Our Aims:

At St Hilda’s we understand how integral the skill of reading is to so many areas of life. By the time children leave St. Hilda’s, there are two main priorities: the first to instil a lifelong love of reading and the second ensuring children leave with the essential life skill of fluent reading, whereby they can read for meaning.

Reading is something which happens daily in all year groups, in a variety of forms as well as the opportunity to access wider reading and utilising reading’s transferable skills in our diverse curriculum.

As a Read Write Inc school, we believe that every child is a reader. Our ‘keep up, not catch up’ ethos strives to leave no child without the fundamental skills required to be a confident reader. Through a robust delivery of consistent, high-quality reading sessions in small groups based on children’s exact challenge point, children are taught to read books with sounds they know.

Essential characteristics of a reader at St Hilda’s:

  • Utilises their decoding skills to read familiar and unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed.
  • Fluent when reading aloud and do so with expression.
  • Display enthusiasm for reading, meaning they choose to read often and widely.
  • Immerse themselves in books of their own interest, and texts accessed within lessons and beyond.
  • Gain a wide range of vocabulary from their reading and apply this to school and the wider world.
  • Develop the ability to read for meaning.
  • Retrieve information from a text at their level.
  • Make predictions about what will next in the text.
  • Utilise the transferable skill of reading to other areas of the curriculum.
  • Identify connections between texts and genres from a range of literature.
  • The opportunity to engage with a wide range of texts.

This will then enable children to leave St. Hilda’s being confident readers, allowing them to transition from our school with a lifelong skill that will help them understand the world, wherever their journey will take them next.

Progress is tracked using a range of evidence, including:

  • half-termly assessments of sounds, word reading (alien and real), fluency and comprehension
  • teacher observations and listening to children read
  • evidence in English books and reading records
  • termly tests
  • phonics screening assessments in Year 1
  • statutory tests (SATs) in Year 2 and Year 6

Those children who are identified being less fluent, or who are identified as being in the bottom 20% of readers can receive extra interventions and are listened to on a more regular basis by school staff and reading volunteers.


Early Reading and Phonics (EYFS and KS1)

At St Hilda’s, we are a Read Write Inc school. Read Write Inc (RWI) is a complete literacy programme which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. It also encompasses writing, grammar and letter formation, linked to the high-quality texts the children are currently reading in their specific group. At the heart of RWI is the belief that every child can be a reader.

What does Read Write Inc involve?

Children participate in hour-long sessions of Read Write Inc every day. Each session is delivered to target the exact sounds the children in the group need to learn next, in addition to reviewing previously taught sounds. This is identified through the assessment process, which takes place half termly and is carried out by the reading leader. A typical lesson varies depending on the needs of the group, but throughout the week they typically involve a daily speed sounds lesson, sounds from the focus storybook, speedy green words (common words with common graphemes), red words (common words with a low-frequency grapheme), story green words (new words to learn the meaning of), reading and sharing a story together and corresponding writing activities.

Fred Talk – Oral Blending

Fred the frog helps children read. He can say the sounds in words, but he can’t say the whole word, so the children have to help him. To help children read, Fred (the teacher) says the sounds, for example, l-igh-t, and the children respond by saying the word, light. Read Write Inc sessions include lots of Fred Games which encourage the children to blend.

Home Reading

Children take home the same story that they have read with their reading teacher that week. This is a familiar book that the children should be able to read confidently, and the children being able to share their learning with their grown-ups provides an opportunity to celebrate their reading. Teachers also send home videos of each sound being taught from the Virtual Classroom, in case a child is absent or needs to consolidate a previous sound, ensuring that there is no room for gaps in phonological knowledge.

What does my child’s reading book colour mean?

Set 1 – These children are learning to read and spell words with Set 1 single letter sounds, e.g. m, a, t, g, v. They are also learning to blend sounds into words e.g. c, a, t = cat. They might bring home a sound blending book to encourage oral blending.

Ditty sheets – These children are learning to read and spell words with Set 1 special friends: sh, th, ch, ng, nk, ff, ll, ss, qu, ck and they are reviewing the single letter sounds they have already learned. They are reading and writing short phrases such as ‘a cat on a mat’. They begin to read short nonsense words such as ‘bip’.

Red – These children are learning to read and spell words with all the Set 1 sounds, including words with 5 sounds such as ‘habit’ (h, a, b, i, t). They begin reading story books and writing sentences.

Green – These children begin to learn Set 2 sounds (ay, ee, igh, ow, oo, ar, or, air, ir, ou, oy) and read word cards with words containing these sounds. They complete short writing activities based on the storybooks they read in class.

Purple – These children continue to learn Set 2 sounds and focus on gaining speed and fluency with word cards. They complete short writing activities based on the storybooks they read in class. Once confident they might begin learning Set 3 sounds.

Pink – These children begin to learn Set 3 sounds; different ways of spelling the Set 2 sounds such as ‘ie’ for ‘igh’. They review and spell words with Set 2 sounds. They will use letter names (A B C) to spell words with Set 2 and some Set 3 sounds.  They complete short writing activities based on the storybooks they read in class.

Orange – These children continue to learn Set 3 sounds. They will continue to use letter names (A B C) to spell words with Set 2 and some Set 3 sounds. They complete short writing activities based on the storybooks they read in class.

Yellow – These children begin to read longer storybooks. They continue to learn, review and spell words with Set 3 sounds. They complete longer writing activities based on the storybooks they read in class.

Blue – These children read longer storybooks, speedily and accurately in a storyteller voice. They complete a longer writing activity for each storybook they read.

Grey – These children read long storybooks, speedily and accurately in a storyteller voice. They learn how to read multisyllabic words quickly such as ‘poisonous’.


Fast Track Tutoring

Children who are identified as the lowest 20% of readers or haven’t made expected progress through the reading groups receive daily fast 1:1 track tutoring sessions with one of our RWI teachers. These are around 10 minutes long and are tailored to target the child’s individual need. Children who receive fast track tutoring are carefully monitored by the reading leader to ensure that they keep up with their peers. If a child is struggling with their reading, we liaise with the parent to ensure their child is being read with regularly in school and at home, and provide any support needed.

RWI teachers receive weekly CPD from the reading leader, in addition to in-session coaching, so as to ensure that every staff member across the school maintains quality first teaching of reading.

There is lots more information available about how Read Write Inc on their website:

Phonics Screening Check

Children in Year 1 are required to take a statutory phonics screening check to assess their phonological knowledge. This involves 40 words, 20 of which are real words and 20 ‘alien’ words (nonsense words). Children are asked to read the words, and can say the sounds out loud if necessary (Fred Talk). To prepare our pupils for this assessment, children have daily speed sounds lessons as part of their Read Write Inc session, where there is a real emphasis on accuracy. We build alien words into our everyday teaching of phonics, so children are confident in sounding out unfamiliar words.

Fresh Start

Fresh Start is a rapid progress scheme designed for children aged 9 onwards. If children are identified as needing additional support with their reading through assessments, they will join Fresh Start. It is taught in small groups, based on stage of reading. Children are taught sounds, practise reading and spelling words containing these sounds, then we give students decodable modules containing sounds and words they can read.

Children in Lower Key Stage 2 can still access RWI as their daily literacy session if they have not yet completed the programme in Key Stage 1, ensuring that every child becomes a confident and fluent reader as they progress through the school.

As in KS1 and EYFS, children in the bottom 20% of readers receive daily fast track tutoring in addition to their Fresh Start or RWI session.