They explore high-quality texts right from Reception to Year 6, as well as rigorously practising the skills needed to access reading and writing.
At St Mary’s, we strive to produce children who are fully literate and articulate, who will out into the world as literate and articulate citizens of the world. Above all, we aim to foster a love of English language and an enjoyment of both reading and writing. Through reading in particular, pupils are given a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. At St Mary’s, we make sure our students leave the school with a life-long reading habit and a love of books for both pleasure and information while appreciating and celebrating our rich and varied literary heritage as well as cultural capital. We ensure children progress to write and speak clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
At St Mary’s, we firmly believe that our reading teaching needs to sit within a strong Reading for Pleasure culture. Our Reading for pleasure culture is evident through reading ‘in class, out of class and all around’:
the high-quality texts used in our Reading and Writing lessons;
class story time at the end of each day;
independent or free reading sessions in class;
our class reading areas, a school library and playground library boxes;
the reading buddy programme, led by our qualified Dyslexia teacher;
book buddy classes, set up across the school for regular partner sharing of books;
reading volunteers working with children to improve their reading;
each of our children having the opportunity to be a member of and visit the Essex road Library;
whole school shared texts to promote shared experiences of reading throughout the school.
As a school we are committed to using CLPE Power of Reading, this means our children have access to a wide variety of high-quality children’s books in their literacy lessons and across the curriculum. The children read and discuss picture books, traditional tales, poetry, non-fiction, novels and graphic novels. This broad range of text-types ensures all children have the opportunity to find something they enjoy and ignites both their imagination, and their passion for reading.
The children at St Mary’s, children learn to read using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme, developed by the Wandle and Little Sutton English Hubs. This involves a daily discrete phonics session, as well as a group reading session three times a week using a decodable book that matches their phonic knowledge. They follow the programme from Reception through to the end of Year 1, when the children take the Phonics Screening check. Any children who do not pass the check continue with a rigorous, engaging Keep-up programme into Year 2 and beyond if necessary.
Guided, independent and whole class reading
Once the children have mastered the mechanics of word reading, their phonics and group reading sessions transform into daily guided reading or class reading sessions. The children are taught to recognise, use and apply reading skills during these sessions, which either focus on a guided reading text, depending on the needs of the children.
We use quality resources from Collins Big Cat, this provides complete high quality, consistent support for guided, independent and whole-class reading across the whole school. We have a range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction books, with a wealth of genres and topics, these make guided, whole-class and independent reading sessions varied and interesting
Our written work is linked to the high quality texts that the children study across the school, as well as often linking to our class topics. This means that much of the writing the children do is cross-curricular. The children write both for purpose and pleasure, learning the importance and joy of mark-making in the Early years Foundation Stage, right up to the satisfaction and pride that comes from rereading, editing and redrafting a high-quality piece of writing in Year 6.
The children are taught grammar in the context of their literacy lessons, as and when it arises, so that the children are able to apply it directly to their writing. This is then revised in Upper Key Stage 2 during explicit, twice weekly grammar sessions.
At St Mary’s, we teach the foundations of spelling through our Phonics programme, Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. From Year 2 upwards, spelling is taught through No Nonsense Spelling, a complete spelling programme designed to meet the needs of the National Curriculum in a manageable way. The children have twice weekly spelling lessons, and the children are also given a spelling rule to practise for home learning each week.
At St Mary’s, the children explore the joy of mark-making in our Early Years Foundation Stage, beginning to form letters through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds programme. The children continue to practise their letter formation during their phonics lessons in Year 1, and then move on to learning to join in Year 2 with Nelson Handwriting. Throughout Years 2 and 3 the children have daily discrete handwriting sessions, moving on to twice weekly handwriting sessions in Year 4, 5 and 6 if necessary.