It is our intention that all children will be fluent and confident readers who choose to read for pleasure. A love of books and an enthusiasm for reading are precious and important at St. Mary’s. Staff understand that there is a correlation between children who read for pleasure and life success (socio-economic background should not be a barrier). Phonics is emphasised in the early stages of reading as staff are aware of the importance of being able to decode with automaticity.
Secure Phonics knowledge should also go hand in hand with effective modelling of comprehension skills. Children at St. Mary’s are exposed to a variety of genre through shared reading and whole class reading during English lessons and reading across the curriculum.
We use the acronym VIPERS to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum.
With the help of the PTA and a tremendous effort from the whole school community we recently bought a London bus and transformed it into our school library. Each class is now able to visit the bus once a week and borrow a book from our extensive range.
At St. Mary's a love of books and the development of lifelong readers who choose to read for pleasure is at the heart of what we do. Synthetic phonics teaching opportunities are embedded within the context of real books in StoryTime Phonics.
From LEYs until the end of Year Two children have a daily phonics lesson. In Nursery children are taught Phase One, teaching our youngest children important basic elements such as oral segmenting and blending of familiar words. During lessons in EYs and KS1 previous phonemes are revised, new phonemes are introduced and then children apply their new learning. Common exception words are also explicitly taught. Those children who still need support with reading or children who are new to the school/language also have ‘Phonics Booster’ classes.
Children have a range of opportunities to develop their phonics skills in class throughout the curriculum. Speaking, listening, reading and writing activities are developed which allow them to explore and practice their phonic knowledge and their blending and segmenting skills independently.
Click here for free Letters and Sounds resources
Click here for Mr T's Phonics You Tube videos to help you practice your phonics at home!
At St. Mary's we use Focus Education schemes. Each scheme is based on the use of high-quality text which provides the driver for the unit. Across each year group, texts from classic to current authors have been selected to ensure that pupils experience a wide and rich reading curriculum to promote a life-long love of reading. Similarly, a range of poetry is fully integrated.
Each unit is broadly 6 weeks with flexibility built in to extend, adapt activities or introduce alternative activities based on rigorous on-going assessment. Outcomes and objectives are clearly identified, and activities planned to ensure that they are based on the year group learning. Grammar and vocabulary work is taught purposefully, in context, so children achieve a greater understanding.
Along with the focus on grammar and vocabulary development to ensure effective and accurate writing, the high-quality texts provide models and scaffolds so that children are enabled to make independent choices about how they write and the effect they wish to create. Pupils are given time to write, evaluate, redraft and proof-read their extended pieces of writing using given prompts appropriate to their needs. This is often done alongside teacher and peer support.
Useful Links for Parents
Click here for the Primary English National Curriculum