At St Peter’s C of E, reading is as the heart of everything we do. It forms a key element of our ASPIRE curriculum and it is our desire to see every child develop a passion for reading. We value reading as a crucial gateway to the wider curriculum.
In March 2023, we held our first 'Reading Café' afterschool. Parents and children came to the school hall straight after school for refreshments and to peruse our reading menu. The children selected a story (or extract from a story) that they wanted to listen to. The children then visited the classroom to hear the story of their choice. This was a really successful event and one that we will be repeating in the future!
Following our Phonics program (Little Wandle: Letters and Sounds Revised), children begin building what we have termed Reading Skills. Our reading curriculum has been constructed alongside English Consultant Jonathan Bond and our resources and methodology have developed from The Teaching Booth. Reading Skills lessons have a dual purpose. Crucially, the most important element is reading fluency. Children are invited to read aloud where skills such as intonation and pace are practiced. They are immersed in a theme across each week, where they are exposed to high quality texts that vary in text-type. Ultimately, the intention is to excite the children and introduce them to different genres and writers. Teachers keep running records to show progress over time. Additionally, reading comprehension skills are taught. Book talk immerses the children in talking about texts; children talk increasingly confidently about the writer’s craft and this also allows us to teach new or archaic vocabulary. Reading Skills comprise the core skills of retrieving and inferring, and subsidiary skills such as predicting, linking, summarising and evaluating the author’s purpose.
All classrooms have book corners with high-quality texts. Great investments have been made in partnership with our colleagues at the Essex Schools’ Library Service. Children are able to select high-quality books for their independent reading from the class stock. Lower attaining pupils will bring home books matched to their phonic ability as well as their book to share. Our recently refurbished library is an excellent resource, with topic books replenished regularly.
Adults at St Peter’s love to read aloud, modelling ‘being a reader’ for their pupils. Story time forms a part of our daily timetable, with books chosen from our bespoke reading spine. This document lists and records texts that challenge and inspire, such as stories with complex plots or narration or classic books. Staff at St Peter’s are knowledgeable about books and are able to help readers ‘branch out’ to read widely.
Reading for Pleasure is a key element of our reading diet. Reading Skills lessons present learners to a wealth of books, introducing them to cultures and lands beyond their own. We have a small bookshelf in our entrance lobby where books can be taken home to keep. Our weekly newsletter provides families with newly published books to look out for. Reading clubs are an additional way for learners to become excited about book-talk.
Below are pictures of our new library!
Below are pictures of children's learning from our reading skills lessons: