At Corpus Christi School, reading is at the heart of everything we do. We aspire to develop fluency and confidence in reading and furthermore to instil a genuine love of books that lasts a lifetime. Our pupils are equipped with a range of strategies for decoding texts, to encourage fluency as well as independence while reading. Through developing these strategies, our long term aim is to enable children to read for meaning and understanding, as well as for pleasure. We expose children to a broad repertoire of genres that incorporate a variety of contexts, cultures and traditions.
We embed our vision for reading by implementing a holistic approach that incorporates our school and the wider community. Reading is taught discretely on a daily basis within school, while every opportunity is also utilised to actively encourage engagement with a variety of texts outside of the classroom. This is achieved through a number of initiatives and programmes. Reading plays an integral role in delivering enriching and engaging topics across the curriculum and is widely celebrated in our reading-rich school environment.
EYFS – Nursery & Reception
Children begin their reading journey using Read Write Inc. This daily phonics programme teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step, enabling them to read quickly and skilfully. They are taught how to recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes and identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make. Children can then use this knowledge to ‘decode’ new words that they hear or see. This is the first important step in learning to read.
Children connect sounds with mnemonic pictures; words with their meanings; and stories with the sounds they know. They connect their own experiences to the stories they read and learn to lift the words off the page. They learn one thing at a time and practise it until it becomes second nature. Interactive practice keeps children focused, and their capacity to learn develops exponentially. Phonics groups remain fluid in order to ensure maximum progression for every child. Children hear, share and discuss a wide range of high-quality books to develop a love of reading and broaden their vocabulary.
Key Stage 1 – Year 1 and Year 2
As children progress from EYFS into Year 1, the phonics strategies they have acquired are used as the core foundation upon which reading is developed. Pupils build on the skills that they have acquired in the early years and progress through the more complex sounds and letter patterns. Additionally, the children participate in regular engaging story sessions, where they have the opportunity to experience and explore the wonder and excitement of books. Children can ask and answer questions, share their opinions and ideas, develop their vocabulary and broaden their understanding of texts. Children read regularly with an adult, where they have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding, through targeted questions and discussion. Children are expected to read to an adult at home for a minimum of 20 minutes on a regular basis.
Year 2 children partake in discrete reading lessons, where they develop their fluency and comprehension and ability to retrieve information and infer knowledge from the text.
Key Stage 2 – Year 3, 4, 5 and 6
Pupils in KS2 will have the opportunity to read on a one-to-one basis with an adult in school and are expected to read regularly to an adult at home.
Children participate in daily, discrete reading lessons similar to those in Key Stage 1. At this stage, they will focus on developing a deeper understanding of texts, will further advance their skills of inference and continue to broaden their vocabulary.
Pupils are able to explore high-quality texts in real depth, building their vocabulary and understanding of language, as well as their analytical skills. Teachers are able to steer the learners to investigate elements of the text on a more sophisticated level, and demonstrate effective reading strategies that will enhance their level of comprehension.
Reading at Home
At Corpus Christi, we actively encourage children to further their learning journeys at home. When children read with their families, a common interest and connection is made that establishes a nurturing environment in which children can flourish. Simultaneously, children will have the opportunity to rehearse their reading strategies and share a growing love of learning with their families.
Children will take books home to read and we also encourage the use of MyOn to broaden their horizons through an extensive range of electronic books and quizzes. This also allows children to analytically evaluate the quality of a text by leaving a review of each book they read. This simple method is helping children discover their favourite author, theme or genre.
Although MyOn is available to all children from Reception to Year 6, children in EYFS also take home books to develop their decoding skills and foster a love of reading.
As children enter Key Stage 1, they complete a Star Reading test that helps us to assess their current reading age and ability. This allows us to pinpoint an appropriate book level, that will be both challenging and enjoyable, known as the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Children are also directed to books that consolidate their phonics skills, especially those that they are currently learning.
Children within Key Stage 2 follow a very similar approach, using Accelerated Reader, completing a Star Reading test once a term to establish an accurate reading age and book level. Once children have finished reading their book, they are asked to complete a quiz which assesses how well they have understood the text. This allows us to address any issues immediately and spot early patterns that may require extra support or even further challenge.
Reading for Pleasure
Reading is very much at the heart of all we do in school and we strive to encourage children to read for pleasure and not just to retrieve information. We aim to foster a love of reading through our creative learning environments and reading areas in classrooms. By igniting children’s imaginations and enticing their curiosity, we hope to instil in them a desire to not only finish a book, but to find another. Through MyOn, children have thousands of books at their disposal and are exposed to many genres, themes and authors, enabling them to find their own path on their reading journey.
Each year, children are actively encouraged to join all of the staff at Corpus Christi, in dressing up as their favourite book character. We have most certainly seen some remarkable efforts in recent years. Children have also had the fantastic opportunity to welcome their parents into the classroom and work together in a range of reading activities to strengthen the connection between their learning in school and their reading at home.
Our aim, through the teaching and learning of reading at Corpus Christi, is that children not only derive pleasure from books in school but also make reading a part of their life. We aim to develop an ideology, that reading is a vital skill that can connect you to a world of knowledge across all subjects and open doors to opportunities that were once out of reach.
Through the strategies and approaches outlined, the impact of teaching will see pupils accurately decode words and read with fluency, intonation and expression. When faced with new or challenging vocabulary, they will be equipped with a range of strategies at their disposal, to read words in context and understand their meaning. This will in turn, improve the confidence of children to read and speak aloud, allowing them to participate in and lead discussions, sharing their own opinions with a greater appreciation of a far reaching range of topics.
We want children to experience a range of genres, themes, authors, and make informed decisions about the books they choose, based on their own unique reading journeys.
Although we want children to read for pleasure, they will develop and hone a host of strategies that will allow them to use reading as a source of knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.
As children continue their journey at Corpus Christi, they will progress through book levels and through the development of their reading skills, opening up a greater range of books available to them. The skills, vocabulary and writing styles learned through reading, will be applied to their own work in school.
Here at Corpus Christi, we regard books as gifts that can be enjoyed a limitless number of times. We view reading as one of the best constructive habits that anyone can have and something that has a huge positive impact in almost every aspect of our lives.