At St Bridget’s, we promote a love of literature and want all children to have a life-long love of reading. Children enjoy, listen attentively and respond with comprehension to familiar stories, poems, non-fiction, rhymes and songs that are appropriate to their age and stage of development. Our children enjoy a story, which is read to them by an adult. Our staff read to children in a way that excites and engages them, they introduce new ideas, concepts and vocabulary. This allows children to be fully immersed in the world of the book.
All children are encouraged to read often. A child who reads only 20 minutes per day reads almost two million words per year! 70-80% of a child’s vocabulary comes from reading. It is because of these reasons why reading is a priority for all children at St Bridget’s.
At St Bridget’s we prioritise reading to allow all pupils to access our curriculum. As a result, we approach the teaching of reading from all angles, so as to miss no opportunity to spark a child’s interest. Our rigorous and sequential approach to our reading curriculum develops pupils’ fluency, confidence and enjoyment in reading. Throughout St Bridget’s, the pupils’ reading attainment is assessed and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils. This allows all pupils to make progress.
We ensure there is a clear focus on ensuring that all children acquire a wide vocabulary, communicate effectively and, in Reception and KS1, secure a knowledge of phonics. Children who require additional phonic support will continue to receive this teaching in KS2 (Specialist Literacy Support). This gives our pupils the foundations for future learning, especially in preparation for them to become confident and fluent readers.
Read Write Inc. Phonics
As a school we have adopted the Read Write Inc phonics programme, which is a focused, direct and systematic phonics programme. Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write by developing their phonemic awareness—the ability to hear, identify and manipulate different sounds used in the English language. Children learn the correspondence between these sounds and the spelling patterns (graphemes) that represent them. At St Bridget’s, we place a strong emphasis on the teaching of phonics in the early years of reading and writing in order to give all children a solid foundation for learning.
Our phonic sessions are short, engaging and memorable with an emphasis placed on revising a previously learned letter-sound correspondence, learning a new one, practicing this, and applying it to sentence level work. Within our Read Write Inc programme, the children begin to learn each letter sound through the use of a catchy rhyme and corresponding letter formation. i.e. ‘m’ which is taught through the rhyme ‘Maisie, mountain, mountain’. This teaches the children the accurate formation of the letter sound and pronunciation.
The programme is introduced in FS2 and continues throughout Year 1 and Year 2. On completion of the programme, the majority of children progress to the Read Write Inc. spelling programme in Year 2. This approach is continued and developed in KS2, but now with a heightened focus on spelling.
Our RWI reading books connect closely to the phonics knowledge pupils are taught when they are learning to read. Our sequence of reading books show a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge.
In order for our pupils to have sufficient practice in reading and re-reading books that match the grapheme-phoneme correspondences they know, children in Reception, Year 1 and, where appropriate in Year 2, will take home a Read Write Inc story book. Children read from these books, which contain the sounds they know, while they are learning to read.
Our children will have read this storybook several times throughout the week to develop their accuracy, fluency and comprehension. Children will read it at home for them to share and celebrate their success with reading it. Our children are assessed regularly to ensure that the Read Write Inc book and reading scheme book is appropriately matched.
Our reception and infant reading scheme consists of a range of genres from the following providers:
- The Bug Club (specifically linked to our Read Write Inc. phonics scheme.)
- Oxford Reading Tree.
- Story World.
- Reading 360.
- Read Write Inc.
These reading books also allow children to develop their vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and gain further confidence so that they develop an enjoyment of reading. Teachers’ focus on pupils using and understanding a wide range of vocabulary aids the development of pupils’ comprehension and inference skills. Pupils develop the skills and strategies needed to understand a variety of texts.
At times, it is appropriate for some children to move onto free readers towards the Summer Term. This is dependent on the children’s progress. However, they will return to the scheme at the start of the new academic year.
KS2 is similar to KS1 in regards to continuing on the reading scheme journey and the use of regular assessment and review. The KS2 reading scheme is provided by Oxford University Press and consists of a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels.
When it is deemed appropriate, children will transition more permanently to a free reader. This is when the children’s word reading and comprehension shows a higher depth of understanding of the various genres at age-related expectations.
DEAR time (Drop Everything And Read)
Each class has daily DEAR time. It is a very important time in our classroom where we can enjoy our reading for pleasure time from a variety of books. Children may bring in books from home to read or choose one from our classroom book areas.
We have a weekly reading assembly where we can celebrate reading. We look at the value and uniqueness of reading by reviewing books we have read in our classroom.
Reading beyond the classroom
In our school, children have on opportunity to visit our school library, and each class has their own age-appropriate library. Children are welcome to use these books in addition to their reading scheme to enhance their reading for pleasure.
We also ensure that throughout the year, various authors and illustrators visit our children to talk to them about their books. Workshops may be held to for children to further develop their reading and writing skills. We have been fortunate enough to have welcomed Ben Fogle, Amy Wilson, Cathy Cassidy and Adam Baron into St Bridget’s.
Our Reading Spine Link to Reading Spine
Our St Bridget’s Reading Spine allows children to access carefully selected texts (based on the research of D. Lemov) as part of our progressive curriculum, to allow children to be immersed every year to five types of texts in order to successfully navigate reading with confidence. These are complex beyond a lexical level and demand more from the reader than other types of books.
The vocabulary, usage, syntax and context for cultural reference of texts over 50 or 100 years old are vastly different and typically more complex than texts written today. Students need to be exposed to and develop proficiency with antiquated forms of expression.
Non-Linear Time Sequences
In passages written exclusively for students—or more specifically for student assessments— time tends to unfold with consistency. A story is narrated in a given style with a given cadence and that cadence endures and remains consistent, but in the best books, books where every aspect of the narration is nuanced to create an exact image, time moves in fits and start. It doubles back. The only way to master such books is to have read them time and again and to be carefully introduced to them by a thoughtful teacher or parent.
Books are sometimes narrated by an unreliable narrator- Scout, for example, who doesn’t understand and misperceives some of what happened to her. Or the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” who is a madman out of touch with reality. Other books have multiple narrators such as Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Others have non-human narrators such as the horse that tells the story in Black Beauty. Some books have multiple intertwined and apparently (for a time) unrelated plot lines. These are far harder to read than books with a single plot line and students need to experience these as well.
Texts which happen on an allegorical or symbolic level. Not reflected in Lexile’s; critical forms of text complexity that students must experience.
Texts written to deliberately resist easy meaning-making by readers. Perhaps half of the poems ever written fall into this category. You have to assemble meaning around nuances, hints, uncertainties and clues