At St Thomas CE (VC) Primary School we want to foster a lifelong love of reading by exposing our children to various literature across all curriculum areas. We want to teach our pupils to be happy, healthy and curious learners who read confidently and fluently and seek to acquire knowledge independently. We strive to build children’s knowledge and understanding of a wealth of vocabulary, giving them the word power they need to become successful speakers and writers as well as confident readers. Reading is a key life skill and we strive to embed a culture of reading into the core of what we do. Reading and quality literature is implicitly interwoven into our curriculum throughout the day, engaging and motivating texts, exposing our children to various genres and famous authors, enhancing the variety of exciting topics that we teach.
Reading in EYFS:
The curriculum in the Foundation Stage offers many opportunities to develop the skills required for reading. Speaking and listening are two of the first skills to be focused upon; these are developed through listening to stories, shared reading, role-play, opportunities for talk through continuous provision and Phase 1-5 of the Essential Letters and Sounds phonics scheme. Within both Foundation Stage settings there are dedicated reading areas both indoors and outdoors that promote the love of reading. Within the provision, there are key story props and costumes to allow children the opportunity to retell and act out stories or plays they have been sharing.
Children begin their reading journey in Nursery with a huge focus on Communication and Language. Phase 1 phonics begins and this concentrates on developing speaking and listening skills. It has an emphasis on enabling children to become attuned to the sounds around them whilst developing the skills of oral blending and segmenting. In Nursery, this is a time where pupils are given an opportunity to familiarise themselves with books. There are books available within many areas of the provision; cooking books home corner, investigation books, topic related books in the role-play area, story books in writing area and maths related books in the maths area.
Within Reception, reading is taught through both literacy-focused activities based on books (T4W) and through specific teaching of the Essential Letters and sounds Phonics Programme. Throughout the continuous provision, books linked to the topic theme and provision areas are displayed and the children are encouraged to use the books alongside their play and learning. In reception every child has a 1:1 reading session individually with an adult.
Children who have been identified as needing support to improve their reading are targeted for additional reading whenever possible. Every child has a reading record and an individual scheme reading book that they take home regularly.
In Year 1, children begin the year being taught phase 5 phonics following the Essential Letters and Sounds Programme. They then move onto alternative sounds within phase 5. These phase 5 sounds are taught to compliment the previously taught sounds. Rarely used GPCs are also taught. Then Year 1 move onto the wider reading, writing and spelling curriculum
As a whole school following the talk for writing approach, it enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared reading and writing to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerful.
The children are read with by the teacher or the support assistant 1:1 every week to allow for quality reading. The books read in these sessions are the ones used within the phonics lesson on a Friday. These same decodable books, with sounds learnt from the week, are sent home every Friday and parents are encouraged to read the book 4 times within the week so the children develop fluency and accuracy as well as increasing their speed in decoding and their recalling of sounds.
Reading in KS1 and KS2:
At St Thomas Primary School, we follow a 7 stage, teaching sequence from Year 2 all the way up to Year 6. For 30 minutes every day, children work to develop their comprehension, word level knowledge and reading fluency via a number of engaging and enjoyable activities. Texts chosen for this process are age appropriate, yet challenging in order to deepen pupil knowledge and understanding and to stimulate in-depth discussion.
The 7-stage teaching sequence:
Activate prior knowledge – Pupils are required to make predictions based on what they have already read and know.
Reading fluency – Pupils are encouraged to read aloud, focusing o the punctuation used within texts. Teachers at St Thomas Primary, confidently model the process to ensure pupils have an excellent model to work from. Pupils are encouraged to consider their voice, body language and expression.
Initial thoughts and observations – This stage gives pupils the opportunity to discuss, debate, question, wonder and think aloud, often making references to their initial prediction.
Breakdown and repair – During this stage pupils consider what they don’t know about the text they are reading, what confuses them, and encourages them to break down words they are not sure of, using a range of taught strategies.
Delve at a deeper depth – This stage has a comprehension focus, based heavily on assessment data. Pupils are encouraged to visualise, make links and provide evidence from the text.
SATs style comprehension questions – Again this is linked to the comprehension focus, highlighted via testing. Teachers model this process effectively, encouraging pupils to think aloud and to scaffold oral and written responses.
Summary – This stage can be completed at any point of the process, during which pupils are encouraged to demonstrate their understanding of a paragraph, page, chapter and/or whole book.
The amount of time spent at each stage is data driven
At St Thomas Primary School we strive to promote a positive reading culture where books and the love of literature is both celebrated and valued. Through the teaching of phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. Attainment in phonics is measured through the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. Across all year groups, we use formative teacher assessments and pupil self-assessment, during reading lessons, to inform next steps as well as data received from termly testing. Data from termly testing (NFER), is stringently analysed and teacher assessments are used to identify areas that require greater input, revision and consolidation. We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. We promote reading for pleasure where children are encouraged to develop their own love of genres and authors. We intend the impact of our Reading curriculum will ensure our pupils are academically prepared for life beyond primary school.