Skip to content ↓


Reading for Pleasure


At St Margaret’s, we want to children to develop a real love of reading and become lifelong readers. Teachers across the school regularly read to children from class books – allowing them to enjoy the magical power of a great story. In addition, there are regular slots built into the school week where children can lose themselves in a book and make recommendations to classmates. Each class also has designated time in the school library, where staff are on hand to help pupils choose their next title or suggest a new author. We have invested in a wide range of quality fiction, poetry and information texts as well as subscribing to top children’s magazines, such as National Geographic Kids, Whizz Pop Bang, The Week Junior and Scoop so there is something to suit  every taste. Every March, we celebrate World Book Day in style and we also invite authors into school to inspire the next generation of writers – children’s poet James Carter even opened our revamped school library!



Phonics Schemes

We start the process of beginning to read by teaching phonics in Reception class following the Sounds-Write phonics scheme, which is based on four clear concepts:

  • letters are symbols that represent sounds
  • sounds can be spelt using 1,2, 3, 4 letters; for example, f as in fox, oa as in coat, air as in hair and eigh as in eight
  • the same sound can be spelt in different ways; for example, the o sound in bone, coat, toe window, shoulder
  • the same spelling can represent different sounds; for example ‘ea’ in bread, eat, great.

To help parents and carers support their children, we run phonics workshops at the beginning of each school year and we have also created a video guide to phonics. If you say the sounds precisely, and encourage your child to the do the same, it really helps.



The Sounds-Write programme is supplemented by lots of one-to-one reading throughout Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 until children have a secure grasp of phonics and are able to read independently. We use a range of reading schemes, including Jelly & Bean, Dandelion, Songbirds and Oxford Reading Tree.

Reading Comprehension

Being able to decode and pronounce the words on the page is only a small part of the reading journey – children then need to be able to understand and explain what they have read.

In KS1, children work on developing the following five skills:

In Year 1, this is usually done verbally, with teachers asking children appropriate questions during one-to-one reading sessions. In the course of Year 2, a discrete reading comprehension lesson is gradually introduced, where the children are explicitly taught the five skills and get the opportunity to practise them independently.

In KS2, there are eight key skills that need to be mastered:

These are explicitly taught in discrete whole-class comprehension lessons; this learning is then consolidated during whole class reading sessions, where children explore vocabulary, read and discuss a wide range of texts and answer questions.

Our top tips for raising readers

Whether your child has just started at St Margaret’s or is preparing for secondary school, a lifelong love of reading is the best gift we can give them. Here are our 10 top tips to support children on their reading journey, whatever their age.

1. Make reading routine

Little and often is the key. Help your child choose a regular time when they can read and a comfortable spot where they won’t be distracted.

2. Read to your child – at any age

Once children can read independently, it can be tempting to just let them get on with it but research shows that being read aloud to has benefits way beyond the early years.

  • For new readers, a strict diet of phonics books will quickly turn unappetising so spark their imagination and introduce them to dazzling new worlds by reading them a range of illustrated books and beginners’ chapter books.
  • Developing readers are often keen to read more sophisticated books but may struggle to do so independently. But they will love mum or dad reading modern page-turners such as ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ or classics like ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ – and it’s a great way of broadening their vocabulary and stoking a love of reading.
  • Reading alongside independent readers can be a great bonding experience. You can share the new worlds they’re discovering and by talking about what they’re reading, you are giving your children practise at predicting, summarising and a whole host of other skills.

3. Remember variety is the spice of life

‘Books’ comes in all shapes and sizes – graphic novels, magazines, comics, leaflets, recipes, poems, joke books, adverts, encyclopaedias all make great reading material. Feel free to make recommendations but respect your child’s preferences.

4. Visit your library

A great – and free – way to encourage your child to take ownership over what they read and give them the opportunity to explore new authors or genres. Manor House Library is a great local resource, which runs storytelling workshops and organises reading challenges to inspire young readers.

5. Use technology wisely.

Screen time can be a problem for families. However, technology can help your child's reading development at any stage of their reading journey.

  • For new readers, programmes like CBeebies’ Alphablocks can help with phonics There are also a range of reading apps, including PocketPhonics and Pirate Phonics, that children enjoy. Apps are constantly evolving and being developed; use the customer ratings as a guide and always opt for the free or 'lite' version before buying.
  • E-books and animated stories can be a great way for developing readers to explore new genres and learn new words. Some even come with a quick quiz at the end to see what they have understood.
  • Audio books can allow independent readers to broaden their vocabulary and challenge them to summarise what they have heard.

