At St John Fisher Catholic Primary School, we fully recognise the importance of a love of reading. With reading at the heart of our curriculum, we believe every child should leave KS2 with an experience of wide and varied genre types throughout their learning. We aim to immerse our children in stories and texts that broaden their horizons and open doors to new worlds.
Children in Reception and Year 1 have guided reading sessions 3 times a week with a highly trained adult to help them consolidate their learning of phonics and develop automaticity in their reading. The children will read the same book 3 times that week but will focus on 3 separate strands for each session: decoding, prosody and comprehension. Children are allocated these books depending on which phonic sounds have been covered and that they are secure in. This allows them to focus on their fluency rather than on their phonic ability. Children also take home a ‘reading for pleasure’ book from the KS1 library to read with their parents at home. We encourage and support parents to read with their children on a daily basis, recognising that parents play a vital role in their child’s reading development.
Children progress through the reading book bands accordingly with each book level introducing new reading and comprehension skills. They become ‘free readers’ when they are competent readers and can fluently read a text with expression and understand through questioning what they are reading. Once children reach the book band ‘Lime’ they are free to access banded books within our school library which contains a wide variety of authors and genres, and a range of current and classic reads.
Children from Year 2 to 6 participate in Whole Class Reading. Here we focus on our class novel on a Monday and Friday and use our skills taken from the reading domains. For the rest of the week, the children are exposed to a wide range of texts such as: song lyrics, non-fiction texts, plays, extracts from novels with a linked theme across the 3 days. Within these sessions, the children practise their reading skills through reading aloud; echo reading and choral reading. The children use a variety of skills to answer questions, again, linked to the reading domains.
Every year group across the school has dedicated time each day to read for pleasure to ensure we encourage a love and passion for reading. We believe listening to a teacher model reading skills such as appropriate vocal expression and intonation is the best way for children to learn how to implement these skills themselves. What better feeling is there, than leaving children on the edge of their seats, desperate to find out what happens in their class read next?
Vocabulary is very important and something we focus heavily on. We encourage children to question words they are unsure of and look at synonyms and antonyms and how it could be used in a sentence. From Reception onwards, the children of St John Fisher are exposed to a range of vocabulary through our reading, wider curriculum lessons and through our ‘Word of the Week’. This insight into Tier 1 and Tier 2 vocabulary, helps to close the vocabulary gap and allow them to use this knowledge when accessing the wide range of texts they are exposed to.
Our library, which has been restocked with engaging and exciting texts is open every day. The library offers all the children independent access to new and engaging content which is banded for age appropriateness on a regular basis. This allows the children the freedom to choose a genre or author they particularly enjoy reading whilst also ensuring the appropriateness for the age group. Within each classroom, there is also a range of topic related texts available for children to read, encouraging them to learn more about their given topic. Add to this the Book Fair, Book Week and many other whole school reading events, we are confident that children at St John Fisher understand the importance of reading as a lifelong skill whilst also gaining a love of reading for pleasure.