Here at St Mary's we prioritise the teaching of English as both a core subject, and one which unlocks opportunity in all other subjects. We want our children to leave St Mary's as effective communicatiors in all genres of reading and writing, below is an indication of how we achieve this in our school.
The first stage in helping children to become confident readers and enjoy books is teaching them the key skills that they need. Our philosophy is driven by the determination that every child in our school will learn to read, regardless of social and economic circumstances, ethnicity, the language spoken at home, or special education needs or disabilities, Opportunities for reading are around every corner at St Mary’s, from our structured phonics program to our high-quality classroom reading areas, which are stocked and updated by the Education Library Services frequently. Quality class texts are at the core of our English curriculum and used to further explore our topic work.
We teach early reading through the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Twinkl Phonics. Children participate in daily phonics lessons, starting in Reception/ EYFS and progressing through to Year 2 and beyond, supporting children to become fluent readers. Lessons are well-structured, fast paced and multi-sensory.
How it works
|Level 1 and 2
|Level 3 recap
|Level 2,3 and 4 recap
|Level 5 recap
|Level 5 recap
|Level 6 recap
Each half-term, we assess the level at which children are accessing phonics and stream them accordingly. This ensures that learning is taking place at the correct level for children's cognitive load capacity, with enough challenge to support their progression. Daily assessment of learning ensures that children with gaps in their knowledge are identified quickly and supported through additional resources and rehearsal.
Each week, children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 will read fully decodable books with an adult during 1:1 sessions and group guided-reading sessions. Children will read with an adult at least twice per week alongside daily Phonics and English sessions, Children in Key Stage 2 explore texts through weekly guided reading sessions alongside purposeful 1:1 sessions where needed.
Guided reading is completed weekly, however this may look different in each class e.g. split over days, whole class or group sessions. Guided reading is purposeful and pertinent to the needs of the class and may focus on a variety of targets such as vocabulary, inference, prediction, evaluation, retrieval or summarising. Guided reading sessions are recorded in home-learning diaries.
Reading at Home
At St Mary’s, our expectation is for children to read at home every day. Reading at home encourages children to practice decoding, fluency, expression and understanding. Using our home-learning diaries, teachers will be able to support you and your child to develop their reading skills and what to focus on at home as well as noting successes in reading.
Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 will bring home one closely matched phonics book, linked to the sounds they are learning that week, and one book-banded book to encourage a love of reading by exploring a variety of genres. These books are changed accordingly.
Once children have completed their phonics journey, children choose independent reading books from our school library and book corners. Teachers guide pupils to choose appropriate texts.
Reading for Pleasure
Daily story time in all classes is a non-negotiable part of the school day. Teachers choose books pertinent to each class, they may be linked to topic learning, a specific author or a special interest. Classes use a mixture of novels, short stories and poetry.
We encourage active participation in World Book Day activities every year, hold focused weeks on specific books such as The Wonder Garden and topics such as Traditional tales, providing lots of opportunities to explore books in a way that children may not have before. We have held multiple reading competitions, entered through our social media page and celebrated reading achievements in assemblies.
We ensure that every class has a reading nook with quality books that we have invested in via the ELS, using this resource we are able to keep our libraries relevant and teach children how to properly care for books.
World Book Day
Some of our classes during World Book Day.
A small selection of the entries from our reading competition.
Links with Little Sutton library
Each year, every class will visit Little Sutton library to enhance their love of reading. Whilst at the library, the children learn about different genres of books, the services provided by our library and have an opportunity to lend a book to take home and read. Our visits help to promote a love of reading and appreciation for quality literature.
Pathways to Write structures the foundations of our English planning across the school. Wider resources, including those from The Literacy Shed, Literacy Counts and more are used to enhance the teaching of writing within our curriculum offer. Writing opportunities are carefully planned so that they are progressive and appropriate for the ability of our children.
We teach writing as whole class lessons, so that all children have access to the age-related content contained within the National Curriculum. Key Stage 1 children are supported in seeing the relationship between their developing phonic knowledge and how this can be transferred to writing, while Key Stage 2 children up-level their skills with teacher support.
When working on handwriting, children are able to gain a ‘pen license’ when they have the skills they need to form letters accurately and join their writing.
In all stages of learning at St Mary’s, children feel supported in their writing journey. They expect challenge and are building resilience when it comes to spelling and handwriting.