St. Gerard’s Catholic Primary School

Approaches to Teaching Reading


At St Gerard’s Catholic Primary School, we value reading as an essential life skill that empowers children to achieve their full potential. We recognise that the ability to read is a cornerstone of future success, therefore we are dedicated to ensuring that all of our children become fluent and confident readers




In EYFS, children are encouraged to foster a love of reading through the sharing of quality texts during shared reading and through planned learning contexts. 


Throughout Nursery, children are given every opportunity to develop their spoken language through adult interaction and to be exposed to a wide range of quality texts through teacher story time. This is continued in Reception and in addition to this, we teach our children to read using systematic synthetic phonics. We utilise the Sounds-Write Programme for teaching phonics in Reception, Key Stage 1 and for intervention within Key Stage Two.


We have recently reorganised and purchased home reading books to match the progression of the Sounds-Write scheme. We believe that it is important to expose our children to a range of texts with different fonts, contents and style. Some are shorter, but with interesting content to talk about. Others follow a narrative with characters such as Biff, Chip and Kipper. Some of our books are published by Sounds-Write and they contain more text on each page, helping our children to develop stamina and fluency in their reading. Through Reception, Key Stage One and for struggling readers within Key Stage Two, the books that children take home will contain 90% of words containing sounds that the children already know and can blend. This ensures that they are given the opportunity to practise the skill of blending to read and develop reading fluency, whilst they are still securing their knowledge of the phonics code. 


Throughout this learning process pupils and parents are asked to practise these skills at home; children are encouraged to say the sounds and blend them to read the words.




Reception – Year 2 


Until children have a secure knowledge of the phonics code and can blend these sounds to read a range of mono and polysyllabic words, they will read from our phonics-schemed books. These are labelled and organised in a progressive way to match our Sounds~Write scheme. The books have been carefully selected from the following schemes to ensure that they include words containing the appropriate sounds: 

Sounds Write Unit Books 

Dandelion Launchers

Dandelion Readers 

Oxford Reading Tree.

Once children have secured their knowledge of the phonic code and can blend effectively, they will be moved on to our whole school colour scheme.

Year 2 – Year 6 

For our developing readers in Year 2 and 3, many of the books that we provide are highly decodable, whilst giving children the opportunity to extend the banks of words that they can read automatically. 

Within each of our bands up to Black, we have a full range of scheme books to ensure that our pupils are accessing age-appropriate books. 

Children work at their own pace through the bands only moving on when teachers feel they are ready to progress. Movement between bands is not only dependent on the ability to decode but also on being able to show an appropriate comprehension of texts they meet. They will be encouraged to read a variety of different text types e.g. fiction, non-fiction, poems, play-scripts etc.

In Key Stage 2, children may also be assessed using YARC, this is a system to check not only their ability to decode and comprehend texts but also to highlight any areas that children may need to work on before moving on. Those who are not making expected progress will be able to access our reading intervention programme or will receive phonics intervention, depending on their area of difficulty.

Colour Bands


Year 2

Turquoise Purple Gold White Lime


Year 3

Lime Brown Grey


Year 4

Brown Grey Dark Blue


Year 5

Grey Dark Blue Dark Red


Year 6

Dark Blue Dark Red Black


Year 2 – Year 6 Reading Scheme Books 

Project X 

Alien Adventures


Collins Big Cat 



Struggling readers in KS2, who still have gaps within their phonic knowledge, are regularly assessed, receive quality intervention and have access to separate phonic books. These books have been carefully selected to ensure that they provide opportunity to practise blending and develop fluency; in addition, they offer further challenge in the amount of text they contain and are age-appropriate. 


Schemes Used:

Dandelion Readers 

Code X Books

Collins Big Cat 

Sounds~Write Unit Books


We prioritise the teaching of reading in the following ways: 

  1. Consistent teaching of synthetic phonics throughout school using Sounds~Write; 
  2. Quality whole class shared reading within Reception, Year 1 and Year 2; 
  3. Quality whole class guided reading from Year 3-Year 6; 
  4. Daily reading of a shared class story/novel to all children by an adult; 
  5. 1:1 reading with an adult (the frequency of this will depend on the child’s age and their level of need); 
  6. Daily reading across the curriculum; 
  7. Use of reading interventions to support the development of fluency and comprehension; 
  8. Monitoring and supporting home reading.