St Stephen's Infant School

Striving, Supporting, Inspiring, Succeeding

Lansdown Road, Bristol, Avon, BS15 1XD

01454 866470

School Day: 8.45am-3.10pm– all year groups


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.

Love of Reading

We build in many opportunities for children to develop a love of reading from the earliest opportunity:

  • Teachers use high quality texts for learning opportunities across the curriculum.
  • Children choose books from their class library each week to share with an adult at home.
  • Using our library bus as an exciting place to share books.
  • Shared texts in class and assemblies to link with school themes.

Power of Reading

The Power of Reading is a teaching approach which engages teachers and children in the English curriculum through the use of high quality books and a variety of teaching methods such as: story mapping, retelling, ‘tell me – book talk’, drama and role-play.  It combines an approach to teaching the English curriculum through a topic-based curriculum that is creative, engaging and develops a love of reading and literacy.


Guided Reading

As children’s phonic knowledge increases, they participate in a weekly reading session which may have a language comprehension or word reading focus.  Guided reading gives children the chance to apply the strategies they already know to new texts and to use skills of comprehension to understand and discuss what is being read.  A variety of text types and books are used as the focus of this activity. Teachers assess and determine when individual or group reading may be most appropriate for each child.


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 (Collins Big Cat Phonics, Pearson Phonics Bug & Oxford Floppy's Phonics) - we use a range of phonetically decodable reading schemes, aligned with the Letters and Sounds 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. For the academic year 2020-21 we have also bought Collins Big Cat ebook libraries. Usernames and passwords have been sent home.

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 at least five times per week. This does not mean your child needs to change their book five times each week (the book can be read in parts or re-read)
  • 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 everyday (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