Reading at Our School
Download our Top Tips for Parents leaflet here.
At Saint Joseph’s, we aim to foster a love of books and reading from your child’s first day with us. We create a reading culture that starts with reading books and text for sheer pleasure and that ethos permeates through the school.
In Foundation Stage, we share books with children daily to continue the work that parents start at home. We look at illustrations and encourage book talk from all of the children. We read to the whole class and in groups looking at a range of stories from traditional tales to well-established authors like Michael Rosen. We love to read together and, through this, we develop the children’s concepts of print. We start looking at sounds in our environment and listening to different sounds that we can make with instruments, our bodies and a whole range of other items. Listening to rhymes is an important development that we seek to improve through games, playing and our rhyme of the week. We move onto looking at phonics to break down words into individual sounds so that we can read on our own and use synthetic phonics to develop our decoding skills. We share books together and model how to read a book changing voices through pitch and tone to make our reading more interesting.
In Key Stage 1, we continue the work started in Foundation Stage and develop children’s understanding of letters and sounds through teaching of synthetic phonics with the Twinkl Phonics Scheme of Work. Daily phonics lessons help children to decode the language they encounter each day and, as children get older, we move towards helping them to use phonics to develop spelling through investigating the weird and wonderful world of the English language. Many of these patterns have strange and interesting variants which we love to discover.
Guided reading is taught using an approach constructed with reading expert John Murray and takes place daily across Key Stage 2; children love being able to read with an adult. Through the John Murray scheme in Key Stage 2, children are immersed in the text all week as they are oriented through it by reading the text and beginning to understand it. They then begin to unpick the vocabulary that is used within it. On the third day, children practice their higher-order reading skills before applying these skills on the fourth day. Every four weeks, children are given a 'cold' read to apply their reading skills.
A wide range of reading books are sent home regularly and parents can write comments about how well their children are doing with the books at home. These books are from various book schemes to ensure a broad and balanced range of reading material and are placed in bands that get gradually harder as the children progress. They start with books that have no words to develop good reading behaviours and progress to complex fiction and non-fiction. When children become fluent readers, they move on to choosing their own books from the school library where they can browse and select a range of books. This develops their skill of looking at books and making a quick summary based on a short reading time and the blurb on the back of books.
We celebrate World Book day each year and love celebrating books to promote reading. We also hold regular book fairs which are amazingly well supported by our fantastic parents who play such a big part in teaching their children to read.
By the time children leave us, we aim to have developed fluent readers who are interested in reading as it is a key life skill for a successful future.
Children’s thoughts on reading at Saint Joseph’s:
“I just love reading for fun!” said Anna.
“I love finding out new facts,” said Harley.
“I like reading because it is like having a little telly in my head,” said Hannah.