Home Page
  • Kilburn Park Road, London,
  • NW6 5XA, 020 7328 0221


English has an important place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know as well as information and support when they need it. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.


The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  •  word reading

  •  comprehension (both listening and reading)


It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching will be applied for each.


Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is strongly emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners when they start school.


Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils will be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.


It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

Reading, including Early Reading (Phonics)

Reading is a core literacy skill and the cornerstone of all learning across the National Curriculum. We believe in teaching children the skills needed to be avid readers who can decode, comprehend and infer from texts, as well as developing a love for reading. As a school, we promote a love for reading across all areas of the curriculum and our environments reflect this through beautiful reading corners in each class, as well as exposing children to rich and high-quality literature. Our reading curriculum feeds directly into our writing curriculum to give children the most immersive experience across English.



Phonics & Early Reading

We place a high priority on children acquiring a secure knowledge and understanding of the phonics system and being able to use and apply this in their reading and writing, and indeed all other aspects of their daily life. From Reception to Year 2, we use the scheme Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds to teach Daily Synthetic Phonics. We use the Big Cats Phonics for Letters and Sounds fully decodable books to support phonics teaching and learning.


At St Augustine’s, Early Reading is taught through daily phonics lessons and regular guided reading.  Our phonics curriculum is built on the principles, and sequence of progression, as outlined in the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised SPP. Phonics sessions and interventions are taught by our fully trained Early Reading experts (EYFS and Key Stage 1 teachers, Nursery Nurse, LSAs and Teaching Assistants). Our Early Reading Experts are supported by the Senior Leadership Team and the English Subject Leader. The scheme is organised by phases, which enables teachers to deliver the Phonics programme systematically. Ongoing formative assessment enables teachers to identify children requiring interventions or additional practise. Children making the slowest progress (lowest attaining 20%) are provided with extra teaching and practice throughout the day.


Phonics at St Augustine’s is taught from the very start of a child's school journey in Nursery and Reception. Phase 1 is usually taught before Reception, followed by Phase 2, 3 and 4 which are taught throughout Reception. Phase 5 is taught in Year 1 and reinforced in Year 2.  Little Wandle Spelling is also taught in Year 2. Throughout Phases 2-5, children read words through decoding, segmenting and blending.


Children in Nursery follow the Little Wandle Foundations for Phonics early language program to build the foundations for reading. Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 are taught Phonics for 30 minutes each day and our lessons are split into three parts: Revisit & Review, Teach & Practise and Practise & Apply. The sessions are planned to be interactive and engaging using a multi-sensory approach to make learning memorable. We use a variety of resources, mantras and hands-on learning to make learning as 'sticky' as possible. Progress is tracked diligently which helps us to identify gaps, which can then be addressed with further interventions throughout the day. Children who are learning phonics are also given fully decodable Collins Big Cat reading books which are matched to the phase they are currently working within.


At the end of Year 1, children are assessed using the Phonics Screening Check (PSC). Any pupils who do not pass the PSC will receive precision teaching either 1:1 or in small groups so that they are successful in the PSC by the end of Year 2.

Reading Across the School

Word reading and language comprehension are taught through a combination of daily whole-class reading sessions and guided reading throughout the school.



Guided Reading

Guided reading must take place at least twice a week for every child from reception to Year 2 using the Big Cats fully decodable texts. Once children have mastered Phase 5 phonics, a combination of higher-level Big Cats texts and other age-appropriate books are used for guided reading. Each GR session is approximately half an hour.


Whole Class Reading

From Year 3 to 6 Whole Class reading sessions take place daily. The purpose behind whole class reading is to give all children access to high quality and challenging texts at a level beyond what they might be able to read independently. This provides ambition and high expectations in their reading skills and ability. We have carefully selected a broad range of high-quality texts (fiction, non-fiction, literary non-fiction and poetry) to develop children’s love of reading, alongside sequentially building their comprehension and inference skills. Children should only read aloud to the whole class when confident to do so following teacher modelling or practising with a partner first. Reading in some form should be present in every lesson. Activities to develop key skills are planned for each reading session. Teachers use the opportunities of hearing children reading and the outcome of the activities to support their assessment of reading. The framework for whole class reading, including specific guidance and support is found in the reading progression map.


Teachers allocate time each day for enjoying a text with the class. This is a time for relaxation and unwinding with a book. We aspire to develop the feeling of pleasure for reading in our children, which embeds a love for reading. In addition, to further promote reading for pleasure and to build ‘reading mileage’, children are taught how to choose books to read independently, and time is set aside for them to read, talk about their reading and make peer recommendations. Children have access to a well-stocked, diverse and inviting library as well as classroom reading corners.

Independent reading beyond the classroom is a daily expectation and children have a ‘Reading Record’ in which they and their families add comments and communicate with the class teacher.  

Reading resources in use at St Augustine’s

Little Wandle Revised Letters and Sounds

Big Cats Fully Decodable Books

Phonics Long Term Plan