Our View of Reading
At St. Peter’s Catholic Primary School, we know that a child’s reading experience is a crucial part of the curriculum. Reading takes place all of the time in each classroom, whether reading skills are being taught specifically, children are reading to learn, or reading to simply enjoy themselves. A child’s reading journey begins with learning to read and moves on to reading to learn and to enjoy. The following document details how we approach reading at our school for all children including those with SEND.
Early Reading Skills
Phonics lessons are prioritised in Reception and Year 1 classes. Each child participates in a daily phonics lesson, differentiated by ability, where the planning targets individual needs and abilities. Phonics is taught in Year 2 to children who have a specific need for support. ‘Letters and Sounds’ is the primary document used as a phonics resource. Lesson objectives in phonics might link to texts chosen to support other areas of the curriculum as well as books used in guided reading lessons and take-home books. Teachers liaise closely with one another before each new school year begins to ensure a progression in skills for each child.
The school takes a consistent approach to guided reading, with all children participating in at least one guided reading session per week. Guided reading is taught between 12:00 and 12:30 each day in years 1 – 6, and across one day in Reception. Each child throughout the school partakes in one small group session led by the teacher each week. In KS2, whilst the teacher leads that small group, all other children complete reading-related tasks independently in a carousel style. Guided reading work is recorded in a ‘guided reading journal’ in years 1-6. This book is illustrated by the children to encourage an enjoyment of the subject. Reading targets are kept in the front of the book for the children to refer to, with teachers indicating when targets have been focused on in class, then when they have been achieved by the children. Targets achieved are also recorded on an online tracker to allow future teachers to follow on precisely, building on previous knowledge and choosing appropriate next steps.
Reading at home
All children across the school are given a book to take home and share with parents. From Reception upwards, children begin the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. Teachers allocate books and change them on a weekly basis, encouraging parents to listen to their children read, discuss the events, characters and images, and even read the book back to their children. If the children reach the end of the reading scheme (often when they reach Year 5 or 6), they must have a library book to enjoy at home. This is recorded in their guided reading journals so that teachers can monitor how often children change their books and the different genres that are being explored. This allows for a depth in experience. All children, including those using Oxford Reading Tree books, are encouraged to visit the library on a weekly basis to select a book of their choice, no matter what reading band they are on.
Reading in English
Teachers at St. Peter’s promote a love of reading within each classroom by celebrating a wide range of books (fiction, non-fiction, poetry etc.) and using them to teach the English curriculum. Each year group will read several ‘class books’ across the year which are novels or non-fiction books chosen and read to the class by the teacher. These books often inspire creative writing in English, with grammar, punctuation and composition being taught alongside.
Each year, our school celebrates ‘World Book Week’ in a variety of ways. The children are encouraged to dress as their favourite book character (sometimes within a set theme), we often welcome a visiting author or poet to inspire the children, and everyone participates in extra-special reading-related activities across the week.
Reading across the curriculum
Where possible, teachers will select texts to support children’s learning in all other areas of the curriculum. For example, a child may read a report on the Vikings in Year 6 or a reference book about volcanoes in Year 3. Reading skills are transferred from phonics, guided reading and English lessons to all other subjects, with support and challenge provided where needed. As well as this, all staff refer to St. Peter’s family, linking lesson objectives with key skills such as working as part of a team (Tim the Team Worker) or reflecting on previous work, improving and learning in greater depth (Rory the Reflective Learner).
Children are provided with opportunities to read out loud across the school year. For example, sharing a reading in a school Mass, reading an excellent piece of work in ‘Good Work Assembly’, and pairing with younger children to read stories in small groups. Several classes’ targets also require children to learn a poem to recite aloud.
St. Peter’s is currently at an exciting stage in our reading journey as we are almost ready to open our new school library. This will be filled with a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books for all ages and children will be encouraged to come and enjoy the space each week.
Children are taught how to check-out books independently using the school library system. Four children from Year 6 are chosen each year to be librarians and they assist with keeping the library in full working order. They also generate ideas about how to ensure the library is an exciting and welcoming place for children to visit.
We are lucky enough to have a fantastic library volunteer here at St. Peter’s. Each week, she checks the library system, ensuring that books are returned correctly and are ready for other children to read. She also works with small groups of children, reading to them, teaching them how to use the library and engaging in reading-relate activities.
In reading lessons, as in all aspects of the curriculum, children are true to their faith. This can be summarised through one line taken from our Mission Statement: ‘We are happy when we do our best in our work and play’.