Why do we teach what we teach? (Our intent)
At St Mary’s, we want all our pupils to leave Year 6 with a passion for reading; we want them to read fluently and with confidence, in any subject, ready for their forthcoming secondary education and beyond. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. In addition, reading feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds, allowing children to think ‘outside of the box’ and to have a thirst for knowledge, ready to take up the challenge of innovation and creativity that today’s technologically savvy society may present them with. We want our pupils to have the skills to allow them to be problem solvers and change makers.
How do we teach it? (Our implementation)
- In Year R to Year 2, and for those children joining the school later in their learning journey, pupils receive daily phonics lessons based on the Read, Write Inc. programme. This phonic development program builds on pupils’ knowledge to ensure they are able to read with greater fluency and understanding.
- From Year R to Year 6, the speedy recognition of familiar printed words and the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding), as well as the strategies for comprehending a text are explicitly taught through a daily mix of whole class and small group guided reading sessions. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts that have been mapped against each year group. Comprehension activities are designed to help children to infer, summarise, question, clarify, predict and argue a point of view, based on evidence from the text. The children also make connections between texts and their own experiences. We use higher order questioning to ensure pupils reach age-related expectations, and beyond, and that they are well challenged.
- To establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum, each year group has a core set of carefully selected texts that can be used as a springboard for writing.
- All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live by completing ‘reading passports’ that identify year group specific genres that children should have read books from by the end of each academic year.
- To further consolidate pupils’ comprehension skills, across Year 1-Year 6 we use the My Rising Star online reading comprehension platform in lessons at school, as well as to set reading comprehension homework.
What is the difference that this makes? (Our impact)
St Mary’s pupils have an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and can confidently read age appropriate texts, reading ‘like a story-teller’ with fluency and expression, discussing many aspects of the book in order to answer comprehension questions verbally. Pupils’ value books as a source of pleasure and enjoyment as well as for information, and are clear about where and how to locate information; their written work is detailed and engaging because of high quality research. Children leave St Mary’s ready for life at secondary school.