At St Mary’s Primary School, we believe that reading is a child’s passport to the world: it is a vital skill for all learning. We prioritise every facet of pupils’ reading development as they progress on their journey through the school from EYFS to Year 6. We aim to inspire a lifelong enjoyment and love of reading, and reading for pleasure. The school teaches the children a variety of reading strategies including phonics, whole-word recognition and reading for meaning.
Every classroom has a book corner with an excellent selection of books for the children to choose from. As well as this, the school has a well-stocked selection of take-home books that cover a variety of genres both fiction and non-fiction. We know that for children to become excellent writers they need to read and therefore we aim to engage the children with different genres of books whilst encouraging them to read for pleasure. The teacher assesses when a child is ready to move to another level using PM benchmarks. These levels support reading development until children are sufficiently fluent and independent to choose their books solely from the class library. Additional reading support is provided through intervention programmes organised in school as well as reading with volunteers.
The teaching of reading is delivered daily across the whole school. We believe with the right support; every child can learn to read. Phonics is taught from Nursery to Year 2 using the Read Write Inc phonics scheme. At the beginning of the academic year, children’s phonetical knowledge is assessed which is used to stream them into phonics groups. The groups are in relation to the sounds that children recognise alone and can read within words. All children are assessed at the beginning of each half term to accurately determine which phonics group is most appropriate for each child. There are three sets of sounds which are Set 1, Set 2 and Set 3. The sounds within each set are taught in a specific order with rhymes to help children remember these easily. We heavily highlight and encourage children to use pure sounds (i.e. ‘f’ not ‘fuh’) to enable children to blend sounds more efficiently which will build their fluency.
From Years 3 to 6, the children have daily shared reading sessions based around carefully selected books chosen to foster a love of reading and build imagination. Our teachers are highly skilled in planning quality lessons in which they explore the texts deeply, build core comprehension skills and vocabulary, explicitly model and practice reading aloud with fluency and expression as well incorporating drama and writing. Aside from their shared reading lesson, each class will read their class novel for 15 minutes each day.
Y6: Shared Reading is lots of fun because we get to read from the book, get to improve our fluency and understand what we are reading at a good, clear pace
To encourage a love of poetry and support children with their speaking skills, each class learns to recite a poem off by heart, the children then perform this to the rest of the school. This is an event the children look forward to each year!
Bug Club is an online reading programme that all children have access to. Teachers allocate books to each child and as they read through them, they answer questions.
Children can work through these books at their own pace and teachers can track their progress, identifying what they may need support with.
The website is www.activelearnprimary.co.uk
We have a school code and your child has log in details. Please ensure you get these from your child’s teacher.
Handwriting is taught to ensure the children know and can use the correct letter formations and joins. Children are expected to use continuous cursive script handwriting at all times and this is modelled by the adults through marking, displays and board work. Children are encouraged to continue to improve their handwriting, working towards being awarded a pen license.
‘One in four disadvantaged children have fewer than 10 books at home’
We believe every household should be enriched with high quality novels and therefore we have our very own book hut. This gives our pupils the opportunity to read and take home new books and spend time reading during playtime and after school. Parents are welcome to donate books back into the book hut as well as taking them home. Our school council do a fabulous job in keeping our book hut well stocked and presentable.
Our Upper KS2 children are matched with our EYFS children in our paired reading scheme. This means that once a week, the children enjoy a joint session where the children can read together.
Book week is one of our highlights of the school year. Each year we celebrate our love of reading and throw a whole school character book parade. The children dress up as a character from a book and we spend the week immersing the children in stories. The children receive book tokens, attend reading workshops and carry out a wealth of fun activities related to reading with their teachers
Half Term Class Readers
Each half term, every year group will focus on a class reader that will be read aloud in class and it is this text that is used as a basis for shared reading less
Our children are taught how to write for a variety of purposes and audiences. They encouraged to see writing as a means to communicate with others and to develop this skill informally as well as formally. Each half term, they have the opportunity to explore and develop their narrative voice through engagement with high quality stimulus. From Years 1 to Year 6, our writing lessons are based on Jane Considine’s Sentence Stacking approach. With modelling at the heart of them, the sentence stacking lessons are broken into bite-sized chunks and taught under the structural framework of The Writing Rainbow. Teachers prepare children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar or techniques of writing. The focus is on building the skills needed to write accurate and cohesive sentences. There are specific grammar skills focused on in every lesson. This ensures that GPS (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling) is embedded, in context, over time. Our children take pride in their writing and look forward to publishing their final pieces each half term, our special publishing books are taken up with them each year so they can see their own progress over time.
Phonics is primarily used as the building blocks in our EYFS. This practice is built on further up the school as children explore more complex letter patterns, prefixes and suffixes. Emphasis is placed on correcting common errors, expanding vocabulary and developing spelling strategies. From Year 1 onwards, children are expected to practise spellings and letter patterns at home using the ‘Look, Cover, Write, Check’ method; these lists form the basis of weekly spelling tests in class.
All children from Year 1 to Year 6 have access to a Spelling Frame account which allows them to practise their spellings online.