Mary Elton Primary School

Mary Elton Primary School


At Mary Elton Primary School, we create a community that is Ready, Respectful and Safe and we offer many Opportunities, Challenges and foster Independence within the learning environment to engage our learners. We recognise that reading is essential to everyday life, critical to a broad range of subjects and a necessary skill for adult life. We want our children to develop a growth mind set and apply our five learning values (these are known as the 5Cs; curiouscritical thinkers, collaborative, courageous and creative) as they explore our reading inspired curriculum.


Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. We know that reading opens the door to learning; the more a child learns, the more they will want to find out.


At Mary Elton, we have a Drop Everything And Read session in every classroom (better known as DEAR time). This is a daily session set aside in the classroom schedule for both children and their teachers to "drop everything and read." We are passionate about reading at Mary Elton and we believe that frequent reading improves the life chances and emotional intelligence of our children. Research shows that reading aloud to children, both at home and in school, is the single most important activity to ensure and encourage success in reading.

Please watch this 2 minute parent video: 'Why read to your child?'

We also promote a love of reading throughout the school year by holding different events. In September, we celebrate Roald Dahl Day and children and staff dress up as their most loved Roald Dahl character. World Book Day takes place in March alongside a whole school Book Fayre where families can use their book tokens from World Book Day to buy new books. We organise authors to visit Mary Elton to inspire our children and further encourage our children to see themselves as authors. Over the summer holidays, children can take part in our school Summer Reading Challenge. By continuing to read over the summer, children are then invited to a prestigious event in September.              

As a school, we believe that reading skills should be embedded throughout the curriculum and with this in mind, we strive to ensure that they are woven into all aspects of learning.  This cross-curricular approach enables the children to write for a real purpose and to make links between subjects. We plan our topics – whether history, science or geography based – around a high quality 'Power of Reading' text. We use these Power of Reading Texts as a stimulus to inspire writing and we also use other texts as models for the children’s writing.   

Phonics and the development of Early Reading

Reception follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework and Key Stage One (Years One and Two) follow the National Curriculum. Both, Reception and Key Stage One embed English throughout the curriculum and follow the Read Write Inc Phonics Programme. Not all children in Year 2 will remain on the Read Write Inc Phonics Programme; they will complete the programme when they move on from Grey level. Please watch this 3 minute video ‘Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics’ which explains the programme.

Using RWI, the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write. Some children in Years 3 and 4 will remain on the Read Write Inc Phonics Programme until they complete to Grey level; children in Years 5 and 6 will progress onto Read Write Inc. Fresh Start. This is a catch-up and intervention programme with proven results for 9 to 13-year-olds who are still learning to read. It contains a proven pedagogy and step-by-step approach which gives students the skills to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension, to spell correctly and compose their ideas for writing step-by-step. Please read the attached ‘Parent’s Meeting: An Introduction to Fresh Start’ which explains the programme.

When using RWI to read the children will:

  • Learn that sounds are represented by written letters. To practice the sounds and learn how to pronounce them accurately please click here.
  • Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts. Picture promptsSimple sound chart / Complex sound chart
  • Learn how to blend sounds and read words using Fred Talk. The following link shows how we teach children to ‘Fred talk, read the word’
  • Learn that some words with ‘tricky letters’ can’t be read using Fred Talk – these are known as red words – remember you can’t Fred a red!
  • Read fun and lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out. They then show they comprehend the stories by answering questions and discussing the text.

When using RWI to write the children will:

  • Learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds. Handwriting phrases
  • Learn to spell words by saying the sounds using Fred Talk. Click here to see how you can help your child to spell when they are writing with you at home.
  • Write simple sentences.

During RWI lessons the children work in pairs so they can:

  • answer every question
  • practise every activity with their partner
  • take turns in talking and reading to each other
  • develop ambitious vocabulary

All children in Year 1 complete a phonics screening check in the summer term.  We hold a parents meeting at the start of the summer term to explain the process.  If you would like to find out more about the phonics screening check, please click here

Continued development during Year Two through to the end of the Year Six Curriculum

Years Two to Six follow the National Curriculum and embed English throughout all learning. For more information please see the Programmes of study for English for KS1 and KS2.  

Years Two (all children who have moved on from Grey level on the Read Write Inc Programme) and upwards follow Read Write Inc Spelling. Children’s spellings are informally assessed frequently and formally assessed termly. The following documents show you which spelling rules are taught to your child each year and how they link to the Curriculum in England: year 2, years 3 & 4, years 5 & 6. In weekly homework we signpost children and parents/carers to use the Spelling Frame or similar website to consolidate spelling rules at home: 

Our school uses a range of texts to support the teaching of reading. For early readers, we use a phonic-based scheme.  We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with parents/ carers supports their increasingly fluent decoding.

Free Readers

Children progress through our leveled books, according to their reading development. When we feel they have achieved a good level of decoding and comprehension skills, children become “free readers” and select from a wide range of age-appropriate books.

Our "Really Good Reads" are our way of encouraging our children to read a wide range of appropriate and interesting texts. These are a collection of quality, age appropriate books, carefully selected to engage the readers and help them build upon their skills and knowledge as readers. 

Y3 Really Good Reads

Y4 Really Good Reads

Y5 Really Good Reads

Y6 Really Good Reads