Literacy interventions

 At St Mary’s, we are aware of the national issue of students arriving at secondary school who struggle with reading and did not meet the expected standard in reading in their SATs. In order to combat this issue, all Year 7 students complete an online reading test using the New Group Reading Test. This information is used to help identify struggling readers and is used to inform the need for reading interventions. We acknowledge that reading is an essential skill needed in every subject. We believe that reading is fundamental to ensure students can access the challenging secondary curriculum and so prioritise support for our weakest readers. Two of our main reading interventions are explored below.

Phonics Interventions

Some pupils arrive at secondary school without the decoding and phonetical knowledge they require to flourish and access the full curriculum. Once identified, these pupils participate in a systematic, synthetic phonics programme, delivered by trained staff. This phonics programme is designed to ensure that pupils acquire the knowledge of the alphabetic code including word recognition and the ability to blend sounds, that is required to unlock future learning. The Phonics intervention programme, alongside regular reading practice overtime leads to increased automaticity and fluency.

Reciprocal Reading Interventions

Reciprocal reading interventions are an oracy-based strategy to assist a student’s comprehension and understanding. Reciprocal reading involves a dialogue between the teacher and a small group of students, for the purpose of jointly constructing the meaning of a text. Reciprocal reading is not a test of comprehension; it is a way of talking about texts to aid understanding. Reciprocal reading involves the explicit teaching of four strategies: predict, clarify, question and summarise. In reciprocal reading the adult and the children should share the leadership of the group, there should be a two-way dialogue.


“being able to clarify the words I’m unsure of and discuss the text helps the books to make more sense” – GC Year 8