St Mary’s Reading Curriculum
“You seemed so far away,” Miss Honey whispered, awestruck.
“Oh, I was. I was flying past the stars on silver wings,” Matilda said. “It was wonderful.”
Roald Dahl, Matilda
Reading helps our pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of the wider world. The books we choose to share inspire pupils’ curiosity, encouraging children to question author’s intent and the context in which it was written. Our teaching of reading equips pupils to develop empathy, think critically, use their inference skills and (most importantly) develop a life-long love of reading.
We know that language shapes our community. Reading widely develops our pupils’ understanding of cultural differences, the power of words, the diversity of society, and develops independent study skills. Sharing books and texts with children offers an opportunity to not only develop their reading skills, but also to inspire their curiosity and understand the true magic that is reading.
To encourage a balance between reading for pleasure and building reading skills, children take out two books: one ‘Leisure’ book (which can be any book that interests the child, regardless of difficulty) and one ‘boost’ book (which is chosen based on the child’s current reading attainment).
Not only are there two dedicated ‘We Love Reading’ topic weeks etched into our whole school curriculum timetable, but further to this, every class participates in We Love Reading time daily. This is a time in which teachers read a chapter of a high quality, language-rich text, in order for children to hear what a fluent, interested reader sounds like.
This dedicated time also enables teachers to display their own passion for reading. Teachers encourage children to engage with the text through discussions and questioning. This modelling of the reading process, including ‘thinking out loud’ and sharing thoughts when reading, further develops children’s understanding of not only how to be a ‘good reader,’ but it also further develops a joy for the book they are reading. Each class reads a minimum of one book per half term, resulting in six books a year. This means that by the time children leave our school at the end of year 6, they will have experienced at least twenty-four high quality books. All classrooms should have an attractive book area with a range of fiction and non-fiction book in a variety of genres, featuring diverse characters and cultures.
We embrace opportunities to underpin all of our exciting wider curriculum topics with supportive, engaging reading materials. For every topic unit, each class is provided with specialist texts to support their progression of knowledge and developing their understanding of how reading is the key to learning.
We are very lucky to have a beautiful school library, which is open throughout the day (for children to change books) and every lunch time. Children are given the opportunity to become school librarians in Year 6 and even work alongside our favourite children’s bookshop in Norwich, BookBugs and DragonTales, to select new books for our library.
The school library also has a myriad of both fiction and non-fiction books related to school topic areas, to enable further engagement and learning.
Monitoring of the effectiveness of our teaching and learning of reading takes place through:
- Observations of We Love Reading time.
- One to One reading where the reading leaders listen to children read to establish the accuracy of the ZPD awarded.
- Discussions with children over the books they are exploring in class.
- Learning walks to recognise how reading has been celebrated in each classroom, for example through displays and reading corners).
- Feedback from our reading ambassadors.
- ‘Talk for Learning’ scaffolded discussions.
- PiXL Reading Assessments (3 x each year).
The impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments. As our pupils develop their own interest in books, a deep love of literature across a range of genres cultures and styles is enhanced.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics and reading enquiry, children to become fluent and confident readers who can apply their knowledge and experience to a range of texts through education and beyond.
By the end of Year 6, children are active, 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 and all areas of the curriculum.
Changes to our reading expectations due to Covid 19
Children take reading books home weekly. These stay at home for the week and then are returned to be quarantined over the weekend. Children also have a reading record to be kept at home. They also have a reading book which they keep in their tray for reading time.
In light of the recent pandemic, sharing high quality stories is now more important than ever.
Our shared library is currently shut, but our English leads have scoured it to find the most loved books! These have then been shared out across the school to create class libraries. Each term, these books will be quarantined and then rotated, to ensure that every class has access to new and exciting books.
Click on the links below for more support in developing your child's reading:
At St Mary's, we love listening to and telling stories.
In October, we set our children a challenge: to use traditional storytelling methods to share a story from their class name's culture. Click below to hear some fabulous stories from Europe, South America, India and Africa.