Learning to read is such an important life skill;
it is the platform for learning for life.
We believe it is the entitlement of every child to read with fluency and for pleasure irrespective of any disadvantage they may experience. We expect every child to leave our school able to read fluently and with comprehension and to have developed a love of reading that they will take with them through the rest of their school career and beyond.
Our School Leadership Prioritises Reading
The school senior leadership place the highest value on reading in school. This is evident in: the resources, both human and financial, afforded to reading; the time given to the teaching of reading, reading for pleasure, book talk and reading in the wider curriculum; CPD offered to all staff which develops a strong knowledge of children’s literature and the pedagogy of teaching reading; the environment and presentation of books in all areas of school. Reading continues to be a whole school priority on the school’s Developing Excellence Plan and as such, is monitored and evaluated regularly by governors, including the link governor for reading.
Early reading is given conspicuous priority and the Phonics Leader is released regularly to monitor and evaluate delivery of the phonics programme and share her expertise.
The Headteacher works as a Phonic Leader for the Sheffield English Hub and the school benefits greatly from her expertise, experience and up to date training.
A love of reading is promoted
Research shows that children who read for pleasure achieve better outcomes in all areas of the curriculum. At Our Lady and St Joseph’s we believe it is the entitlement of every child to read for pleasure and we are proactive towards achieving this. Books are carefully chosen by adults and children and ‘sold’ in a variety of ways. Book talked is encouraged at all times informally and is planned for in each class. Staff get to know every child as a reader.
Reading for pleasure includes having choice as a reader. Children are given a range of opportunities to make choices in their reading and in what is read to them.
All children should see themselves represented positively in the books in school and new books are chosen to ensure a balance of male/female protagonists, BAME characters represented positively, children from LGBT+ families, stories of refugee children and their experiences.
All classrooms have a dedicated book area for browsing. Books can also be chosen from corridor and library displays. All areas are regularly refreshed and updated in line with reading for pleasure principles. Children and adults use SALES techniques to recommend reading and book choices.
Content and Sequence Supports Progress
At Our Lady and St. Joseph's we use the Read, Write Inc. (RWI) programme to teach phonics in KS1 and Foundation Stage. This is a systematic teaching of synthetic phonics and is a highly successful way of developing children’s reading, spelling and language. We expect all children to ‘crack the code’ of phonics.
- The five key principles that underpin all the teaching in all Read Write Inc. Programmes are:
- Participation– our teaching strategies ensure that all children participate fully in the whole lesson – there is no chance for children to lose concentration and miss key elements of the teaching
- Praise– children work together, as partners, taking turns to teach and praise one another and they are motivated by the focused praise they receive from teachers and teaching assistants
- Pace– a lively pace keeps all the children fully engaged
- Purpose– teachers know the purpose of every activity and how it leads into the next
- Passion– it is easy for teachers to be passionate about their teaching because they see their children make such rapid progress. Click here for our Phonics Page.
In Foundation Stage and at KS1 the children reinforce their reading at home through fully decodable RWI books in line with what the children are learning and accessing in their phonic sessions.
At the end of the week every child takes home a reading book matched with their reading level. They are expected to be reading this book a minimum of 3 times to an adult so that they can practice their learned sounds and build up their fluency.
Every child will also have chosen a reading for pleasure text to share at home.
In addition, the sounds they have learned each week in their RWI sessions are available by clicking on the links on the class blogs. There are different sounds for each reading group.
Pupils falling behind are encouraged to catch up quickly
There are regular discussions between staff about phonics and the Phonics Leader quickly identifies children who are not making expected progress through the programme. Actions to immediately address needs include:
1:1 session with skilled phonics practitioner during the afternoon
Directed use of RWInc video materials at school/home
Where children have not cracked the code of phonics by the start of KS2, they continue on the programme through a combination of taught 1:1 or small group sessions and directed, timetabled use of the RWInc video materials. Children’s progress is carefully tracked by the KS2 RWInc Leader.
Fluency in reading is necessary for comprehension. Children’s fluency is measured as part of RWInc ongoing regular assessment, including those children in KS2 who continue to access the phonics programme.
Occasionally, children may crack the code in phonics but struggle with prosody and phrasing in fluency. In these cases, Herts for Fluency programme is used as an intervention with small groups to build on these areas.
In Year 2, once children have cracked the code, and across Key Stage 2 children have a daily Comprehension lesson where they learn to access, analyse and understand a wide range of texts. Skills include clarifying, skimming and scanning, summarising and inferring. These areas of reading were identified by the Education Endowment Foundation as being the most effective in developing comprehension.
In Y2 this is delivered through a Read Write Inc programme designed specifically to make the link between RWInc Phonics and KS2 Comprehension.
In KS2, high quality texts are chosen carefully to activate knowledge through clear links with topic work in foundation subjects and with the writing focus for the half term. In comprehension, children experience fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Please click here to access the comprehension overview for KS2
The Bedrock vocabulary programme supports explicit teaching of vocabulary. All KS2 children access the Bedrock programme at their individual level weekly with one session in school and one session as a homework expectation.
Children working through the RWInc phonic programme take home a book closely matched to the sounds they are learning. Children may also bring home a book they have chosen to share at home although there is no expectation that they should be able to read this independently. Once children have completed the phonic programme and have achieved fluency they can choose any book from the classroom to read independently. Class books are carefully chosen for appeal and appropriate content and may include poetry and non-fiction as well as novels and picture books for all ages.
Regular information sessions are held for parents/carers to support them in sharing books with children at home. Materials are also available on the school website to support this.
Reading for Purpose
Reading is the golden thread woven through the whole of our school curriculum. Staff have high expectations of children reading in all sessions including foundation subjects.
Subject sessions are carefully planned to give children opportunities for reading, including decodable texts where children are working through the phonics programme.
All topics have at least one high quality linked text. Click here to see linked texts. Children may be expected to read instructions, bullet points and subject specific information in all sessions.
For those children not reading at the expected level for their age group, adaptations may include pre-read, images to support text, own copy of text (perhaps on specific colour) and occasionally targeted adult support.
Every class has a dedicated time for story /core story every day. This is when an adult will read to the class. Core story exposes children to a wide and diverse range of stories and poems carefully selected for content and vocabulary choices. In Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children revisit favourite stories and poems including Nursery Rhymes regularly. In Key Stage 2 children listen to longer novels, sometimes supported by film versions.
In addition Foundation Stage and Y1 children use the RWInc Talk through story materials for an additional story session.
Here are two information leaflets about how you can help your child read at home.
World Book Day 2022
Click here to see our Book World Cup