Approach to reading
Intent – What do we aim for?
At St Paulinus School, we believe that the ability to be able to read, along with the love of reading, is key to helping our pupils reach their full potential. We aim to equip our pupils with the necessary skills to decode words and to become confident, fluent readers. Our Curriculum is organised in a way that puts reading at the very heart of it; so that every topic and subject is supported with high quality texts which enable our pupils to find out about the world that we live in, as well as be transported to worlds of imagination. The teaching of reading, and the focus of reading for pleasure, have a very high profile in our school and as such, we continually strive to develop and improve it.
Implementation – What does reading look like at St Paulinus?
A clear sign that reading is at the heart of our Curriculum is the time in which we dedicate to reading. This is either through specific taught sessions or through the opportunities in which we give our pupils to enjoy books being read to them, sharing books, reading books independently, talking about books or using books as a stimulus for learning tasks. We understand the importance of language comprehension, as well as word recognition, and our approach ensures that both elements are delivered in ways which help our pupils to obtain the skills to be successful readers.
Teachers and practitioners have a passion for reading and love to share books with our pupils. Reading for Pleasure and the love of reading continues to be an area which we promote with our pupils. We have dedicated Storytime each day, for twenty minutes, where a whole class text is read to the pupils by an adult. We have crafted a progressive spine of key texts, which enable our pupils to benefit from listening to stories being read aloud by skilled practitioners who share a love of reading. Being transported to another world or being able to identify with a character, helps our pupils to develop a love of reading, widens their reading repertoire and allows them to produce their own written texts which draws upon the vocabulary and patterns that they have gathered from the whole class novels.
Our pupils have curious minds and we encourage this curiosity with our approach to the Curriculum. The use of a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, web-based information, newspapers and magazines support the delivery of our topics as well as help our pupils to develop their knowledge about the world and their own independent research skills. With dedicated class libraries and exciting topic-based texts, our learning environments showcase the pedestal in which reading is placed upon.
The purpose and importance of reading is taught to children when they first come into Foundation Stage. It is within these crucial years where our pupils truly begin their exciting reading journey. This is achieved by discovering the enjoyment of sharing stories together, learning how to handle books correctly, making life-long connections with treasured book characters and a range of story settings, as well as the patterns and structures of stories and rhymes. We value the importance of this amazing age and try to encourage our very youngest pupils to love books and reading as soon as they come to our school. It is also during this time where we begin to teach our pupils phonics. They quickly grow to understand that the written word has meaning and that by using decoding skills, they too, can read words themselves.
We follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme to teach phonics. Our approach is carefully structured so that each pupil is able to work systematically and thoroughly throughout the Six Phases. This enables pupils to understand how to blend graphemes for reading and how to segment them for spelling. It is expected that all pupils become fluent readers by the end of Year Two so that they can continue to embark on a journey of ‘reading to learn’. In Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, we use Oxford Reading Tree and Collins Big Cat as schemes to supplement our phonics teaching.
In Key Stage One, our pupils regularly read with an adult on a 1-1 basis. They also enjoy learning about the skills and strategies associated with reading through guided group reading sessions. It is through these opportunities where both phonic and comprehension skills are applied.
In Key Stage Two, pupils continue to receive the opportunity to read individually with an adult. They choose books from our School Library, Class Libraries or from home. We have a Whole Class Reading approach to the teaching of reading and we optimise the use of iPads by enabling our pupils to access texts with these devices. We also choose our texts from a wide range of genres: poetry to pop songs; web-based information to classic novels. The texts we use are carefully linked to our Curriculum content. Our Whole Class Reading approach focuses on vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summarising texts.
Our School library is a treasured St Paulinus tradition. Our pupils are given the opportunity to visit the library on a weekly basis to choose a book from our wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts. These book choices are a wonderful addition to the home-school reading book from class. We teach our pupils about the dewy system and how to make the best use of the library. Our dedicated team of pupil librarians help fellow pupils cherish reading and they are role models for younger readers.
Reading is celebrated in many ways. Our School Reading Rewards motivate our pupils to see reading as a daily hobby that can happen at both home and school. When our pupils achieve 50, 100, 200 reads within an academic year, they are rewarded with certificates, pencils, book marks, new books and book tokens. Reading champions within classes talk about the books that they are reading and likes/dislikes. This culture of ‘Book Talk’ helps our pupils to celebrate and discover the books which are popular at the moment in time.
What is the impact of our approach to reading at St Paulinus?
The impact of our rich and varied reading curriculum is displayed in the way in which our pupils love books and reading for pleasure. Pupils have the skills needed for being successful and confident readers. They understand that the knowledge and skills gained, from their reading journey at our School, can lead them to a triumphant future.