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St Columba’s is a Catholic school with Christ’s teachings of love, peace and justice at the heart of all we do

Reading Intent


St Columba’s School mission is to foster ‘Christ’s teaching of love, peace and justice at the heart of all we do.’ We strive to help our children use God’s gifts to develop themselves and to serve others as they grow and learn.


Reading is at the heart of the curriculum at St Columba’s where pupils read for a variety of purposes, information and interest. Primarily, we ensure children read for pleasure in order to develop a lifelong love of reading. We know that it has a dramatic impact on their educational outcomes, wellbeing and social mobility and it is also a huge pleasure in itself. In order to do this, we are determined that all children will learn to read from the very start of their journey with us.


In Reception and Key Stage 1 children are taught through the systematic synthetic phonics programme, Read, Write Inc, to recognise letter sounds. Read Write Inc (RWI) is a 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. All children are assessed regularly by our RWI lead teacher.  From these assessments children are grouped into stages, where they work with peers on the same stage.  


The curriculum in Reception is based on developing children's ability to successfully decode and build fluency, whilst enjoying being read to regularly, at home and at school, to fully appreciate the magic of books and to expand their knowledge which will ultimately impact on their reading comprehension. From this, they then gain pleasure, interest and enjoyment which motivates them to read more.


During KS1, children continue to embed their phonic knowledge moving onto the RWI comprehension programme when they are confident. In EYFS and KS1, children’s independent reading books match their phonic ability to support success and independence. The texts increase in challenge and by the time the children are towards the end of their time in KS1 they are ready to move on to ‘real’ books and are supported with their reading through the use of ‘Accelerated Reader’. The use of ‘Accelerated Reader’ continues into Key Stage Two and over time children are exposed to a widening range of authors, themes and genres, all of which help to broaden and enrich each child’s vocabulary, understanding and knowledge. Children participate in reading every day and each class focuses on core texts along with ample opportunities for them to read for sheer pleasure.


Children continue to build a rich and varied vocabulary through the class word of the day vocabulary activity and through a selection of quality reading books chosen to extend children's vocabulary and to address the complexities of reading. High quality texts and passages are chosen, appropriate to the expectations of the year group or ability of children, and teachers use this to model the application of the reading skills. Children are taught to relate the text to themselves, previous reading experiences and the world around them. Further to modelled sessions, children have the opportunity to read texts with greater independence and apply their skills when responding to the wide range of reading domain questions. Teachers model how to refine answers to a high standard.


Our mission is that all pupils will be able to read with accuracy, speed, confidence, fluency and understanding ready to access the next stage of their reading journey whilst developing a life-long enjoyment of reading.