Reading at St. Theresa’s Catholic primary school
At St. Theresa’s Catholic primary School, generally we believe that in EY and Y1 the children are learning to read, and in Y2-6 they are reading to learn. We know there is a clear correlation between pupils’ engagement with reading and their attainment, motivation, behaviour and self- confidence therefore it is of paramount importance that throughout the whole school we encourage children to learn to love reading and read, or be read to, for pleasure. We understand that this involves teaching children to learn to read early because if children get off to a successful start with reading there is a strong indicator/predictor for reading motivation later on and more accomplished readers choose to read more. We believe our children should be given an abundant and rich variety of accessible texts to read across the curriculum and this will broaden the children’s horizons and their knowledge of words, phrases and ideas. We build a curriculum that enables all children to read and to continue their learning and their lives unhindered by reading difficulties. We inspire children to read beyond schooling and aspire to careers where these skills of fluency and comprehension can be utilised fully. We understand that Language skills and knowledge of vocabulary are a critical factor in social disadvantage and so we prioritise closing the gap between the speech, language and communication development of any children who are behind, and their peers. Alongside a very rigorous and sequential approach to developing speaking and listening and vocabulary acquisition, we also refer to specialist individual speech and language therapy.
How we implement this at St. Theresa’s school
Our reading curriculum is designed to give our children the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to read fluently and develop a deep comprehension of what they have read. We understand that in order to fully comprehend children need to be able to read fluently with accuracy, speed and expression, they need to be taught comprehension explicitly which includes development of vocabulary knowledge of language structures, lexical and syntactical knowledge, as well as knowledge of context and ideas in the text. To develop this children need to be given time to read and read across the curriculum this will help children develop their vocabulary, fluency, contextual understanding, and knowledge of language structures to help them infer. We also teach children the importance of ‘thinking’ whilst reading. Children can develop comprehension skills before they can read and comprehend texts themselves whilst being read to.
In order for children to begin reading themselves and develop fluency they need to be able to decode and have a secure phonemic awareness which is why our reading curriculum includes a systematic, focused synthetic phonics programme called Ready, Steady, Phonics. Alongside the phonic programme children will engage in Guided Reading sessions reading a phonetically matched book and enjoy other books as part of reading for pleasure. We believe that ‘reading for pleasure’ is not an ‘add-on’ – it is the context in which all reading takes place. We take into account children’s interests when choosing material that has the capacity to appeal to them, while also considering the quality of language and illustration and the variety of authors and genres. Our shared books that are read allowed to children daily support our Writing programme ‘Pathways to Write’ as we take a text based approach to teaching writing, reading and vocabulary. Children will study their class book, along with other linked texts, in reading sessions, building on and inspiring writing. All of our reading teaching and learning follows the National Curriculum.
Please see phonics policy/statement
All classes explore books and develop reading skills through shared and guided reading experiences. Guided reading sessions occur outside of the general English lesson and are small group sessions using the scheme 'Pathways to Read' in Years 2-6. From Year 2 onwards children take home at least 2 books per week.
In EY and Y1 the phonic policy is followed and children take home a phonetically matched book plus a reading-for-pleasure book.
This is when texts are shared and enjoyed together as a class. A teacher may read out loud to model reading with accuracy, speed and expression. Text may be displayed. There will opportunity for comprehension, scrutiny of language features and time to teach vocabulary.
This is when children read in pairs. One is the reader and the other is the guide. Paired reading can be an effective use of time.
Reading for pleasure
Reading for pleasure is extremely important and so we set time aside daily for children to engage in Reading for Pleasure.
At St. Theresa’s Primary School we firmly believe in teacher assessment and skilling teachers up through training and moderation sessions to make accurate judgements. Children will be assessed through formative assessments and summative assessments such as PM bench marking, phonic assessments and NFER tests. These are given three times per year to support teacher assessment. Analysis of the tests informs teacher assessment and future planning. Please see the attached documents for outcomes and progression expectations.
- Guided Reading – progression in reading
- Reading Assessment Grids
Writing at St. Theresa’s Catholic primary school
At St Theresa’s primary school, we plan and teach explicitly for English. The children are taught English skills within English lessons and we expect to see the skills they have learnt applied in other subjects. We consider good English teaching to be lively, engaging and to involve a carefully planned blend of approaches that direct children’s learning. The children should be challenged to think. The teacher provides children with good support but requires independence as appropriate. The balance of adult-led and child initiated activity is an important element of planning in EYFS, but similarly throughout the primary school, opportunities should be provided for children to initiate their own learning and to use and apply the English skills they have been taught. The pitch and pace of the work is sensitive to the rate at which the children learn while ensuring that expectations are kept high and progress is made by all children. Although the learning focus may give greater weight to learning in a particular strand or area of English, the strong interdependence between speaking, listening, reading and writing should underpin planning and provision for learning.
We believe that good English teaching involves teachers identifying and defining the English skills and knowledge that the children are expected to learn, then clearly map out how they will lead the children to the intended learning. Children know that they can discuss and seek help as and when they need to. Children will be challenged and enjoy opportunities to practice and apply their learning. Whilst teaching explicit English we plan for English through other subjects to provide opportunities for children to present their skills and provide opportunities for extended and meaningful pieces of reading and writing. Children should be provided with opportunities to support one another and participate in group work. We expect good English teaching to involve children to be happy to share their ideas and to explain their reasoning and methods. Children who need more support than others should be identified quickly by teachers and seek the advice of the SENDco to ensure that these children receive early intervention to help them maintain their progress. Good teaching of English requires a good knowledge of the subject, an understanding of the progression in the curriculum being taught and recognition that some teaching approaches are better suited to promote particular learning outcomes.
How we implement this at St. Theresa’s school
From Reception to Year 6, we teach the statutory curriculum for writing through the Literacy Company’s carefully constructed text-based scheme ‘Pathways to Write’ units. Pathways to Write is a proven methodology built around units of work which develop vocabulary, reading and writing skills through the mastery approach. Each unit has a clear structure, engaging resources and are taught through engaging, vocabulary rich texts which create purposeful English lessons which our wider curriculum is then linked to. Within each unit, there are age-related skills for children to work on and master through a variety of activities and writing opportunities. By limiting the number of skills the units contain, children can really hone their writing techniques, providing excellent, focused assessment opportunities We particular understand how spoken language, reading and writing are intrinsically linked and our guided reading sessions, shared reading sessions, language curriculum and wider curriculum support each other and re-enforce skills learned. Our writing curriculum is ambitious and the programme seeks to challenge every child including greater-depth writers. There are 6 half-termly units per year group with a wealth of writing opportunities in each. There is a heavy emphasis on vocabulary learning and contextualised spelling, grammar and punctuation
At St. Theresa’s Primary School we firmly believe in teacher assessment and skilling teachers up through training and moderation sessions to make accurate judgements. Children will be assessed through formative assessments judged on independent writing pieces. Please see the attached documents for outcomes and progression expectations accompanied by exemplification materials:
- Pathways to write – reading and spoken language development
- Pathways to write – texts and mastery overview (for sentence word and grammar development)
- Progression in mastery
- Feature key progression (for genre development)
- Assessment of writing
- Exemplification materials