The Catholic School of St Gregory The Great Believe and Achieve

English Reading Curriculum


We recognise that the Curriculum reaches far wider than the learning that happens in formal lessons in each classroom.  It includes everything that a child experiences in their time at our school and develops the very person they are becoming, with their talents, their needs and their aspirations for the future. Each experience provides a learning opportunity to develop and prepare our children for life in modern Britain as global citizens through the lens of Catholic life.


At St Gregory's, we are inclusive and recognise that everyone has their own unique God-given talents. Our curriculum is progressive and builds on prior knowledge, understanding and skills so that we develop our whole school community academically, spiritually, emotionally, morally and socially. This enables our children to develop cultural capital and become righteous citizens who give to society. We provide creative and engaging opportunities that inspire and motivate our children to become lifelong learners and have aspirations to be the very best they can be.


In Reading, we aim for all of our children to see themselves as skilled readers, confident communicators and authors. We endeavour to inspire a sense of curiosity in our children and develop their enthusiasm for reading, recognising that the skills and knowledge they learn through reading can be used to have a positive impact on God’s world around them.


To be able to be a skilled reader, children will need to build up the skills, knowledge and understanding of word reading and comprehension. They will need to understand and use the language of reading and apply these reading skills and knowledge across the curriculum.


To be a reader, children need to be competent with both: 
•    word reading
•    comprehension (both listening and reading)

Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading when children first start at our school.


Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and a knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday spoken language. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.


It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in readiness for their forthcoming secondary education.


The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum (2014) is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. 

The national curriculum for reading aims to ensure that all pupils: 

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas


Phonics Scheme:
We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds (ULS) SSP which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. 

We begin teaching phonics in the first weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.


In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.


In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps. For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds Progression.


To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.

Reading Scheme:
At The Catholic School of St Gregory the Great we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.

In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics and Oxford Reading Tree to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow. Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.


How we plan for progression in reading at St Gregory’s:

The St Gregory’s Curriculum is designed around year group themes. Each has been structured and sequenced in order to engage pupils in purposeful learning by building on prior knowledge and helping connect knowledge, understanding and skills year-on-year both within reading and across other subjects too. Reading is not only a standalone subject but is also a golden thread through our curriculum.


In EYFS and KS1, children take part in small group guided reading sessions following the Unlocking Letters and Sounds (ULS) SSP. These provide opportunities for modelling and teaching of early reading and decoding skills, prosody and comprehension, to ensure that their link between the daily phonics lesson and fluency of reading is strong. In KS2, children take part in discrete whole class Guided Reading lessons once a week, where children are exposed to a range of different texts.  Additionally, English is taught through immersion in a high quality text, developing children’s reading fluency and depth of understanding in a range of reading, writing grammar, punctuation and oracy skills. 


We know that children who are exposed to a wide variety of texts by being read to and reading themselves for pleasure develop a greater vocabulary, greater reading fluency and greater comprehension. We also know they typically go on to have better outcomes in life. Therefore, a rich diet of reading and our encouragement of reading for pleasure are at the heart of our reading principles. 


By the time children leave us they are competent, fluent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, plays, novels and non-fiction and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader. Most importantly they have a love for reading and understand the joys it can bring to them and to the world!


Reading Curriculum Coverage:
Coverage is based on the Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and the National Curriculum 2014 Programme of Study with objectives allocated across phases and year groups, to ensure a progression of knowledge, skills and understanding.  

Progression of Skills
The ULS phonics assessment sheets, alongside our class phonics tracker, maps incremental progression in phonic knowledge and skills. These documents enable teachers to conduct frequent and ongoing assessment to track and record children’s progress and to identify those children at, below or above expected levels, so that appropriate support can be provided. Children who are at risk of falling behind are placed on targeted ULS interventions which provide extra practice so they can consolidate and master the content of the programme. 


‘Decodable’ books have been carefully structured in cumulative steps using the phases and sets outlined in the ULS SSP progression for children learning to read, so that they can decode every word as their knowledge of the alphabetic code increases. Use of the ULS phonics assessment sheets alongside our class phonics tracker ensures children can practise their phonic knowledge and skills by reading texts closely matched to their level of phonic attainment that do not require them to use alternative strategies to read unknown words. 



Children will continue on the ULS SSP programme and ‘set’ books until they have achieved phase 5.  In KS1, once children are assessed as achieving phase 5 in phonics they move onto our school reading scheme (Oxford Reading Tree) levelled books. These are levelled books, which match the children’s current reading level. We expect families at home to read these books with their child daily and make comments in their child’s reading record.


To ensure children are on the right level of home reading book on the Oxford Reading Tree scheme, teachers plan in time to assess children. This happens on an ongoing basis and these judgements are informed by:

  • assessment statements linked to the Oxford Reading Tree scheme
  • assessment from guided reading lessons 
  • ongoing formative assessment 
  • summative assessment tests
  • professional dialogue with Teaching Partners, volunteers and all staff


We use this ongoing assessment to help us quickly target children who require extra support and who are at risk of falling behind.


There will be some children who take longer to achieve phase 5 than KS1 however, their needs will be assessed alongside the inclusion department and when the time is right for each of them, they will move to levelled books too. 


KS2 Reading Tracker


Oxford Reading Tree Assessment Sheet: 


Reading for Pleasure:

  • Each class has a selection of books in their classroom which are directly linked with the class topic. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum as well as seeing the vocabulary for specific subjects being used in context.  
  • Children are read to each day by their class teacher with a particular focus on modelling fluency and the pure joy of reading. This is dedicated time in the school timetable. This includes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The text is often linked to a class topic or it may be a book that the children will simply love. Teachers think carefully about the text they are reading, considering: age, cultural context, genre and the needs of their children. Teachers leave time for informal book talk and new vocabulary discussion so that children can develop a greater understanding of the text and have reading skills modelled to them.
  • Each classroom has a reading area that is filled with a range of suitable books as well as the ‘highly recommended’ booklist by The Book Trust. This is a comfortable place for children to read throughout the day.
  • Children are given time to independently read in school.
  • Different year groups across the school are matched up to become ‘Reading Buddies’, where children regularly share a book together. This allows for some fantastic role modelling and supporting of children as they progress through their reading journey. 
  • Children in Year 5 and Year 6 visit the local town library fortnightly to choose any book of their choice. 
  • KS2 children visit our own in-school KS2 library fortnightly. Each KS2 class has a library day where they can visit throughout the day and spend lunchtimes reading. Year 6 children are trained as librarians by Gloucestershire Schools and Library Education services.
  • All school staff aim to be seen as reading role models to children. Staff are encouraged to informally chat to children about their own reading and recommendations. ‘Staff as readers’ posters are throughout the school and in the school newsletters with details of ‘What I’m reading’ and details of their favourite books as children. Teachers are bought a new book suitable for their class annually from the Book Trust great books guide. 
  • Parents are provided with ideas and inspiration for how to help their child to develop as a reader through communication in our newsletters, termly class letters and regular emails as well as modelled reading sessions and bedtime story sessions through our website and YouTube channel. 


See Reading and Phonics Vision for more information

Phonics Scheme

Read about our Unlocking Letters and Sounds Phonics Scheme by clicking the below link: