Experience shows that children benefit hugely by exposure to books from an early age. Right from the start, lots of opportunities should be provided for children to engage with books that fire their imagination and interest. They should be encouraged to choose books freely as well as sharing them when read by an adult. Enjoying and sharing books leads to children seeing them as a source of pleasure and interest and motivates them to value reading.

At Mexborough St John's we provide a reading rich environment throughout school. Children in all classes enjoy novels read by the class teacher, participate in guided reading sessions, whole class reading, individual reading and reading in other areas of the curriculum.

A clearly sequenced structure is in place for teaching reading across school using strategies drawn from EEF research. As children progress through school the way reading is taught is adapted to meet their needs, stage and age of development. The following strategies are used:

  • Sharing stories and nursery rhymes in F1. We also use 'book at bedtime' to encourage children to share books at home with their families. When children are ready they are introduced to letter sounds and match pictures to sound and graphemes (written letters).

  • Use of synthetic phonics is the main approach to decoding in EYFS and KS1, with appropriately matched phonic books supporting this.

  • Weekly individual reading in the EYFS and KS1 to focus on individual pupil needs. This may focus on word reading and / or comprehension skills.

  • Guided reading through school, using reciprocal strategies as children become more fluent word readers.

  • Whole class shared reading in KS2 focuses on the comprehension skills needed that target the assessment domains. 




Vocabulary development

At Mexborough St Johns we strongly believe supporting our children with the acquisition of vocabulary is of the greatest importance. Every class has a dedicated word of the week display with regular sessions focusing on word study. This discreet word teaching, access to challenging texts, vocabulary-rich environments all aims at addressing the word gaps. In doing so all our children will have the knowledge and confidence to read and communicate, giving them the foundation for future learning.


We love reading!


We encourage children to read as often as possible at home and in school. To help motivate children to read and apply their reading skills we have a weekly prize reward system for the whole school. If children read regularly at home and in school and apply their reading skills, then they will be picked to select a book from our book vending machine. The book they choose is a gift and can be taken home.





The MSJ book spine


There is nothing better than hearing and experiencing books that are full of high quality vocabulary, strong characters and that have important themes running through them. Every class in school has a dedicated, core set of books that have been handpicked by all members of staff for the children to enjoy. Each class has a dedicated spine of rich stories, poetry and non fiction that we believe every child should have the right to be exposed to. Some of these books may be classics (old but gold) or more contemporary (new and bold). If your child is with us from the very start in  F1, they will have been exposed to at least 160 high quality books by the time they leave us in year 6. 

The more they read the better chance they will have of being chosen. Please record in your child's reading diary when they have read as this will be checked each week. As a school we do expect children to be heard read at least 4 times a week at home.

Please click the links below for information about how to help your child with their reading:


To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.