In addition, children in Key Stage 2 whose grapheme-phoneme knowledge contains significant gaps or who are not sufficiently fluent, also attend either the main Read Write Inc. sessions, or a separate intervention programme called Fresh Start. Fresh Start follows the same principals and pedagogy as Read Write Inc., but is aimed at older readers.

However, learning to decode is one strand of reading – there are many others. At Christ Church Primary School, we also use a shared reading approach – Literacy Counts’ Steps to Read – to promote a love of books, while teaching the comprehension aspects of the National Curriculum.

Steps to Read

Once children have completed the Read, Write Inc. phonics programme, they follow the Steps to Read units of work for shared reading. Each Steps to Read unit contains a mixture of texts: fiction, non-fiction and poetry. These carefully-selected texts contain rich and varied vocabulary, and are chosen to inspire and engage children. Each Steps to Read lesson follows a sequence:

  • Read:  the teacher reads to the children, modelling appropriate fluency and prosody
  • Model: children are explicitly taught particular reading skills, including retrieval, inference and prediction
  • Practise: children work collaboratively to practise the skills they have been taught
  • Apply: children then apply the skills they have learned to complete a task or answer questions based on what they are reading.

Steps to Read is progressive and includes all of the skills set out in the National Curriculum for reading. It also links with History, Geography and Science units throughout the year, helping build up children’s background knowledge and vocabulary across a range of topics and helping children to make links across their learning. The texts chosen represent a combination of new and exciting books by diverse modern authors, as well as classic novels and poems from our rich literary history.

Accelerated Reader

While children are learning to read through Read, Write Inc., they access books which are exactly matched to the sounds they are learning, and read these books both at home and in school. Children also take home beautiful picture books which parents are encouraged to share with children to nurture their love of reading, as well as exposing children to a wider variety of vocabulary.

Once children attain the necessary fluency and accuracy to complete Read, Write Inc., they are then able to read our Accelerated Reader books. Children take a Star Reading Test which gauges their reading age and this is used to generate a range of numerically-labelled books which the children will be able to access confidently. Children retake the Star Reading test periodically and, as their reading age increases, they are able to choose increasingly complex texts to read. These texts are read both at home and in school. As well as a variety of genres of fiction, there is also a wide range of attractive and up-to-date non-fiction books to choose from.

Once children complete a book, they access Accelerated Reader quizzes electronically which help to test the children’s understanding of the books they have been reading.

Celebration of Reading

Reading permeates the entire curriculum at Christ Church Primary School, and as such is something we celebrate. We celebrate National Poetry Day and World Book Day each year, and children are encouraged to share and recommend books to one another in their classrooms.   

Teachers also promote and celebrate children completing their reading records, commenting on the books they are reading, rewarding these with housepoints and in-class treats.

Each class teacher chooses a child weekly to take home our ‘Mystery Book’, the identity of which is kept top secret from the chosen child’s classmates! 

This year, each child has chosen a book in which they can ‘see’ themselves - whether this be based on their interests, hobbies, cultural backgrounds or religion - which are being purchased to further enhance our reading offer and continue to engage children in reading.


We ensure children can access the beautiful range of curriculum books during their weekly ‘Book Club’ sessions, in which children choose from a variety of types of books, and discuss their preferences with other.


In addition, we run weekly year group book clubs during lunchtimes across the school year.


Reading across the curriculum

At Christ Church Primary School, reading is embedded throughout our broad and rich curriculum. Children are required to read for a variety of purposes such as research and information across History, Geography, Science and beyond. Three of the six Steps to Read units per year link to topics taught and provide vital background information and vocabulary knowledge.  In addition, we have created a reading spine for each subject and have invested in beautiful books across the curriculum. 



Our approach to the teaching of reading results in engaging, high-quality lessons, which provide children with the reading skills and knowledge that they can take with them once they complete their primary education, preparing them for life as local, national and global citizens. By creating a firm foundation for individual growth, all children will make good progress academically, from their starting points. Staff across school use INSIGHT on a termly basis to assess children and termly NFER and STAR reading tests are completed. At the end of the academic year, each pupil is then given a level to show their attainment for the year.

Pupil voice is used throughout the year to ascertain enthusiasm for reading across school,  and pupils’ ability to talk about reading and how it relates to their life. In order to evidence the knowledge developed throughout school, each child from years 2-6 has a Steps to Read book which clearly shows their progress throughout the curriculum. In lessons, pupils demonstrate their ability to use their growing knowledge of vocabulary alongside their reading skills through various tasks.  By the end of key stage 2, pupils will be able to:

  • Cultivate a love of reading as they become fluent readers which will last them a lifetime;
  • Develop a growing vocabulary through the rich variety of texts they access;
  • Expand their reading skills, allowing them to make inferences, predictions and connections across texts and relate their reading to their prior knowledge;
  • Develop an appreciation for poetry in its many forms;
  • Be able to read both for pleasure and for information;
  • Use their reading skills gained to learn effectively as they move onto secondary education;
  • Make good progress in respect to their starting points. 

Additional Information and Resources

 Please click on the links below to find out more about our Reading curriculum:

National Curriculum Programme of Study: English

Reading Overview

Reading Long Term Plan

Reading Progression Document

Reading and Development Matters

Spoken Language and Development Matters

English Policy

Reading for Pleasure at Christ Church