Milton St John's Church of England Primary School

Milton St John's Church of England Primary School

  1. Curriculum
  2. Phonics/Reading


  “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go”

(Dr Seuss.)

 Central to learning is creating a life-long love of reading and at Milton St John’s C of E Primary School it is our belief that every child should be able to read for pleasure and to a high standard. We firmly believe that reading feeds children’s imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds. We also believe that every child should be given the tools to develop into an enthusiastic and confident reader both at home and at school. Reading improves language and vocabulary, inspires imagination and gives everyone the opportunity to develop and foster new interests.


A child's reading skills are important to their success in school as they will allow them to access the breadth of the curriculum and improve their communication and language skills. Additionally, reading can be an enjoyable and imaginative time for children, which can open doors to all kinds of new worlds for them. Through reading, children have the opportunity to develop culturally, socially and emotionally as well as reaping the benefits academically.  At Milton St John’s a ‘Love of Language’ is developed and fostered for the enjoyment, challenge and understanding of text. This love of language is developed through poetry, a variety of fictional genres, non-fiction, test questions and even through research.


It is our vision that readers at Milton will:

  • Confidently decode and read unfamiliar texts- practice makes perfect!
  • Develop fluency and expression in their reading of a variety of different text types including fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
  • Choose to read for pleasure and have fun reading.
  • Develop imagination using what they have read.
  • Have a wide and varied vocabulary as a result of what they have read.
  • Independently retrieve information from texts to improve understanding, as well as giving opinions on what they have read.
  • Infer the meaning in texts and understand the purpose of different texts.


Our curriculum drivers underpin all we do and are an essential part of our learning. The drivers help our children to ‘RISE’ up and play a vital role in their community; locally, nationally and globally. They are listed below:


  • Respect for the opinions and beliefs of others
  • Independence & Resilience
  • Spirituality
  • Engagement & Curiosity


We do not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach, so our teachers are highly trained in responding to the needs of individuals. They plan carefully tailored reading tasks to suit our pupils, using the agreed scheme throughout school and beginning with Essential Letters and Sounds in EYFS.  Reading is the key to learning and comes into every aspect of the National Curriculum.  We encourage the pupils to read as much as possible both at home and at school, ensuring that we give them the tools that they need in order to make progress, whilst taking into account their ability levels and the support they may need.



At Milton St John’s we believe that all pupils should have the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts. We want pupils to develop a love of reading, a good knowledge of a range of authors, and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts. By the end of their time at primary school, all children should be able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. We do not put ceilings on what pupils can achieve in reading and we do not hold pre-conceptions about any pupils’ ability to make progress. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, and so we want to encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school through good quality texts.



At Milton St John’s we have a structured approach to the teaching of reading. We use a wide range of reading materials and teaching methods to help children learn to read in a way which meets their needs and challenges them appropriately. Throughout school, we have a rich collection of books in order to encourage children’s desire to become readers.

Across our Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1, we teach phonics by following the Essential Letters and Sounds scheme, and help children to learn whole words in order to develop a wide on-sight vocabulary. Our aim is to teach children to not only read a text fluently, but to improve their comprehension skills as this will help children to understand and reflect upon what they have read. In Year 2, the children, if they are ready and if they have passed the Year 1 Phonics Screening Test, move away from phonics and begin to look at spelling rules and patterns. This is then continued throughout Key Stage 2 following the Twinkl spelling scheme.

From Reception to Year 6, Guided Reading takes place regularly. In Reception and Year 1, this is conducted in small ability groups and will involve lots of verbal comprehension questions from the class teacher, as well as the use of segmenting and blending to read unknown words. In Year 2, the class begin with small ability groups for Guided Reading and the teacher will introduce whole class reading later in the year according to their professional judgement. In Years 3-6 Guided Reading is taught to the whole class at least three times a week.  The way in which Guided Reading is taught depends wholly on the ability of the pupils and their needs. It is regularly reviewed and changed throughout the school year. The teachers use text extracts from a combination of Reading Explorers, Classroom Secrets and Literacy Shed texts for Guided Reading purposes, as well as whole texts in some instances. All children will also be completing a variety of comprehension tasks based on what they have read, some independent and some guided. These comprehension tasks follow the system of DERIC, where children will decode (D), explain (E), Retrieve (R), Interpret (I) and explain and identify language choices (C). Reading interventions are put into place for any children who need support. This takes place in the form of daily readers and occurs from Reception to Year 6 whenever it is required. In addition to this, SEND pupils who need support in their reading ability and progress, will receive extra support during Guided Reading sessions.