6. Praise, praise and praise again.

Children thrive on encouragement – praise their efforts rather than their achievements.

7. Ask questions

Engaging with what your child is reading makes them feel valued. Ask questions about what they have read, what they think might happen next, which characters they like most, how the book could have ended differently.

8. Embrace unfamiliar words

In every book, there are bound to be some words a child doesn’t know. Be patient – give them time to work out the pronunciation of the word; if they remain stuck, encourage them to say the individual sounds and blend them together. If they don’t know the meaning of a word, first encourage them to use the information around the word to try to figure it out. Talk about words – their meanings, words that mean the same, words that mean the opposite.

9. Set reading goals

The home/school reading journals are an easy way to help your child set reading goals – with certificates for every 25 nights of reading. Pupils are celebrated in school assemblies when they clock up 100 nights and at the end of the year we have a non-uniform day for all pupils who have reached 200 nights. We suggest rewarding reading with a trip to the book shop.

10. Be seen reading

Seeing a parent, carer or teacher enjoying a book can be a powerful motivator. If you want your child to be excited about reading, you need to be too.

KS1 Spelling

When children begin writing, spelling often follows phonic cues e.g. because will be spelled 'becoz' or people spelled 'peepl'.  Children learn the spelling of words as they read e.g. cat, frog, bake etc. and they learn to spelling through our phonic teaching programme. We begin to introduce the spelling of irregular high frequency words (common words that don't follow a simple phonic pattern) in Year 1. 

Below is the list of words that we aim for all children to be able to spell and apply in their independent writing.

Spellings - 1








Spellings - 2








Spellings - 3








Spellings - 4








Spellings - 5








Spellings - 6







Spellings - 7








Spellings – 8








Spellings - 9








Spellings - 10








Spellings - 11








Spellings - 12







Spellings - 13








Spellings - 14









Spellings - 15









Spellings - 16

We will have quiz on six random numbers between 0-20


Spellings - 17







KS2 Spelling

In Year 3-6, spelling is primarily learned through the review of independent writing and the explicit teaching of spelling rules and patterns:

In class, children are taught the rules and patterns for their year group (you can download below). These aim to help children learn spelling rules and patterns which can be applied when trying to spell new or difficult words.

We believe that the pathway to becoming a successful speller is rooted in reading and the development of vocabulary. This is reflected in our reading, spelling and writing sessions, which place emphasis on defining and using new words in context. Once learned, children are encouraged to apply their spellings in all independent writing and teacher feedback encourages children to take increasing responsibility for correcting spellings themselves.

Our policy on the marking of spelling

Teacher professional judgement and knowledge of each child will always dictate the extent of spelling correction expected. However as a general guide, we expect children to correctly spell up to the point learned. Misspelt words are underlined and should be corrected by the child.


Punctuation and Grammar

Punctuation and grammar are taught in the context of a writing lesson and reinforced in children's independent writing. e.g. inverted commas may be taught to demarcate speech and then children may write a short story involving a character talking directly

Below is an overview of what is generally covered in each year group.

Year 1

Year 1  


Regular plural noun suffixess or –es [for example, dog, dogs; wish, wishes], including the effects of these suffixes on the meaning of the noun

Suffixes that can be added to verbs where no change is needed in the spelling of root words (e.g. helping, helped, helper)

How the prefix un– changes the meaning of verbs and adjectives [negation, for example, unkind, or undoing: untie the boat]


How words can combine to make sentences

Joining words and joining clauses using and


Sequencing sentences to form short narratives


Separation of words with spaces

Introduction to capital letters, full stops, question marks and exclamation marks to demarcate sentences

Capital letters for names and for the personal pronoun I

Terminology for pupils

letter, capital letter

word, singular, plural


punctuation, full stop, question mark, exclamation mark

Year 2

Year 2


Formation of nouns using suffixes such as –ness, –er and by compounding [for example, whiteboard, superman]

Formation of adjectives using suffixes such as –ful, –less

(A fuller list of suffixes can be found on page 57 in the year 2 spelling section in English Appendix 1)

Use of the suffixes –er, –est in adjectives and the use of –ly in Standard English to turn adjectives into adverbs


Subordination (using when, if, that, because) and co-ordination (using or, and, but)

Expanded noun phrases for description and specification [for example, the blue butterfly, plain flour, the man in the moon]

How the grammatical patterns in a sentence indicate its function as a statement, question, exclamation or command


Correct choice and consistent use of present tense and past tense throughout writing

