Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
'All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.'
National Curriculum 2014
Making a strong start with Letters and Sounds.
From the moment a child joins our Nursery we use Letters and Sounds, which is a highly successful reading programme. All of our teaching and support staff have recently received training from Little Sutton Primary School, part of the English Hub, to ensure we meet our aim for all children to become confident and enthusiastic readers.
Our approach to learning phonics in EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and KS1 (Key Stage 1) is through using Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics as well as Jolly Phonics. We have a multisensory approach in EYFS and by using Jolly Phonics the pupils are provided with a picture, a song and an action to help them learn each different sound. This is an effective and interactive way for young learners to recall phonemes.
Letters and Sounds provides us with games and resources to support our teaching of phonics. It aims to build pupils’ speaking and listening skills, as well as prepare pupils to learn to read, by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed programme for teaching phonic skills, with the aim of pupils becoming fluent readers by age seven.
Throughout KS1, pupils are provided with a range of fiction and non-fiction books which are regularly changed to aid progression with their reading. We use the popular, well- established and DFE approved Dandelion Scheme.
How can you support your child?
During the academic year, we hold regular parent workshops for early reading. We also have more information on the individual class pages.
English Lessons Using the Power of Reading
At St. Joseph's' Catholic Primary, we have chosen to introduce the Power of Reading from Reception through to Year 6 as part of our commitment to ensure all our children have the opportunity to engage with a rich range of quality texts so that they develop into engaged and informed readers and writers, who understand the relationship between reading and writing.
The Power of Reading is about teaching reading and writing through the use of high quality books and creative teaching approaches. Children are immersed into the text through music, art, drama, discussion and role-play. Other approaches include responding to illustrations, ‘Book Talk’, story mapping and book making. Children take ownership of the text and engage with it deeply. It also enables children to deepen their understanding of texts and provides a meaningful context for writing.
Time is prioritised to focus on developing the writing process with children as they move through the school. The key elements of the writing process are planning, drafting, editing and revising, proofread and then publishing or sharing.
Modelling is a key element in the teaching of the writing process, with teachers using 'think out loud' to guide children through how to craft a piece of writing. By modelling, the expert writer lets less experienced writers in on the big secret … What is going on in the head of a more experienced writer? By modelling, we demonstrate options for planning, strategic problem solving, self-monitoring, reviewing, revising and proofreading. We also show how techniques can be used or applied; we work through challenges and teach good grammar. And we do it all within the context of authentic writing!
At St Joseph's, we recognise the importance of the relationship between reading and writing because we know that when reading and writing are taught together, the benefits are greater than when they are taught separately.
Reading aloud is a key part of the Power of Reading and also reflects our wider commitment at St Joseph's to reading aloud to our children every day.
Reading aloud enables all children to access quality texts but it also enables the teacher to model expressive and fluent reading to the children.
Our guided reading approach is informed by extensive research into comprehension strategy instruction, as recommended by the EEF.
The aims of the sessions are to engage with texts, respond to them, talk about them and developing deeper understanding (comprehension).
During the sessions, we focus on developing the key comprehension strategies through careful modelling and supported practice.
The sessions utilise a wide variety of texts and seek to:
- Encourage critical and evaluative thinking through use of open prompts, questions and invitations
- Encourage reference to the text to support their thinking
- Build towards group dialogue
- Encourage personal responses from the children
- Enable children to support their opinions with evidence from the text and to change and adapt their ideas in response to others
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
― Emilie Buchwald
Key findings from the evidence include:
• Parental involvement in a child’s literacy has been reported as a more powerful force than other family background variables, such as social class, family size and level of parental education (Flouri and Buchanan, 2004 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006);
• Children whose home experiences promote the view that reading is a source of entertainment are likely to become intrinsically motivated to read (Baker, Serpell and Sonnenschein, 1995 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006);
• Children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued (Baker and Scher, 2002 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006).
OXFORD BOOK BANDS OVERVIEW
Spelling at St. Joseph's
From Year 2 to Year 6 we use the Spell It approach to teaching spellings. This is clearly mapped out in our English Progression Documents.
Each week children are given spellings to learn around a taught spelling rule and they are tested the following week. Please view the Homework Policy to understand how many spellings you child will get, as they vary from year group to year group.
Writing Progress Wall
Displays work from each class and demonstrates progress in both fiction and non-fiction writing throughout our setting. Children, visitors and staff can instantly see the progress made.