St Stephen's Infant School

St Stephen's Infant School

SSIS invests love and care in all we do

Welcome to

St Stephen's Infant School

  1. Learning
  2. Reading


Big Picture - Talk like a Reader

Words and letters are all around us and reading helps us every day. When you have learned how the letters can make different sounds, you should be able to read most words independently. It helps in all subjects. It can inspire your imagination, create interactions and build knowledge.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. - Dr Seuss.


At St Stephen’s Infant School we strive to ensure that all children become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. We encourage all children to reach their full potential through the provision of varied opportunities to access phonics and reading, which support children to acquire phonic knowledge and to develop a love of reading. In phonics teaching, our principal aim is to develop children’s phonological awareness, their understanding of the alphabetic code and their ability to segment and blend phonetically decodable words and read tricky words by sight - to become fluent readers.

Please read about the teaching of phonics by clicking here.

How do we teach reading?

  • Children read in groups 3 times a week in ‘Reading Practice Sessions’ with a trained teacher, teaching assistant or reading assistant. The three sessions have a particular focus: Decoding, Prosody and Comprehension. The same book is read in each session in a week to build reading fluency and understanding.
  • Phonics texts sent home and read in Reading Practice Sessions’ are accurately matched to each pupil’s reading ability, through regular assessment built into our ‘Little Wandle’ phonics teaching.
  • Reading skills are linked through all subject areas so that our children realise that reading is important across the curriculum.
  • Sequenced lessons ensure that prior learning is checked and built upon; teachers may use big books, individual reading, group reading and whole class reading to teach a range of skills and techniques which enable the children to comprehend the meaning of what they are reading and develop their understanding of the vocabulary used by the authors..
  • Reading books are sent home on a regular basis, all children are encouraged to read at home every day; the children will take home one reading book that is accurately matched to their reading ability and one book which is intended to be shared as a family.
  • The school subscribes to “Collins e-books”. These books are used for children to have access at home. The books are carefully selected by the class teacher to match their phonic ability and encourage a range of skills and techniques to support their understanding and enjoyment of reading.


How do we encourage a Love for Reading?

  • The school has an inviting and excellently resourced library bus. All children are encouraged to use the library and each class will visit at least once a week to enjoy the books available. The library gives children the opportunity to relax with a good book in a quiet area.
  • Each classroom has a reading area which contains a selection of picture books, favourite story books, poetry and non-fiction books which are age appropriate and more challenging for children to have free choice of their reading matter. Opportunities are given for children to enjoy and share books with their friends.
  • Every class participates in at least one shared story session per day where a high quality text is shared; this may include stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction texts.
  • Children are encouraged to celebrate their birthday by gifting a book of their choice to the school. These special books are shared with the headteacher and photos are shared via social media. The birthday books are read to the class and then placed on the library bus so others can enjoy their book choice!


Reading Journey

The Reading Journey is a collection of carefully chosen text that are shared with children in each term. The books link to the topic theme or specific subjects, so that children can deepen their knowledge of vocabulary and concepts. Books are re-read to commit new vocabulary to long-term memory, to deepen familiarity with a story and to increase emotional engagement. Certain authors and concepts are visited through different texts in each year group to further reinforce connections.

We use a ‘Reading Journey’ in our school to ensure that all children:

  • have access to high quality fiction and non-fiction texts
  • can build vocabulary
  • enjoy a diverse range of texts, and ‘see themselves’ represented in a book
  • can make links between themes, authors, events, characters and concepts within a term, a year and throughout their Reading Journey at SSIS and beyond
  • are encouraged to develop their love for reading


Parents and Carers

It is really important that parents/carers are supporting reading at home.  We send home two types of books to help this: 

Phonic Books - we use a range of phonetically decodable reading schemes, aligned with the Little Wandle phonics phases, for children to practice their decoding skills at home. These texts are chosen for the children to take home so that they can practice reading with fluency, using sounds that they already know. 

Real Books - we promote choice and a love of reading by sending home ‘real books’, which include picture books, classic books that may be familiar to the child and new texts.


As a school we recommend that parents/carers:

  • read with their children every day. This does not mean your child needs to change their book every day (the book can be read in parts or re-read). Reading every day could be from a phonics book, a book that the child has chosen, or a book that an adult reads with a child.
  • ask a few questions about what you have read (Did you enjoy the book? Have you read a similar book?  What would you tell a friend?)
  • parents can record comments in the child’s Reading Record book (this will be used and looked at regularly by teaching staff)
  • ensure their child brings their book bag every day (with Reading Record and Reading Books). We have different community members coming in to support children read as well as Reading Assistants, so extra reading time may be available
  • engage with the ‘reading at home challenges’  throughout the school year

Below are the SSIS progression of skills documents for Reading.

Reading at St. Stephen's Infant School

Extreme Reading Competition 2023