Use of the progressive form of verbs in the present and past tense to mark actions in progress [for example, she is drumming, he was shouting]


Use of capital letters, full stops, question marks and exclamation marks to demarcate sentences

Commas to separate items in a list

Apostrophes to mark where letters are missing in spelling and to mark singular possession in nouns [for example, the girl’s name]

Terminology for pupils

noun, noun phrase

statement, question, exclamation, command

compound, suffix

adjective, adverb, verb

tense (past, present)

apostrophe, comma

Year 3

Year 3


Formation of nouns using a range of prefixes [for example super–, anti–, auto–]

Use of the forms a or an according to whether the next word begins with a consonant or a vowel [for example, a rock, an open box]

Word families based on common words, showing how words are related in form and meaning [for example, solve, solution, solver, dissolve, insoluble]


Expressing time, place and cause using conjunctions [for example, when, before, after, while, so, because], adverbs [for example, then, next, soon, therefore], or prepositions [for example, before, after, during, in, because of]


Introduction to paragraphs as a way to group related material

Headings and sub-headings to aid presentation

Use of the present perfect form of verbs instead of the simple past [for example, He has gone out to play contrasted with He went out to play]


Introduction to inverted commas to punctuate direct speech

Terminology for pupils

preposition, conjunction

word family, prefix

clause, subordinate clause

direct speech

consonant, consonant letter vowel, vowel letter

inverted commas (or ‘speech marks’)

Year 4

Year 4


The grammatical difference between plural and possessive –s

Standard English forms for verb inflections instead of local spoken forms [for example, we were instead of we was, or I did instead of I done]


Noun phrases expanded by the addition of modifying adjectives, nouns and preposition phrases (e.g. the teacher expanded to: the strict maths teacher with curly hair)

Fronted adverbials [for example, Later that day, I heard the bad news.]


Use of paragraphs to organise ideas around a theme

Appropriate choice of pronoun or noun within and across sentences to aid cohesion and avoid repetition


Use of inverted commas and other punctuation to indicate direct speech [for example, a comma after the reporting clause; end punctuation within inverted commas: The conductor shouted, “Sit down!”]

Apostrophes to mark plural possession [for example, the girl’s name, the girls’ names]

Use of commas after fronted adverbials

Terminology for pupils


pronoun, possessive pronoun


Year 5

Year 5


Converting nouns or adjectives into verbs using suffixes [for example, –ate; –ise; –ify]

Verb prefixes [for example, dis–, de–, mis–, over– and re–]


Relative clauses beginning with who, which, where, when, whose, that, or an omitted relative pronoun

Indicating degrees of possibility using adverbs [for example, perhaps, surely] or modal verbs [for example, might, should, will, must]


Devices to build cohesion within a paragraph [for example, then, after that, this, firstly]

Linking ideas across paragraphs using adverbials of time [for example, later], place [for example, nearby] and number [for example, secondly] or tense choices [for example, he had seen her before]


Brackets, dashes or commas to indicate parenthesis

Use of commas to clarify meaning or avoid ambiguity

Terminology for pupils

modal verb, relative pronoun

relative clause

parenthesis, bracket, dash

cohesion, ambiguity

Year 6

Year 6


The difference between vocabulary typical of informal speech and vocabulary appropriate for formal speech and writing [for example, find out – discover; ask for – request; go in – enter]

How words are related by meaning as synonyms and antonyms [for example, big, large, little].


Use of the passive to affect the presentation of information in a sentence [for example, I broke the window in the greenhouse versus The window in the greenhouse was broken (by me)].

The difference between structures typical of informal speech and structures appropriate for formal speech and writing [for example, the use of question tags: He’s your friend, isn’t he?, or the use of subjunctive forms such as If I were or Were they to come in some very formal writing and speech]


Linking ideas across paragraphs using a wider range of cohesive devices: repetition of a word or phrase, grammatical connections [for example, the use of adverbials such as on the other hand, in contrast, or as a consequence], and ellipsis

Layout devices [for example, headings, sub-headings, columns, bullets, or tables, to structure text]


Use of the semi-colon, colon and dash to mark the boundary between independent clauses [for example, It’s raining; I’m fed up]

Use of the colon to introduce a list and use of semi-colons within lists

Punctuation of bullet points to list information

How hyphens can be used to avoid ambiguity [for example, man eating shark versus man-eating shark, or recover versus re-cover]

Terminology for pupils

subject, object

active, passive

synonym, antonym

ellipsis, hyphen, colon, semi-colon, bullet points