Then Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath he went as usual to the synagogue. He stood up to read the Scriptures. Luke 4:16
Reading is a crucial part of our curriculum at Holy Family & St Michael’s Catholic Primary school. We are a reading school and by the end of KS1 we want to enable all children to have the skills and confidence to access a range of books and text types independently so that their curriculum knowledge and experience can really flourish in KS2. We recognise that this is equally as important as developing children’s speaking and listening (C&L) skills to enable them to communicate what they have read effectively. By the end of Year Six we intend for our children to have developed a love of reading and writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through their spoken language, texts and written word. We also intend to create readers who re-read, develop a passion/ love of their favorite genres and research for themselves. They will have developed a clear reader identity. They become an active part in our community organizing and sourcing books for the class and school libraries and taking part in providing an attractive and calm reading space. At Holy Family & St Michael’s Catholic school, we set high expectations for all our children to become lifelong passionate readers so that this passion will develop as they move forward in to higher education and beyond.
- A rigorous SSP (Floppy Phonics) implemented from Reception to Y2 (or beyond if that support is still crucial to a child’s development).
- A consistent approach to teaching guided reading.
- Working closely with other agencies, using their professional advice to support children with SEND to access reading effectively, using rainbow words/ S&L programs if the SSP is not relevant to a child’s development.
- Use of a reading spine to ensure a wide range of texts and coverage and that they are age appropriate. Teachers are allowed to expand on this, sharing a love and passion for books at all times.
- Reading spines help to develop author knowledge and give experience of classic and new authors.
- Use the SLS service to enhance our texts and range of books available to children and the learning taking place. They also work with the librarians and give them helpful skills moving forward.
- Regular half termly assessments to ensure progress is being made and also that reading books sent home are at the right level for celebration and practice. In Y2 & 6 this includes preparation, support and rehearsal for SATs testing.
- Home reading and support by parents using BoomReader App.
- Parent workshops to help them in supporting their children with the SSP and beyond.
- Working with the children at KS2 more rigorously to develop the passion and reader opportunity and develop these genres/ patterns with the children sourcing new authors/ genres and texts as necessary with/ alongside the children.
- Use of reading plus as an aid to develop progress of reading in KS2 (in addition to guided reading sessions) and to improve reader engagement at home and school.
Pupils will make good progress from their own personal starting points. By the end of Year Six they will be able to read fluently with confidence and in a clear audible voice. They will gain knowledge of a range of authors, genres and text types and have developed their passion and love for reading. They will have gained their readers identify and know where their passions lie and what they would love to explore moving forward into further education.
Following COVID restrictions and national lockdowns, we have ensured the children do not have gaps in their learning by using a new reading programme (Reading Plus) alongside our Guided Reading lessons. We have also developed our reading areas around school to encourage a love of reading throughout school.
How long will it take my child to learn to read?
By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.
How do I know teaching will be good?
All the staff in Early Years and Key Stage 1 have been trained in Early Reading and the delivery of Floppy’s Phonics. We believe that it is very important that all the teachers and teaching assistants work in the same way. Senior teachers watch other teachers and teaching assistants teaching to make sure that the children are learning how we want them to learn.
If you are worried about the teaching or you have any questions, please come to school and talk to us.
What can I do to help?
Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. It helps if you know whether this is a book that your child can read on their own or whether this is a book that you should read to them. The teacher will have explained which is which. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most.
Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds.
Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.
We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family.
Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?
It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.
What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?
We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. If they struggle, we give them extra time with an adult, on their own or in a small group. These adults are specially trained to support these children. Your child will still be in the same group with the other children and won’t miss out on any of the class lessons.
If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.
Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’.
What if my child turns out to be dyslexic?
The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult. If you are worried about your child, please come and talk to us.
My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him learning to read through phonics?
This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; “tttssh” for the s-sound; “w” for the r-sound and “r” for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We are here to help.
How will my child be taught to read?
We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are.
The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.
The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.
The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.
How will I know how well my child is doing?
We will always let you know how well your child is doing.
We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.
We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country.
In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.
We have a team of reading leaders across school. For more information on their role, please visit our Student Leadership page.
Guided Reading ensures children are exposed to a variety of authors and text types and that they do not repeat the same books every year. They can and are encouraged to explore more and of course share their favourites! We also have classic authors that have been around for many years. Some of these may be familiar to you.