The vision that underpins our school and everything that happens here at St. John’s is our school aim of ‘nurture, learn, succeed, together’. Through our curriculum every individual is recognised and valued as special and unique in the image and likeness of God following St. John’s example to ‘prepare the way of the Lord’.
At St. John’s our intent is to teach a love of reading to all pupils through immersing them in high-quality literature, to develop their skills as a reader and their passion for reading. We want to nurture our pupils to become enthusiastic and motivated readers who will continue to read throughout their lives.
Our phonics teaching underpins our reading curriculum enabling the pupils to be taught the key reading skills of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending words. This allows pupils 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 pupils the skills to be able to develop their reading. All pupils in Key Stage1 access phonics, daily, through differentiated group work. The school follows the Read, Write Inc. phonics programme in which the children develop both their reading and their writing. In EYFS, the children learn a simple alphabetic code followed by a more complex code. The pupils work through different phases throughout EYFS and Key Stage 1 to develop their fluency and speed of reading alongside developing their skills in comprehension, spelling and vocabulary. The children’s reading books match the phonics stage they are learning. To support and consolidate their learning at home, pupils take home one book which matches the sounds learnt that week in school followed by a second book to help develop their love of reading. We encourage parents to read with children at home and discuss these texts with them.
Once the children in Key Stage 1 finish the Read, Write Inc. scheme and reading books, they move on to The Oxford Reading Tree scheme which continues into Key Stage 2 ensuring progression in both word reading skills and comprehension. Our pupils access Rigby Star books in interventions to address any misconceptions. The scheme is structured to allow pupils to develop their skills within a level before moving on to the next level. Pupils are assessed by their class teacher before being allowed to move up a level. When pupils have become ‘free readers’ they move on to My Book Blog.
Pupils have access to My Book Blog an online reading tool to help the pupils with their reading. My BB allows the pupils 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 pupils 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 pupils have a daily story read to them by a teacher. In Key Stage 2, pupils have free reading time built in to the week as well as time in the day when the teacher reads the class novel. We aim to choose the class novels to link to or with a theme from the current curriculum topic being studied. We see the value in pupils hearing adults read and show their enjoyment of reading.
Pupils 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 pupils 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. Once Year 2 have finished their Read, Write Inc. programme, they will follow a condensed version of this in preparation for Key Stage 2.
For our lowest 20% of readers in school, we offer small group or 1:1 coaching sessions in Key Stage 1 and Years 3 and 4 to ensure any gaps in the children’s phonics learning are addressed. In Year 5, we offer the Read, Write Inc. Fresh Start programme. Fresh Start works on the same teaching and learning of phonics, with age-appropriate resources, to enable the pupils can access their reading and writing lessons and reach the expected standard for their age. This is taught daily to a small focus group. All year groups have the expectation that the lowest 20% of children will read to an adult, at school, three times per week to support their fluency.
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 pupils to access and read about their current learning focus through Science, History, Geography or Religious Education. This allows the pupils 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.
By the time pupils leave St. John’s, they are 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.
The curriculum will be measured by PiXL half termly assessment alongside teacher assessment, pupil voice and work scrutiny.