Raising aspirations so every child can spread their wings and fly!


What does reading and spelling look like at Atherton St George’s?

At St George’s we want all children to read with enjoyment, confidence and fluency. In order to do this we ensure that pupils:

  • have access to high quality texts from stories, to non- fiction and poetry
  • have opportunities to listen to others reading to them
  • learn to read using systematic synthetic phonics from as early as Pre-School

Every child at St George’s school takes part in daily phonics lessons from Pre-School up to Year 2 following the ‘Letters and Sounds’ Programme of work. In these lessons pupils are taught about the sounds that make up words and the letters we use to represent these sounds. Pupils are taught to segment and blend. Segmenting a word is when you break the word down so cat becomes c-a-t. We also call this sounding out. Blending is when we put a word back together so c-a-t becomes cat. In school we use ‘robot arms’ to help us segment and blend. Take a look at this website for more information around phonics and some great resources to use at home.  http://www.letters-and-sounds.com/


Tricky Words/Common Exception Words
There are some words which are tricky to sound out. We call these Tricky Words or Key Words in KS1. We practice recognising these as whole words. A list of tricky words is also available on this page.  From Year 1 to Year 6 children have to know common exception words. These can be found at the top of the page. Common exception words are sent home half termly for children to practice.  The words are practiced on a daily basis within school (in addition to spelling curriculum rules) using a kinaesthetic approach:

  • Thread it!-Using letter beads and string to spell out words
  • Form it!-Using pipe cleaners to form letters and spell out the word
  • Attract it!-Using magnetic letters and baking trays to spell out the word
  • Chalk it!-Using chalkboards and chalk to practice handwriting and spell out the word

Tricky Words List

Year 1 & 2 Common Exception Words

Year 3 & 4 Common Exception Words

Year 5 & 6 Common Exception Words

Year 2-Year 6 follow the national curriculum statutory spelling rules. A daily spelling session is built in to the timetable in which children focus on the spelling rule, definition of the word/etymology and its meaning within a sentence. Children also have the opportunity to practice the spelling rule using handwriting skills and dictation.  In Year 1, aspects of the spelling curriculum not covered within phonics are taught via SPAG sessions.


Reading Books
Every child at St George’s school has a reading book linked to their reading level which they take home. Reading this book with your child each night is a great way to help them practice their letters and sounds as well as helping them to understanding the meaning of a text. Every book your chid reads will have opportunities for them to practice segmenting and blending, recognising tricky words as well as having some sort of meaning attached to the words. By asking your child questions about the book they are reading you can really help to develop their understanding of comprehension as well as extending their vocabulary. Please see examples on questions used in school that you can ask at home which is available on this page.


Shared Reading
Pupils take part in shared reading on a daily basis. This is where large groups of children read a text with an adult. Reading may be modelled to the children or the children may read the text together. It is another opportunity for pupils to apply their phonic and comprehension skills. Throughout the year, each phase will share at least six class reader texts which include at least one Shakespeare text and also a picture book. English lessons are linked to the class reader for that half term.


Guided Reading


In Reception and KS1, children access guided reading three times a week. Each day an adult works alongside a small group to teach/model a range of reading skills at their phonic/reading ability:

Day One-Decoding-blending and segmenting/New Vocabulary/Spelling patterns

Day Two-Prosody-Focusing on intonation and punctuation

Day Three-Comprehension-use understanding, retrieval and inference skills.


In KS2, each child has a guided reading session at least once a week. This is where an adult teaches your child, within a small group, about specific reading skills. This may be how to read for meaning and answer questions based on the text. Throughout KS2, the APE model is used: Answer/Prove/Explain. These sessions help your child to apply their reading skills and develop their comprehension skills. Also within the KS2 guided reading cycle, children will have the opportunity to:

  • KS2-Pre-Read-Reading an extract prior to analysing with the teacher. Children will look for any words they may not understand or words/phrases that they like.
  • Comprehension task-Within this activity, children will use their retrieval and inference skills to show that they have an understanding of the text.
  • Personal Choice Reading-Children will have the opportunity to read for pleasure a book of their choice
KS1 Reading Prompt Questions KS2 Reading Prompt Questions

Library Timetable

Each class in school has a 20 minute weekly library slot built in to their timetable.  Children will either listen to a story read aloud by the teacher or will be given time to access and read for pleasure a book of their choice. Within each class, a reading area is also available with a fantastic range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books. Atherton Library also has a fantastic range of books for children and families to enjoy for free. For more details contact Atherton Library on: 01942 404817.


Tips to Support Reading & Phonics
Year 1 Reading Assessment Year 2 Reading Assessment Year 3 Reading Assessment
Year 4 Reading Assessment Year 5 Reading Assessment Year 6 Reading Assessment