At St. John’s our intent is to teach a love of reading to all children through immersing them in high-quality literature, to develop their skills as a reader and their passion for reading. We want to nurture our children to become enthusiastic and motivated readers who will continue to read throughout their lives.
Our phonics teaching underpins our reading curriculum enabling the children to be taught the key reading skills of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending words. This allows children to understand and question texts as they progress through their schooling. We aim to ensure that all pupils make sufficient progress to meet or exceed the age-related expectations.
At St. John’s, we want every child to access a wide variety of genres and text types, providing both support and challenge where necessary. A range of high-level chosen texts are accessed by the pupils and are interweaved in to our curriculum to continue to promote the love of learning in all subject areas. We recognise that reading is a key transferrable skill and is used widely in our curriculum. This in turn develops and increases the pupils’ vocabulary, giving them the ability to become successful speakers and writers as well as confident readers.
At St. John’s we believe that reading is core to the curriculum and therefore is included throughout each pupil’s time with us. We ensure the full range of reading skills have been explicitly taught in line with the National Curriculum using a wide range of high-quality and age appropriate texts.
The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority through Key Stage 1 allowing children the skills to be able to develop their reading.
All children in EYFS and Year 1 access phonics, daily, through differentiated group work. The school follows the government ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme which develops the children’s ability to hear, discriminate, recognise and write the sounds. The children work through six phases throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1. Phonic work is combined with the school’s reading scheme; The Oxford Reading Tree and Rigby Star. To support and consolidate their learning at home, children take home three books each week, two phonics book and one other. The children are asked to read five times per week with an adult; this should be signed and commented on by an adult.
Our whole school reading scheme, The Oxford Reading Tree, continues into Key Stage 2 ensuring progression in both word reading skills and comprehension. Our children access Rigby Star books in interventions to address any misconceptions. The scheme is structured to allow children to develop their skills within a level before moving on to the next level. Children are assessed by their class teacher before being allowed to move up a level. When children have become ‘free readers’ they move on to My Book Blog.
Children have access to My Book Blog an online reading tool to help the children with their reading. My BB allows the children to discover new genres and authors, learn new words and answer comprehension style questions. It is a way of blogging about the books they have read and saving books they would like to read. This gives the children the opportunity to read for pleasure and choose a range of different texts.
We promote reading for pleasure in the classroom through our daily story times. In EYFS and Key Stage 1 the children have a daily story read to them by a teacher. In Key Stage 2, children have free reading time after lunch as well as time in the day when the teacher reads the class novel. The class novels are chosen to link to or with a theme from the current curriculum topic being studied. We see the value in children hearing adults read and show their enjoyment of reading.
Children in take part in a number of Guided Reading lessons throughout the week. These sessions focus on the same text and follow a specific structure. In lesson one, the adult models the text and demonstrates what good reading looks like, then children discuss the language. This leads in to the second lesson which has a vocabulary focus. Lesson three is when a specific reading skill, from the National Curriculum, is taught and developed. Concluding in lesson four which is an application and consolidation lesson of the taught skill. The final lesson of the week
will be a lesson to promote reading stamina. Key Stage 1 follow a condensed version of this.
To support children who need further invention with their reading, we offer the Read Write Inc. Fresh Start programme. This supports the children who are still learning to read in Key Stage 2 and ensures their reading needs are met. Fresh Start works on the same teaching and learning of phonics, with age-appropriate resources, to enable the children can access their reading and writing lessons and reach the expected standard for their age. This is taught daily to a small focus group with a range of pupils from Key Stage 2. Some of our children also have access to Lexia and Catch Up Reading to help them progress in this subject.
Each classroom has a dedicated reading area which has carefully chosen texts to engage and challenge. Dependent upon the current curriculum topic, the classroom will have a ‘Topic’ basket for the children to access and read about their current learning focus through Science, History, Geography or Religious Education. This allows the children to become fully emerged into the topic and extend their learning through their reading. In addition each classroom has a selection of books chosen and recommended by the teacher from the school library. These books are exchanged and rotated on a termly basis.
Each class has a library slot in which they can visit the school library. Children are able to choose a new reading book to be scanned and taken out or may use this time to sit and quietly read in the areas provided. Years 5 and 6 have slots at the same time as EYFS and Y1 to help the younger children and to build their ‘Reading Buddy’ relationships. Every week, children from Years 5 and 6 read with the younger children via the Reading Buddy system.
By the time pupils leave St. John’s, they will be fluent, competent readers with a wealth of transferrable skills to take in to their futures. They enjoy reading across a range of genres, understand the importance of reading and question texts to participate in discussions confidently. Pupils will have a bank of strategies for decoding words and understanding a text. They will have a good knowledge of authors and genres and how to choose a book as well as how to recommend a book to others.