At St Michael’s CE Primary, we believe reading is a crucial life skill and have a strong focus on language development for our children. Our intention is that all our children become fluent readers. We teach early reading and phonics using Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme, and Destination Reader in Key Stage 2. By the time children leave us, we want all our children to read confidently for meaning and enjoy reading for pleasure. Through our structured approach, we ensure our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary and see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.
Reading at home
Although your child will be taught to read at school, you can have a huge impact on their reading journey by continuing this practice at home. There are two types of reading book that your child may bring home:
- A reading practice book. This will be at the correct phonic and reading level for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.
- A sharing book. Your child may not be able to read this on their own. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.
Reading practice book
This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading.
Listen to them read the book and afterwards talk about the book together. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success!
In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together.
Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!
Phonics and early reading
Please see the Little Wandle website and the Everybody Read Leaflet below for more support and advice.
Please take a look at the documents below for some useful information
Policy and Phonics Progression
Reading in Key Stage 2
How we teach reading
We promote enjoyment through the creative use of high-quality texts and a range of engaging activities linked to these that allow the children to apply skills and knowledge. Teachers aim to be reading role models in the way that they discuss and promote books as well as modelling reading for pleasure. They make careful selections both in the texts that they choose to use in the teaching of English and in those that they read aloud to pupils. Children are read to daily in a variety of contexts. Children are given opportunities to expand their vocabulary and are encouraged to apply this across the curriculum. Texts are central to the curriculum at St Michael’s and we base our Learning Journeys around these. Links are then made to other areas of the curriculum to further embed knowledge from the foundation subject curriculum within reading lessons.
Once children are able to read fluently, they are taught reading through Destination Reader. During Destination Reader, children are taught a range of reading skills including: predicting, making connections, asking questions, evaluating, inferring, summarising and clarifying. During these lessons reading fluency and skills are modelled to the children by the teacher and the children are then encouraged to apply these skills to a class focus text themselves. Children are encouraged to engage in rich discussions about their class texts with their peers and verbalise their ideas about texts. Children then focus on reading their class text in pairs while also practising their focussed skill for the session. Once completed, the children complete a short-written tasks applying the skill taught during the lesson. All children take part during the lesson and access the teaching of the skill. Those children whose reading age is below that of the focus text read their banded book during the main part of the session but continue to apply the skill taught. This enables the children to access the first quality teaching of the teacher and apply the skill at their own level. Focus texts are then often used during English lessons to base writing texts around to further apply knowledge and skills.
We continue to use a banded book programme for our Key Stage 2 pupils which ensures that each child is adequately supported and challenged at their appropriate level and allows them access to a wide range of genres and themes of books exposing them to various authors and writing styles reflecting our drive to broaden their horizons, experiences and aspirations. Each year children are also provided with a list of recommended reads for their year groups for which some of the books on the list the children are able to access from their class libraries. All pupils have opportunities for differentiated shared reading and independent reading throughout the school day alongside working together in guided groups or as a whole class on detailed explorations of whole books during Destination Reader.
Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum at St Michael’s. By the end of Year Six we intend our children to have developed a love of writing and to be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word. We also intend to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing, and enable pupils to be able to confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling. At St Michael’s, we set high expectations for all our children to take pride in their work and have a fluent, cursive handwriting style alongside allowing their imaginations to flourish.
We aim for all of our children to be able to write independently in a variety of genres and for a range of purposes with fluency, accuracy and enjoyment drawing on examples from the quality texts that they are exposed to during English and reading lessons. We believe children should understand from an early age that their writing needs to be accurate, legible and set out in an appropriate way. We aim for our children to become confident, accomplished writers. We acknowledge the role that discussion and oral rehearsal plays in our understanding of the written word as well as the importance of teacher modelling of the writing process. Both of these aspects form an integral part of our teaching of writing implemented across the whole school. In this approach, children listen to and retell a variety of genres; learning some off by heart using actions. This helps them to internalise language patterns and learn new vocabulary giving them the confidence and tools to write themselves. Children first imitate, then innovate and finally invent their own version of a text. From early on in their learning journey, children explore a range of genres, see adults writing and experiment themselves through mark marking, symbols and conventional script. Though oral rehearsal, children learn to communicate meaning in narrative and non-fiction texts and spell and punctuate correctly.
As they move through the school, children develop an understanding that writing is essential to thinking and learning but also enjoyable in its own right. They learn the main rules and conventions of written English and start to explore how the English language can be used to express meaning in different ways. Powerful teaching techniques such as shared and guided writing mean children are exposed to high quality demonstration, exploration and discussion of the choices writers make. Children use the planning, drafting and editing process to improve their work and alongside effective feedback and marking, are encouraged to become reflective, resilient learners.
We strongly believe in giving children first hand experiences to draw on information and emotions to enhance their learning. We also feel that, wherever possible, children should write for a purpose and take pride in their learning; therefore, we provide many opportunities for children to share their writing with the intended audience and to exhibit their work with the rest of our school community via prominent school displays. Each term, children complete pieces of writing linked to their focus text, which allows them apply some of their knowledge and understanding from other subjects such as Geography, History and Science. Wherever possible, children are also encouraged to apply their writing skills across the curriculum.
We believe children require a secure understanding of spelling, punctuation and grammar to develop a true understanding of English and to be successful, so these concepts are taught discretely within English lessons in engaging ways through our spelling and grammar scheme. Through careful planning, teachers introduce new concepts in relation to the genre that the children are currently studying. We also feel that children should be able to write with ease, speed and legibility so follow a consistent approach across the school to the teaching of handwriting to achieve this.