We acknowledge and value the important role played by the family in supporting children’s reading development by reading to them and listening to them read. Books are taken home on a weekly basis along with a reading record so that children can be heard reading and a comment (even a brief one) can be made. Children in Reception, Year 1 and some children in Year 2 have access to the online Oxford Owl Library where the class teacher sets them a decodable book linked to their current learning in phonics.  We use the Oxford Reading Tree scheme throughout the school and once a child becomes secure in their phonics knowledge at phase 5 they will receive a book from the scheme each week to read at home. As the children progress through the school their reading ability is constantly monitored and assessed so that we do not just follow the scheme but move a child on as soon as they are fully ready. Our Free Reader Library is available for all children who have achieved at least Stage 14 on the reading scheme and have shown a confident level of comprehension. In the library there is a wide variety of genres and the children are able to choose their own book which is closely monitored by staff members.

Also, reading opportunities and developing reading skills can be seen all throughout our school curriculum, from English lessons taught using high-quality texts, to subjects such as History where the children will research and read texts based upon that time e.g. Oliver Twist as part of learning about the Victorians.


The impact of how reading is taught at Milton St John’s C of E Primary School is that all of our pupils make as much progress as they possibly can and grow up to have a love of books. They are able to read for pleasure and for any other purpose, as well as being confident in using their reading skills when tackling any unknown text. Our pupils will be prepared with the reading skills they will require in secondary education and beyond.

The impact of the way we teach reading is that:

  • Pupils will enjoy reading across a range of genres.
  • Pupils of all abilities will be able to succeed in all reading lessons.
  • Pupils will use a range of strategies for decoding words, not solely relying on phonics.
  • Pupils will have a good knowledge of a range of authors.
  • Pupils will be ready to read in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
  • The % of pupils working at ARE within each year group will be at least in line with national averages.
  • The % of pupils working at Greater Depth within each year group will be at least in line with national averages
  • There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged) as all pupils will have been provided with the tools that they need in order to make as much progress as they possibly can during their journey through our school.



Reading is taught using the synthetic phonics 'Essential Letters and Sounds' approach. Staff use the principles and practice of Essential Letters and Sounds to plan high quality teaching and learning opportunities.

Staff also use their knowledge and expertise of other synthetic phonics teaching methods to deliver the principles of the ELS Letters and Sounds system in engaging, challenging and enjoyable lessons.

Parents/carers wishing to gain a better understanding of this approach may wish to look at the 'Letters and Sounds: Principles and practice of high quality phonics' document using the link below:


Parents can also access free resources and activities to do at home via


Reading Scheme

Milton St John's CE Primary School uses the Oxford Reading Tree as its main reading scheme. Children in Reception and Year 1 (and where deemed appropriate Year 2 and beyond) are given a Login for the Oxford Owl Website where they can access the variety of books in the e-library and a decodable phonics book is set by the class teacher on a weekly basis. Alongside this, the children are also given a book from our Oxford Reading Tree scheme to share with their carer at home. We encourage children and their carers to try to read four times per week to develop fluency and understanding.  Children in Years 2-6 will then continue to progress through the reading scheme with their development being closely monitored by the class teachers and staff members. Once ready the children will be able to move off the ORT scheme and then access our free reader library where there is a wide variety of genres available and they continue to develop their reading skills, as well as reading for pleasure. This is also closely monitored by staff members to ensure that children are accessing a variety of books and continuing to read regularly.

Parents can visit The Oxford Owl which is a FREE website built to support you with your child’s learning. Just sign up and create log in details to access it for free!

Through this website you’ll find age-specific reading and maths tips and activities, FREE eBooks, and lots of fun ideas to really bring your child’s learning to life.

You will also find support and advice on a range of questions you may have – including helping your child with their phonics, motivating boys to read and  how to help your child with spelling and grammar.

Click here to visit the site: