The Teaching of Reading

At St.Cedd’s it is through reading that much of our learning takes place. Competence in reading provides the key to independent learning and has a direct effect upon progress in most areas. Reading is crucial in developing children’s self-confidence and motivation, therefore the teaching of reading is given high priority within the curriculum at St. Cedd’s.

Children begin learning to read at the start of the Reception year with the teaching of Fast Track Phonics. This is a systematic phonics programme that builds children’s skills in letter-sound correspondence and word level blending and segmenting.

The aim of Fast Track Phonics is to ensure that children master the following skill areas:

  • Auditory Blending and Segmenting
  • Letter-Sound Correspondence
  • Word-Level Blending
  • Sound Spelling

Auditory Blending and Segmenting

Children are taught that all words are made up of separate units of speech (phonemes). This skill facilitates reading and spelling. They begin to understand that when sounds are quickly blended together, they sound like one unit of speech. When children learn that there are, for example, three sounds in a word (c,a,t), it logically follows that there are three graphemes needed to represent the sounds. Understanding the concept of the separability of sounds in words gives children the building blocks for understanding how the alphabet works to represent speech. Children rely less on memorising to read words, and more on applying their blending and segmenting skills to analyse, read and write words.

Letter-Sound Correspondence

To develop fluency in reading, children need to establish an automatic connection between letters and their sounds. They begin to use their letter-sound correspondence to sound out and read words. As their knowledge of letter sounds develops, the easier it is for them blend the sounds into words for reading. Children are learnt to hear a sound, then read and write the letter that represents that sound.

Word-Level Blending

Word-level blending is the ability to look at a word, recognise the graphemes, make the sound for each grapheme, then put the sounds together to say the word. The understanding of letter-sound correspondence alongside auditory blending and segmenting aid the performance of this more complex task.

Sound Spelling

Sound spelling is the ability to successfully sound out a word and transcribe the sounds into letters.

The teaching of Fast Track Phonics continues throughout Year One and Two, and is used as an intervention tool within Key Stage Two.

As well as the teaching of phonics, there are three structured ways in which children are taught and helped to develop their reading skills:

Shared Reading

This takes place during the English lesson. The teacher and children work together to explore a variety of text including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The teacher models reading during this time with each lesson having a specific focus, for example, comprehension, word-building, spelling patterns and punctuation. Shared reading provides a context for applying and teaching specific skills and enables children to access reading material that they may not otherwise be able to read.

Guided Reading

Guided Reading is used to develop fluency in reading and comprehension skills. Children are exposed to a variety of text types. They read short extracts whilst answering questions to help them comprehend the text, through; previewing, self-questioning, making connections, visualising, knowing how words work, monitoring, summarising and evaluating.

Guided Reading is taught as a lesson each day, with the children practising skills taught through focused activities.

Individual Reading

Books used for individual reading are matched to the child’s reading ability level. Reading is assessed at least once a term which helps to determine which colour band the child should be reading. Assessment of reading involves checking for fluency in reading alongside comprehension of the text. When a child is secure in both elements they will be moved to the next colour band. Children will read a variety of books within each colour band including fiction, non-fiction and poetry from a range of reading schemes, including Collins, New Reading 360, Oxford Reading Tree and Nelson. This helps to develop an understanding of a variety of text. Once the children are confident readers they will choose what to bring home from a wide range of titles. Children are given the opportunity to read with a teacher or learning support assistant each week. Books can be changed up to five times per week.

Please take the time to listen to your child read and to discuss the book with them, asking questions, explaining the meaning of words and asking for their ideas and opinions about what they have read. Please make a comment in their reading diary indicating that you have listened to them read. All children who have read at least three times across the week shown through parent comment in the diary, will be entered into a reading prize draw.

Library Books

Children have weekly opportunities to choose a library book to take home. The main purpose of library books is that they are fun and help children to develop a love of books. Children are able to choose any book, regardless of reading ability, which we hope that you will enjoy sharing and reading together.

How Parents Can Help:

There are many ways that you can help to promote the enjoyment of reading at home. Here are some ideas:

  • Visit the local library and borrow books that you can enjoy together
  • Model reading; expressing a personal interest in reading will encourage your child to enjoy reading too
  • Whilst out and about encourage your child to read road signs, shop names, product names, logos, notices etc
  • Play games such as ‘I Spy’ to encourage initial sound recognition
  • Whilst cooking encourage your child to read the recipe/ instructions to you
  • Audio and e. books are really useful for modelling how reading sounds

Encourage your child to experience a range of reading materials such as picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines and information books.

Have fun with reading!

Useful Websites

Curriculum and Planning

At St. Cedd’s Primary School, we are following the National Curriculum (2014), as set out by the Department of Education.

As a school, we have used the National Curriculum (2014) to create Termly Overviews for each year and from this, we plan lessons to suit children’s needs and to enhance their mathematical understanding and embed the key concepts of mathematics.

The school has a new Calculation Policy, devised to meet requirements of the National Curriculum (2014) for the teaching and learning of mathematics.  It has been designed to give pupils a consistent and smooth progression of learning in calculations across the school.  A copy of this will be available on the website.


Mathematics is a fundamental life skill and at St. Cedd’s, we encourage children develop a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards mathematics that will stay with them throughout their lives. Therefore, as a school, we aim to provide the pupils with a mathematics curriculum, high quality teaching and use of effective resources so that we develop individuals who are numerate, inquisitive, and confident.

It is important that mathematics is purposeful and we develop children’s enquiry, reasoning and problem solving skills to help build their understanding of calculation and the essentials of mathematics. To provide this mathematical ethos, we use the National Curriculum Aims for Mathematics (2014);

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils have conceptual understanding and are able to recall and apply their knowledge rapidly and accurately to problems.
  • reason mathematically, by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language.
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics, to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.

At St.Cedd’s, we believe that English is a fundamental life skill. English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as non-fiction and media texts. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.

English Curriculum Planning

At St. Cedd’s, we follow the National Curriculum (2014) as set out by the Department for Education to plan our English lessons, incorporating a variety of teaching and learning styles. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills and understanding. The National Curriculum is used to create planning is divided into three main stages: long-term (yearly), medium-term (units of study) and short-term (daily lessons). Narrative, Non-Fiction or Poetry form the basis of each unit, and teachers ensure that their daily lessons encompass the units throughout the academic year. Where possible, teachers make attempts to develop links with topics being covered.

Children within the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One also have an allocated 25-30 minutes of phonics teaching each day using Fast Track Phonics. The scheme is used as an intervention tool across years 3-5. Children in Key Stage Two have additional Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar lessons daily.

The Foundation Stage

Children within the Foundation Stage follow the Foundation Stage Curriculum. There are opportunities to explore and experiment with sounds, words and texts, stories rhymes and poems, role-play and mark-making. All of which aid with the development of vocabulary and communication skills.

Cross-Curricular Links

Children at St.Cedd’s are encouraged to use and apply their learning of English in all areas of the Curriculum. We plan carefully to develop purposeful links to other subjects, providing a context for further learning. Reading, writing, speaking and listening skills enable children to communicate and express themselves in all areas of school life. Links to the children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development are actively promoted throughout the school.


At St. Cedd’s we believe that writing is an essential skill not only for further learning but in later life.

We aim to ensure all children reach their full potential in writing, enabling them to become confident, fluent and imaginative writers.

At St. Cedd’s writing is taught in many different ways from the moment a child begins in Reception.  Teachers follow the 2014 National Curriculum and EYFS Curriculum in order to plan exciting and engaging English lessons where the skill of writing is specifically taught.  This happens every day and time to rehearse writing skills is provided in other areas of the curriculum.  The children are taught in units, meaning they will look at a particular genre of writing i.e. narrative (story writing) over a period of 2-3 weeks.  This enables children to fully immerse themselves in the techniques needed for each type of writing.  During this time the children will be given several opportunities to write in the given style.  This process is detailed in greater depth in the school’s English Policy.

Visits from touring theatre companies such as the English Shakespeare Company and visiting authors, poets and storytellers are used to inspire the children’s writing.

Ways to promote writing at home could include:

  • Writing shopping lists together
  • Writing diaries during the holidays
  • Writing birthday and Christmas cards
  • Reading together – Good readers help make good writers

St. Cedd’s Church of England Primary School places religious education and the development of Christian character at the very heart of its work. The school is participating in the Understanding Christianity project, which offers a coherent approach to teaching and learning about Christianity, in the wider RE curriculum with the aim of supporting pupils in developing their own thinking and their understanding of Christianity, as a contribution to their understanding of the world and their own experience within it.

We aim to see our pupils from their earliest days at school and throughout their time at our school begin to develop a coherent understanding of Christian belief and practice (including, but not limited to, Anglican Christianity), exploring the significant theological concepts within Christianity as part of developing their wider religious, theological and cultural literacy. Alongside this, the school has a commitment to supporting teachers in developing their own knowledge and understanding of Christianity theology to be able to teach with confidence.

Understanding Christianity identifies eight core concepts at the heart of mainstream Christian belief.  It sets out some knowledge ‘building blocks’, to clarify what pupils should know and understand about these concepts at each school phase. It provides a teaching and learning approach to unpack these concepts and their impact in the lives of Christians in the UK and the world today, making connections with the world of the pupils and their wider understanding.

This approach to teaching about Christianity builds up pupils’ encounters with the core concepts through biblical texts, placing the texts and concepts within the wider Bible story. Each unit addresses a concept, through some key questions, exploring core Bible texts, their impact for Christians, and possible implications for pupils. Each unit incorporates the three elements below:

  • Making sense of the text: developing pupils’ skills of reading and interpretation; understanding how Christians interpret, handle and use biblical texts; making sense of the meanings of texts for Christians.
  • Understanding the impact: examining ways in which Christians respond to biblical texts and teachings, and how they put their beliefs into action in diverse ways within the Christian community and in the world.
  • Making connections: evaluating, reflecting on and connecting the texts and concepts studied, and discerning possible connections between these and pupils’ own lives and ways of understanding the world.

Pupils’ achievement is assessed against the knowledge building blocks and against end-of-phase outcomes related to the elements above.

This approach offers coherence and progression in terms of pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding. It supports pupils’ abilities to handle texts, as well as understanding how and why Christians interpret biblical texts differently.  It also places emphasis on the role of the pupil as reader, bringing their own world to the text whilst giving them the opportunity to allow the text to enlarge their understanding of the world.

Alongside this, the school also prepares pupils to be global citizens, developing and understanding of and respect for the range of faiths and beliefs of others. We do this through RE lessons, following the Essex Agreed Syllabus for RE other faiths materials and engaging in the work of the British Council to develop links with schools in other countries.

Children at St. Cedd’s learn through a cross curricula approach which gives meaning to their learning. Each term/half term there is a new topic. Where possible, each topic consists of an out-of-school visit or in-school visitor to further enhance the learning experience. Children also consolidate and extend learning at home through completing Extended Challenges which are showcased in school at the end of each half term. English and mathematics are taught with guidance from the National Curriculum. PE is taught in class groups by our Sports Coach. Each class has half termly swimming lessons. Religious Education is taught using Understanding Christianity as a resource to support the teaching of Christianity.

Class timetables typically consist of:

Mornings: English, Maths, Phonics/GPS, Guided Reading.

Afternoons: Science, Religious Education, History, Geography, Art, Design Technology, Modern Foreign Language, Music, Physical Education, Collective Worship.

Extra Curricular Clubs
The school offers a wide range of clubs such as multi-sports, running, art, handicraft, Yoga, Netball and Zumba. Some are free. However, where there is a fee, no pupil is excluded through inability to pay.

Residential Trips 

Year 6 experience a week-long residential, whilst Year 4 and 5 experience an overnight stay at Danbury Outdoors. Children develop team-building skills and resilience whilst having fun!

For further information on the curriculum please visit the Department for Education website.

Whole School Topic Planner

Pangolins Year 1 Curriculum Map

Turtles Year 2 and 3 Curriculum Map

Snow Leopards Year 4 and 5 Curriculum Map

Siberian Tigers Year 5 and 6 Curriculum Map

At St Cedd’s we want to make our curriculum as exciting and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to invite visitors into school to hold workshops etc. In recent years we have had chocolate workshops, Roman workshops, and Shakespeare Company performances. At other times we may choose to take the children out of school to visit a famous building, or to take part in an event. Some of our favourite places have been the Royal Opera House, Westminster Abbey and the O2 Arena in London. Of course, we also encourage the children to take part in residential visits. Year 6 have visited Margam in South Wales and Year 5 and Year 4  have experienced an overnight stay in Danbury Outdoors Centre.

Where trips/ visitors incur a cost, parents/ carers will be asked to make a contribution, however, no child will be excluded because of such a refusal.

At St Cedd’s collective worship is an important part of our school day.  All children and members of staff meet every day to share in collective worship which is based around our Christian values of Forgiveness, Perseverance, Thankfulness, Respect, Truthfulness and Friendship.

During Worship children learn all about our values through the teachings of Jesus and the Bible.  Children are encouraged to share their thoughts and views.  We have a Collective Worship group who lead worship once a week. A typical week consists of:

Monday- Celebration and Christian values awards

Tuesday- Old/ New Testament

Wednesday- Our own and other faiths and cultures

Thursday- Core Christian Values

Friday- Incumbent/ Visitor worship