At St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School, it is our intention to immerse pupils in the wonders of quality texts to instil a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination. We aim to ensure a balanced mix of approaches to reading so that our pupils achieve the skills required, have a positive attitude and confidence as well as interest in and a life-long love of literature.
At St. Benedict’s Catholic Primary School we aim to:
- Enable children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts.
- Build on the child’s prior knowledge and early literacy experience.
- Encourage them to become confident, independent, reflective readers who read from a range of texts for a variety of purposes.
- Deliver a structured and progressive whole school approach to the teaching of reading.
- Create a reading culture by providing a rich language environment within the classroom and throughout the school.
- Develop the ability to read aloud with expression and understanding.
- Select appropriate resources to motivate, challenge and extend pupils effectively.
- Identify pupils who require additional support and intervene at an early stage.
- Monitor reading progress and levels of attainment closely.
- Promote an ethos of achievement by setting high expectations and challenging targets.
- Keep abreast of current educational thinking and practice.
At St. Benedict’s we believe that a team approach is essential when establishing and nurturing a reading culture throughout the school. Therefore, all staff strive to maintain a high quality reading curriculum which fulfils the aims and intentions we have for the children in St. Benedict’s.
Curriculum Planning of Reading
We teach the National Curriculum for reading and this is supported by clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and are sequenced appropriately to maximise learning. Our reading curriculum also links closely with our writing curriculum. We follow ‘talk for writing’ which is based around high quality texts and shows a clear reading to writing progression throughout the units.
Reading is given high priority in our curriculum and is taught through English lessons, Reading Rocketeers sessions and Guided Reading sessions. In addition to this, the skills that children develop in reading are linked to, applied in and embedded in every subject across our curriculum. The pupils’ skills in reading enable them to communicate and express themselves in all areas of their work at school.
Reading lessons focus around the use of RIC (retrieval, inference and word choice). All classes are consistent with this approach to the teaching of reading and there is clear progression of skills and knowledge throughout the year groups.
Reading Rocketeers is delivered discretely in order to focus on the skills of inference and deduction and classes from Year 2 onwards use this resource to develop these skills.
Guided Reading takes place in addition to English lessons throughout the school.
Guided Reading sessions take place on a daily basis with each child working with the teacher for one session each week. For the remaining four sessions, children carry out a carousel of reading activities, including comprehension activities and a dedicated ‘reading for pleasure’ slot. ‘Free’ reading is encouraged so that children enjoy a range of styles and genres and they see reading as an enjoyable hobby and a skill for life.
Teacher led Guided Reading groups focus on key skills for reading and the approach is consistent throughout the school. There is a focus on comprehension skills and teacher modelling of different question styles in addition to giving children opportunities for reading aloud.
Children in Key Stage 1 are also given the opportunity to hone their phonics skills through Guided Reading sessions using the Read Write Inc. guided reading books.
We have a consistent approach to phonics at St. Benedict’s and we follow the Read Write Inc. scheme for phonics from Nursery to Year 1. Following this, Phase 6 Letters and Sounds is then delivered to children who are working at this level. Phonics lessons are taught daily and children are grouped according to ability.
There is greater emphasis on phonics in KS1 and then these skills are applied and consolidated through the rest of the school. Children in Key Stage 2 who are working below the expected level receive regular phonics intervention.
Reading Scheme and Home Reading
There are clear expectations in place for home reading and the school works closely with parents to ensure that these expectations are met. Expectations for different year groups are shared with parents regularly and all pupils have a home-reading record which they take home daily. Parents and carers are asked to add comments to the home-reading records to share their opinions on their child’s reading and to indicate the quantity that pupils have read.
We have a whole school reading scheme (Oxford Reading Tree) which ensures progression in both word reading skills and comprehension. The scheme is structured to ensure that children have access to a wide range of texts, and allows for pupils to develop their skills within a level before moving to the next level. In Early Years and Key Stage 1, reading books are closely matched to phonics stages to allow children plenty of opportunities to practise phonic skills.
Bug Club is also part of our home/school reading and this is an online resource that children can access at home. Texts are matched appropriately to children’s level and it further enhances our reading scheme. It includes opportunities for children to practise their comprehension skills.
There is a reward system in place for classes with the highest frequency of home reading and this encourages children across the school to achieve the high expectations in place for their home reading.
Reading for Pleasure
In order maintain a culture and a love of reading, great emphasis is placed on reading for pleasure. Children across the school have a designated story time session at the end of each day in order to enjoy a high-quality text as a class and children are encouraged to contribute ideas and share text choices and preferences.
There is time for ‘free’ reading throughout the day in addition to Guided Reading sessions and this ‘free’ reading allows children to have quality time to explore new genres and develop their love of books.
We are very lucky at St. Benedict’s to have a fantastic reading room. This is a haven for children to simply be absorbed into literature and the cosy, comfortable environment adds to children’s reading experience.
All classrooms throughout the school have high-quality designated Reading Areas. Class libraries are well organised and supported by attractive displays of fiction and non-fiction books which are inviting to the children. Close attention is paid to the size of the reading area to allow children to read in comfort.
We are also lucky in St. Benedict’s to have a whole school library for children to access a wide and varied range of texts. All pupils in our school may choose books from the school library at least once a week and this exposure to different text types encourages children’s exploration into books.
We also benefit from being within walking distance from our community library at the Netherton Activity Centre (NAC). Classes are timetabled to visit the library and children have the opportunity to discover the services and range of resources available. Staff from the library service are welcomed into school regularly and many of the children in St. Benedict’s take part in the Summer Reading Challenge which is provided by the library service at the NAC.
Our annual World Book Day celebrations are extremely popular in St. Benedict’s and it is a true celebration of the joy that books bring to our lives. Children take part in specific World Book Day activities for the day and are immersed in the wonder of literature.
We also provide extra-curricular book clubs for children in Year 6. Students are encouraged to choose their own text which is read and discussed together as a small group.
The impact of our English curriculum for reading is measured through a range of different strategies. Formative and summative assessments for reading are used to measure progress against the key objectives, and to plan the next unit of work.
Formative assessment takes place regularly in each classroom. Teachers and teaching assistants work closely to identify and celebrate children’s achievements and ensure timely intervention for children needing further support.
Children’s progress through book bands is monitored on the school book band tracking system and this is also used as a target setting tool to ensure good or accelerated progress.
Each half term, teachers make a summative judgement of children’s attainment in reading based on book bands, comprehension activities, and guided reading.
From Years 2-6, children are assessed twice a year against national standards using SATs or Test Base.
Each term, children’s attainment and progress in reading is recorded on the school tracking system. At the end of each academic year, the English Team and senior leaders moderate teacher assessments in reading to ensure a consistent approach throughout the school.
Attainment and progress in reading is shared termly with parents on the school pupil progress grids and their attainment is shared annually on the end of term report to parents.
The impact of our reading curriculum is also measured through lesson observations and drop-ins in addition to termly book monitoring.
We strive to ensure that our children’s attainment is in line with or exceeds the expectations for their year group despite varied starting points.
We believe the impact of our reading curriculum will ensure our pupils are prepared for life beyond primary school and will leave St. Benedict’s as life-long lovers of literature.