Middleton St Mary's CE (VC) Primary School




At Middleton St Mary’s, we are committed to teaching our pupils to become skilled readers who develop an understanding of words, language, and texts as they move through school. HMI Jo Sharp, May 2021 noted:

"A love of books and reading permeates the school."

"Pupils learn to read through a consistent, whole-school approach to teaching phonics. All staff are involved and trained in how to teach pupils to read. Staff teach phonics well. Books are well matched to pupils’ phonic knowledge which gives pupils the confidence and eagerness to read more."

Children learn to read and then read to learn. Through using a range of strategies, our aim is to ensure that pupils develop a love of reading so that they can read for purpose and for pleasure. We provide pupils with a range of strategies to do this.

Let's Read

Let’s Read is a valued and secured time in our school day in every class. It’s a time when the class come together to read and enjoy a story together. The class novel will be read during this time as well as carefully selected, engaging texts around the class topic.

Early Reading and Phonics

At Middleton St Mary's, we use ‘Read Write Inc.’ as our Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme. This programme is followed with rigor and fidelity by all teachers and teaching assistants. Children are phased into phonics groups in Reception and separate phasing happens in Year 1 and Year 2. Discrete whole-class phonics lessons are also taught. To ensure that learning is embedded, flashcards and reading opportunities continue throughout the day and additional 1-1 phonics teaching is given to identified children. Phonics remains the main strategy that we use to approach/decode unfamiliar words and spelling across the school. We believe we can teach all children to read.

Lessons are kept fast-paced and consist of a variety of tasks incorporating not only phonics but applying phonetic knowledge to fluency, comprehension, handwriting, spelling and grammar. Phonics lessons occur daily, lasting approximately 20 minutes. 

Reading: Before books are taken home, children take home red words and wordless books. Children should be proficient independent blenders before books are taken home. Each child reads with an adult in school at least twice a week in Reception and Key Stage 1. We encourage children to read at home. 

Assessment: Formative assessment takes place during all phonics lesson, quickly identifying who has and has not picked up a new sound, informing future planning and any need for one to one support. More formal assessments take place half termly. This is then used to regroup children into their most appropriate phonics group.

Intervention: Children who have been identified as ‘working below the required standard’ will have daily intervention until back on track. We continue to use Read Write Inc. structures and processes for intervention, no additional packages are used.


Children in Key Stage 2 who are not yet reading fluently continue to attend phonics until they have developed confidence and fluency.

Key Stage 2 Reading

Daily Reading and Accelerated Reader

All children need to read often to improve their fluency and understanding. Any reading they do is worthwhile, whether it's in a book, a comic, a recipe, on a website or through an app!

Children in Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 all have access to Accelerated Reader. Remember to quiz when you finish your book and earn more points!

Reciprocal Reading

Reciprocal Reading happens in Key Stage 2. Together we read an extract which could be from our class book or related to any of our foundation subject learning.  We clarify new or unusual vocabulary, ask questions, summarise and make predictions.  Reciprocal Reading is all about having high quality discussions around a text, providing children with skills to be outstanding independent readers.


How can I support my child in Reading?

You can support children when they read to you by helping them to break down words in to sounds and then blending them.  This video demonstrates how children should pronounce the pure sounds to help them to blend.

The best way to help all children in reading is to read as much as possible!

The document below has 7 top tips to support your child in reading.


We encourage children to develop skills to communicate effectively through spoken language and writing, to listen with understanding, and to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable readers. We recognise English as an important core subject and as a pre-requisite for educational and social progress.

We aim to provide an environment which promotes language development, which is stimulating and characterised by high expectations of success for every child. To ensure all children reach their full potential in English, their individual needs and abilities are recognised and developed in a caring and supportive environment, in partnership with parents.


Once children have gained the mechanics of writing, we introduce our non-negotiables to them. Each year group/phase has a list of non-negotiables which are taken from the National Curriculum and have been rephrased into child-speak.  Non-negotiables are key areas which must be used correctly in order for writing to be accurate. Once the non-negotiable has been taught, it is displayed on the English working wall and referred to. We re-cap the non-negotiables from the previous year group at the start of each year.

Children working towards or working at the expected standard for their age will be expected to demonstrate all of the non-negotiables on display at all times. Pupils working below the expected standard are expected to use the non-negotiables for the age that they are working at and do this at all times.

You can view our non-negotiables on each year group's page!


We aim to widen children’s vocabulary by teaching the meaning of new words each week.  Teachers choose between 5 and 10 ‘tier two’ words.  We call these our Goldilocks Words as ‘they’re not too hard, not too easy, they’re just right’. Teachers plan short activities which immerse children in rich vocabulary.

Our Writing Process

At Middleton St Mary’s, we follow a writing process which allows children to analyse and explore the feature of a text type before moving on to learning the skills required to create their own text and finally develop their ability to independently create an edited piece of writing.

Children are expected to ‘write’ daily, taking pride in everything they write.

Moor Flatts Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 3SW

0113 2717206