Reading & Phonics
At St Martin’s, we believe that the teaching of reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them; a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves. Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading. We cultivate the behaviours that they will need to be astute readers as they read frequently, are able to use a wide range of strategies and discuss what they read. This curriculum is delivered through synthetic phonics, shared and guided reading, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. All of these are essential components as they offer the range of opportunities needed to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers.
It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Furthermore, we know that reading pleasure is beneficial not only for reading outcomes, but for wider learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. We work hard to foster a love of independent reading and build communities of engaged readers. We understand the significance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills so we endeavour to build a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to have the confidence to support their children with reading at home.
Reading is at the very heart of our curriculum. We are committed to promoting a love for reading and not only giving children opportunities to read in English lessons, but in the wider curriculum too.
Reading is a key life skill, and we are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe reading is key for academic success and so, to ensure we have a holistic approach to the teaching of reading, we implement the following:
- Children take part in daily Guided Reading lessons, where children are exposed to a range of different texts and can demonstrate their understanding and thinking behind these.
- We teach reading as a blend of whole class and group with a key focus on teaching vocabulary explicitly within texts.
- We have a wide selection of fully decodable reading books for children to take home, to support their Read Write Inc. Phonics learning in the classroom. All Book Bag Books include notes for parents and carers on how to help their child at home with phonics.
- We have a wide range of Oxford Reading Tree books in our school. All children from Reception to Year 6 take a reading book home weekly. These books are levelled and matched to children’s reading age. Children who complete the scheme become ‘Free Readers’.
- We expect our families to read these books with their child daily and make comments in their child’s reading record.
- We hold regular workshops for parents to demonstrate ways that they can best support their child with reading and phonics.
- Each classroom has a library of books in their classroom, some of which are directly linked with the class topic. This offers opportunities for the children to apply their reading skills across the curriculum.
- Children are read to each day by their class teacher.
- We want to ensure that all children in our school have been exposed to quality texts - a canon of books has been drawn up for each year group.
At St Martin De Porres, we use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc.’ produced by Ruth Miskin. Read Write Inc. is a method of learning letter sounds and blending them together to read and write words. As part of this, children have daily phonics sessions in small groups where they participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs. The teachers draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. Children work through the different phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge. Teachers complete regular Read Write Inc. assessments and plot children onto a tracking grid, which ensures children are grouped appropriately in phonics.
Through the teaching of systematic 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. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
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 give all children the opportunity to enter the magical worlds that books open up to them. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop their own love of genres and authors and to review their books objectively. This enhances a deep love of literature across a range of genres, cultures and styles.
By the time children leave St Martin De Porres they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader.