Also see our English Long Term Plan on our Curriculum page.


At St. Jude’s, Reading is at the heart of everything we do and skills are taught across the whole curriculum.

We actively encourage and greatly value parental involvement and believe it has a real impact on children’s achievement. We emphasise the need for parents to take an active role in their child’s education, supporting the developing reader and encouraging open lines of communication through reading diaries.

We are proud of the quality texts that we use in school. If you would like more information about reading, or any part of our English curriculum, please contact Mrs L Glennon, the English Lead.

We promote a love for reading by providing a wide range of engaging texts and support all children in developing the skills they need to ‘learn to read’ so they become passionate, independent readers who can ‘read to learn’. Areas around school, including in the classrooms, are organized to allow our pupils space to read for pleasure.

Reading is taught mainly through a guided approach, in small groups, which are regularly reviewed by the class teacher and English Lead. In Reception and Key Stage One, children take home books appropriate to their phonic ‘phase’. Books are matched carefully to Letters and Sounds. We are very keen that our children read with understanding rather than just being able to decode so effective questioning is used to develop skills in comprehension, inference, deduction and vocabulary understanding.

Reading Schemes and Books

Words and Spellings

Reading at Home

In September 2021, we introduced a whole new reading scheme of books for use across the whole of school called Big Cat, published by Collins.

From early phonics development to fluency, Collins Big Cat is a whole-school programme that provides complete support for primary reading. It delivers effective phonics with fully decodable books, expertly aligned to Letter and Sounds and allows children to foster a love of reading with hundreds of levelled readers covering a range of fiction and non-fiction genres.

Read more: Our Guided Reading Schemes/Books

Other Reading at St. Jude’s

In addition to our guided reading and class novels, reading is accessed by our children in many other ways:


We have a well equipped library full of fiction and non-fiction texts. In the past couple of years, we have invested greatly in the resources that we available to pupils.


Every Tuesday afternoon, for half an hour, the whole school downs tools and takes part in OTTER – Our Time To Enjoy Reading. During this time, classes buddy up together for shared reading sessions, the school library is used and adults share their favourite stories with pupils.

The Five Plagues of Reading

After staff training where we used Doug Lemov's 'Reading Reconsidered', we felt reading in our school needed to be redeveloped. Lemov points out early in the book that there are 5 plagues of reading which children need experiences of in order to access tougher texts, especially those expected of them in secondary school and beyond. They are as follows:

  • Archaic Texts - The vocabulary, usage, syntax and context for cultural reference of texts over 50 or 100 years old are vastly different and typically more complex than texts written today.
  • Non-Linear Time Sequences - A story narrated in a given style with a given cadence and that cadence endures and remains consistent, but in the best books, books where every aspect of the narration is nuanced to create an exact image, time moves in fits and starts. It doubles back or is non-linear in execution.
  • Narratively Complex - Multiple, unreliable or non-human narrators which often create multiple plot-lines or alternative view points.
  • Complexity of Plot/Symbol - Stories which can be steeped in figurative language and often exist on an allegorical or symbolic level, sometime complex in plot and structure.
  • Resistant Texts - Texts written to deliberately resist easy meaning-making by readers. Perhaps half of the poems ever written fall into this category. You have to assemble meaning around nuances, hints, uncertainties and clues.

With this in mind, we feel that pupils at St. Jude’s should have access to all of these text types from Year One upwards so that they have experienced a wide range by the time they leave for secondary school. Every class has a special box with a range of texts which fall under these five strands. These are used by teachers as additional texts and by pupils during OTTER and other reading times.



In Reception, children are taught to recognise and say the 44 phonemes (letter sounds) using Letters and Sounds.

We aspire that children will know all of the Phase 2 and 3 sounds by the time they come to Year 1. By the time they move into Year 2, the national expectation is that they recognise and can ‘say’ all the Phase 5 phonemes too.

They are taught how to blend these sounds together to read them in words and to segment them when they spell.

Children have several phonics sessions each week and are encouraged to use these strategies in their reading and writing right across the curriculum! All staff involved in the planning and teaching of phonics have engaged in the relevant training to make sure that all pupils receive the same standard of quality teaching.

Children are taught how to read and spell both the decodable and ‘tricky’ words from each phase of Letters and Sounds using a range of strategies, including the blending of phonemes.

Read more: Letters and Sounds Phases 1 to 5


In September 2018, we adopted a new approach to handwriting at our school called 'Achieving Excellence in Handwriting' written by Martin Harvey and Debbie Watson.

Formation of lower letters is taught with letters grouped together in families.

Read more: Handwriting at St Jude's