At St Clare’s, our aim is to deliver an exciting, innovative Reading curriculum which has an emphasis on Phonics, Early Reading and Reading for Pleasure, in order to enable and empower our children's written and oral communication and creativity.
We aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:
- Gain a life-long enjoyment of reading and books.
- Read accurately, fluently and with understanding;
- Apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;
- Be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence;
- Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar;
- Read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts;
- Develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy;
- Read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
The table below shows the range of reading teaching opportunities and experiences that children take part in throughout school.
Reception and Key Stage 1
Through the delivery of our reading curriculum, we ensure a consistent and robust teaching and learning of early reading and phonics in FS and KS1, so that pupils are able to read with increased speed and fluency and access the wider curriculum. Children take part in a daily Phonics lesson, following the Rising Stars, Rocket Phonics programme. Please see our 'Phonics' page for lots more information. For children who are at the early stages of reading, there is a necessity for the books that they read to be closely matched to their developing phonics knowledge and knowledge of common exception words, so that they are able to access appropriate texts. At St Clare’s, all individual and group reading books in Reception and KS1 match the children’s phonic knowledge, ensuring all words can be decoded.
When appropriate, KS1 children are involved in group reading sessions, three times a week. In the spring/summer term of Year 2, children will be introduced to whole-class guided reading, in order to prepare them for the transition into KS2.
Reading for Pleasure and Story Time features on timetables, so children are exposed to a range of different books, for different purposes.
All children take home a home-reading book, which is matched to their phonics phase, and a sharing book, which whey can read with their family for pleasure. Home reading is monitored using a class Reading Register.
Key Stage 2
All KS2 children take part in a Whole-Class Reading lesson, four times per week, where they are exposed to a range of different text types and are taught a wide variety of reading skills.
‘Reading for Pleasure’ is timetabled in KS2, for at least fifteen minutes, four times per week. During this time, children read an Accelerated Read book of their choice, and can also use this time to complete book quizzes.
Children take home a reading book every night and are expected to read at home, daily, for at least fifteen minutes. They have a wide choice of books to choose from, including some reading-scheme books, and a large variety of specially-selected books that have been chosen for their class libraries. Home reading is monitored using a class Reading Register. Children in KS2 also have the chance to visit the school library and take home a book to share with their families.
Group and Whole Class Reading
From the spring term in Year 1, children in KS1 take part in Group Reading, three/four times per week, as recommend by the English Hub. They work in small groups, led by an adult, and are grouped according to the phonic phase that they are working within. The books they read are closely matched to their phonic phase, so they are able to decode and enjoy the book, feel confident as a reader, and discuss the text with others. Over the course of the week, the groups read their book three times, each time focusing on a different aspect of reading. All groups read with their adult at the same time.
KS2 children take part in whole class reading sessions, four times per week, led by the class teacher. The same text is read for the whole week, with a focus on a specific content domain from the English National Curriculum. As the year progresses, children are exposed to a wider range of content domains. The table below shows the range of content domains or 'strands' covered.
As we believe that reading is key to all learning, the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments. Children have the opportunity to enter the wide and varied magical worlds that reading opens up to them. As they develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres and cultures and styles is developed and enhanced.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading enquiry, our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts through the Key Stage 2 curriculum.
As a Year 6 reader transitioning into secondary school, we aspire that children are fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning in all areas of the curriculum
All children have access to our newly-stocked library, where they can scan out their books on our new system, Libresoft.
In addition to this:
- Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school records.
- The percentage of Phonics Screening Check pass rates will be at least in-line with national figures
- There will be high progress measures from a child’s initial reading ability
- The percentage of pupils working at age related expectations and above age related expectations within each year group will aim to be at least in line with national averages and will match the ambitious targets of individual children.
- The gaps in progress of different groups of children will be significantly reduced, e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged)
Promoting a Love of Reading
Staff work hard to promote a love of life-long reading for the children at St Clare’s. Each class has a newly-updated class library, which contains a wide-range of beautiful fiction and non-fiction books. Children (and teachers) are encouraged to read these and share their thoughts with the class.
