Welcome to St Swithun's Church of England Primary Academy - see our new video tour on the Welcome page.

St Swithun's Church of England Primary Academy

Valuing individuals, aspiring and achieving together in faith


 At St Swithun's we are passionate about reading and writing. We believe that reading gives children an inner wellspring that they can draw on throughout their lives and helps them to connect with their own and others' feelings and experiences.

We aim to develop a deep love of reading through rich interractions with books that sets them on a lifelong literary journey...

We do this by:

  1. securing children's decoding skills through systematic phonics teaching from Early Years
  2. whole class teaching of comprehension skills through Reciprocal Reading
  3. small group Guided Reading, where children practice Reciprocal Reading strategies
  4. home reading and sharing of personal book recommendations through class 'Book talk' time
  5. daily whole class story time


St Swithun's Reading Spine

How we teach your child to read - and to love reading forever!


Phonics - F1, F2 and Year 1:

Your child's early reading begins with daily systematic synthetic phonics. We follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programmme that has been validated by the DfE (see our Phonics web page)

Alongside daily (or twice daily for catch up) phonics, all children in KS1 have 3 'Reading Practice' sessions each week:

1) Decoding

2) Prosody (reading with expression)

3) Comprehension

We are passionate about teaching children to be successful readers who enjoy the power of language and who can read with expression to engage others in the magic of the spoken word.


Children read using high quality Collins Big Cat reading books. These are pitched at the child's phonics phase so that every child can experience success. They are taken home to read with parents after their 3rd reading practice session. This means that children and parents can celebrate the joy of successful reading together.


Colour banded reading books - From Year 2

If your child has completed the phonics programme, they will initially be reading a colour banded book (orange - lime). The purpose of the colour banding is to help newly fluent children to select books that are accessible and graded according to:

sentence length and structure, the number of words on a page, the complexity of the vocabulary and the maturity of the issues dealt with in the book.


Reciprocal Reading - Years 2-6

Our intention is that all children will be able to decode successfully by the end of Year 1. After this we introduce 'Reciprocal Reading'. Reciprocal reading is a structured approach to teaching strategies that children can use to improve their reading comprehension so that they can become lifelong readers who engage positively and critically with texts.

From Years 2 -6 children are taught the active reading strategies of:

1) Predicting

2) Clarifying

3) Questioning

4) Summarising

A range of quality fiction and non-fiction texts linked to the wider curriculum or the English core text are used to teach children through a combination of whole class and guided group sessions.

Reading comprehension strategies, which focus on the learners’ understanding of written text, are rated as high impact on the EEF Toolkit:,less%20common%20in%20the%20UK.


Independent reading

Children in all classes are given independent reading time. This gives children an opportunity to get into the habit of reading (and class teachers will model this practice themselves). Children can read from their colour banded book, or from a newspaper (we subscribe to First News children's newspaper). 

'Book talk' time gives children the opportunity to speak for no longer than 2 minutes about te book they are reading - to recommend it to their friends or to share something that they think or wonder from their reading.


Whole Class Storytime

Storytime is sacrosant!

Every day our teachers give the children the opportunity to be transported by a story or poem. This might be a reading from the core English text; it might be a poem, a picture book or a book that the children have chosen. 

Parents of children in KS1 are invited to our Early Bird reading sessions each Wednesday.


Reading through the English curriculum

Our planning for English ensures that children are being exposed to a range of quality texts and through these, they gather content for their own writing. Teaching sequences always begin with reading!

Developing a pleasure in reading and motivation to read...Learning a range of poems by heart and rehearsing for performance.



How you can support your child's love of reading:

If your child is in Reception and Year 1, we send home

1) One Little Wandle book each week. This is a phonically decodable pitched at the right level for your child.

2) A 'Sharing' book from the class library. This is a book for you to read to your child (they might want to share this reading but they would not be expected to be able to read it to you)

Please help your child to love reading by:

  • Listening to your child read at least 3 times a week
  • Think about how long you are reading for - the amount of reading time should not go beyond your child's span of attention.
  • Pick your timing carefully – it is best not to embark on a reading session when your child is tired.

1:1 reading practice

Sometimes children benefit from more intensive reading with an adult in school. There are specific strategies we use to ensure that this time gives a child confidence whilst building their reading skills and pleasure.

How we teach 1:1 reading

How we read - Storytime

The Reading Framework 2023

Book titles to promote cultural diversity

Reading in Early Years

The EYFS framework is structured differently to the national curriculum as it is organised across seven areas of learning rather than subject areas. 

The table below outlines the most relevant statements taken from the Early Learning Goals in the EYFS statutory framework and the Development Matters age ranges for Three and Four-Year-Olds and Reception to match the programme of study for reading. The statements for reading are taken from the following areas of learning:

• Communication and Language

• Literacy

• Expressive Arts and Design

• Understanding the World

Follow this link to find reading book recommendations for children of all ages