St. John's

Church of England Primary School

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We believe that reading in particular, provides children with the chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.


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

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading)


Reading comprehension is the ability to read text, process it and understand its meaning. It relies on two skills: word reading (being able to decode the symbols on the page) and language comprehension (being able to understand the meaning of the words and sentences). Comprehension does not refer to reading itself but, rather, to the way in which we make sense of words, sentences and the wider language we hear or read.


Decoding refers to:

• reading unfamiliar words (words that have not been read before) by saying the sounds corresponding to the letters in the words and then blending the sounds together, either aloud or silently

• reading familiar words accurately and silently ‘at a glance’, that is, no longer saying the sounds consciously.


Comprehension skills develop through children’s experiences of reading a range of high-quality texts (stories, poems and non-fiction) and high-quality discussions.  Therefore, we encourage children to read widely across fiction and non-fiction as well as sharing texts with the children through reading and writing lessons. By reading a wide range of texts, children are able to: develop knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live; establish an appreciation and love of reading; and gain knowledge across the curriculum. As well as this, the children can develop and broaden their vocabulary and their imagination.


At St. John’s we aim to develop a love of reading. Therefore, classes have carefully selected texts in their book corners that reflect the learning they are doing across the curriculum, as well as an extensive library enjoyed by the whole school.


Pupils are provided with individual reading books. While pupils are being taught discrete phonics, these books are closely aligned to the sounds they have been learning. Once they move on from being taught phonics, children choose books using Accelerated Reader. This highly motivating programme assesses children's reading ability and allocates a range of books within the school library that the children can then choose from. This ensures pupils are reading books with an appropriate level of challenge.


The discrete teaching of reading is taught in the following ways: 



  • Systematic daily teaching of phonics following the DfES recommended programme ‘Supersonic Phonics Friends’
  • Daily whole class shared reading
  • Shared discussion of class texts
  • 1:1 reading
  • Year 2 - Daily reading comprehension lessons



  • Phonics support and intervention where needed
  • Daily reading of a whole class text
  • Accelerated Reader
  • Daily reading comprehension lessons
  • Independent reading


Reading Comprehension Lessons:

These lessons focus on understanding and discussing texts for meaning. Using an engaging text, the pupils will explore new vocabulary, question the text (focusing on retrieval, inference and vocabulary skills), summarise what they have read and make predications using the evidence in the text.


As a school, we use the VIPERS approach to structure our questions.


Vocabulary – finding and explaining the meaning of words in context.

Infer – make and justify inferences using evidence from the text.

Predict – predict what might happen from the details given and implied.

Explain – explain how content is related and contributes to meaning; explain how themes and patterns develop across a text; explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of language.

Retrieve – retrieve and record information and identify key details.

Summarise – summarising the main ideas from a section, paragraph or more than one paragraph from a text.


Please click the link below for example question stems that can be used when reading with your child.


St. John’s Writing Learning Journey aims to ensure that all children: 

  • can read easily, fluently and with good understanding 
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information 
  • build and internalise a bank of stories that support them in developing their imagination, vocabulary and writing techniques
  • are excited and motivate to read, write and express themselves
  • are taught phonics, spelling and grammar through a creative approach embedded in the writing process
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar, and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language 
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences 
  • receive feedback that motivates and informs to allow them to develop as a reader and writer
  • can plan, edit and revise their writing to further their own learning.
  • can talk confidently in front of an audience, demonstrating to others and participating in debate


At St. John’s Primary School, our aim is that all children love English and are excited to read, write and express themselves. To achieve this, we have developed the ‘St. John’s Learning Journey’.


Through the ‘St. John’s Learning Journey’, the children will: form a love of language; develop critical thinking skills; generate and select ideas for writing; be able to structure both story-writing, non-fiction and poetry; and draft, edit and revise their writing, considering the impact they are having on the reader.


The National Curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in children’s development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that children hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar as well as their understanding for reading and writing. An essential part of the St. John’s Learning journey focusses on this; through story-telling and oral rehearsal of texts, the children will be able to embed language patterns and write confidently.


The St. John’s Learning Journey follows a five-step process: deconstruction, short burst writing, planning, drafting, editing and revising and publishing.  



During the deconstruction stage, the children are exposed to exemplary writing models and get to know a text incredibly well by orally learning it, reading as a reader and reading as a writer.


By ‘reading as a writer’, the children begin to develop toolkits by investigating the writing skills and grammar used in the model text. The children identify the tools they will use in their own writing (for example, similes, expanded noun phrases, semi-colons etc.) and understand how these are used. This then develops their understanding of how to use these in their own writing. 

By ‘reading as a reader’, the children will consider the impact the vocabulary and language choices have on the reader. The children are exploring the text for meaning, vocabulary and comprehension.


For example:

‘Passing the ebony gate, Jackson’s eyes twitched from left to right, his breathing got heavier and his vision started to blur.’

Here, the author is using ‘show not tell’. From this, we can infer that Jackson is nervous, anxious and quite unsure. He may even be feeling dizzy as his breathing is heavier and his vision has stated to blur. He doesn’t really want to go through the gate but knows he must.

Short Burst:

Short burst writing focuses on shared writing where there is a strong emphasis on securing the basics of handwriting, phonics/spelling and grammar in relation to what is needed for the text type being taught. The children will be shown how to use the writing features they are learning, practice these as a class, in groups, in pairs and independently, ready for application during the writing process.



The children will plan their own version of the text type they have been learning about, ready for their independent writing.


Drafting, editing and revising:

This is where the children write their own version of the text they have looked at as a class; during this stage, the children focus on independently applying the skills they have recently learnt. They may be writing fiction, non-fiction or poetry.

During this time, the teacher will work with small groups of children and 1:1 to give direct, verbal feedback on what they are writing at that time.


Once drafted, the children will edit and revise their work with partners and adults before it is given written feedback by the teacher. This is an incredibly important stage as it allows the children to read their own work as though they are the reader and consider the impact they are having. It also allows the children to provide critical feedback to their partner to help them improve their own writing; this is beneficial to both children in the pair, allowing them to develop as writers.


Editing focusses on spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Revising focusses on language and reflecting on the impact the writing has on the reader.



For some pieces of work, the children will publish their final piece. This may be for a display or it may be for writing purpose. For example, if writing a letter, this is published as a letter that could be posted – we may even post them!

Writing Learning Journey