Every class has a dedicated ‘story time’ or class reader session, where the children are read to by the class teacher. Books are chosen in a variety of ways, e.g. class votes and recommendations.
Children are encouraged to visit our school library, which we hope to update soon. A ‘Bookflix’ display inside the library is used to showcase and recommend some of the newer or recommend books available to children.
We have celebrated reading in school in many ways. Bedtime story packs were given to each class, containing a beautiful book for the children to take home and share with their families, a journal to record their thoughts on the book, and some hot chocolate for everyone to enjoy.
We have also held a poetry recital competition, where children spent time orally rehearsing poems and performing them to the whole school, including parents and governors.
We have also been lucky enough to welcome authors into school for presentations and workshops, and invite parents in for ‘A Book and a Bun’ story sharing sessions. The children also thoroughly enjoy taking part in our annual Book in a Jar competition, and of course, celebrating World Book Day in school.
What Our Children Say
At St Clare’s, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners; English learning is key in this.
We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, through a text-based approach. Careful links are made across the curriculum to ensure that children’s English learning is relevant and meaningful: where possible linking our reading, writing and the topic that we are covering in History and Geography. We ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning.
Our intentions in writing are for children to:
- Write for a purpose
- See themselves as real writers
- Take ownership of their writing
- See writing as an interesting and enjoyable process
- Acquire the ability to organise and plan their written work
Our Approach to Teaching Writing
We teach the EYFS and National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year-by-year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.
We aim to develop children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the audience / reader. Particular attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English: grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling.
Throughout the Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, we teach writing through a text-based approach, which allows us to meet the needs of the children that we are teaching – through choosing a text that will engage, inspire and motivate. Teachers clearly model writing skills and document the learning journey through consistent working walls; guided writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals. Children have opportunities to write at length, in extended, independent writing sessions at the end of a unit of work – applying their taught skills to an unsupported piece of writing.
As well as reading a wide variety of genres, children are given frequent opportunities to develop their skills in writing in different genres. Writing genres are taught sequentially throughout school, with a focus on audience and purpose. These genres are often repeated throughout the year to enable children to focus and fine-tune their writing skills. Children are also taught to write for a range of purposes and audiences outside their English lessons.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Children are taught the punctuation and grammar skills, appropriate to their year group, within our text-based approach to teaching, allowing opportunities to identify, practise and consolidate grammatical understanding, whilst also being immersed in a text. Children then apply the grammar and punctuation skills that they have learnt in their pieces of writing.
Phonics lessons are taught in Reception, Year 1 and 2 (see the Reading and Phonics pages), with the focus moving onto Spelling from around the spring term in Year 2. Spelling lessons are taught in each Key Stage 2 class, with lessons that focus on both spelling patterns and rules appropriate to the ability of the class and on the teaching of the words from the statutory word lists for each class. Spelling diagnostic assessments are completed three times per year, and the results are used to direct future teaching. Children particularly enjoying practising their spellings using Spelling Shed.
Handwriting is supported and well-developed in EYFS and KS1 by areas in provision that support gross and fine motor activities, as well as well-planned motor interventions to strengthen muscle development and control. Depending on the needs of the class, a pre-cursive script is usually introduced in Reception, moving onto a joined script in Year 2, which continues to be practised in KS2.
We will measure the impact of our Writing curriculum by:
- Using a range of on-going, daily formative assessment strategies and holding same-day interventions, where necessary.
- Using teacher assessment of writing using independently written pieces to provide evidence of National Curriculum skills and understanding.
- Administering summative assessments of grammatical knowledge and spelling using tests (3 x per year), using a Rising Starts GAPS test
- Holding regular moderation sessions between year groups / phases and externally to provide robust judgements – once a term.
- Monitoring the progress from year to year and key stage to key stage to ensure pupils remain ‘on track’ from their starting points.
- Monitoring exercise books for clear evidence of the use of vocabulary, spelling, grammatical understanding, punctuation understanding and text type knowledge.
Children will make good progress from their own personal starting points. By the end of Year Six they will be able to write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Our children will acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word. Most importantly, they will develop a love of writing and be well equipped for the rest of their education.