‘Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. As by the one, health is preserved, strengthened
and invigorated; by the other, health of the mind is kept alive, cherished and confirmed’
- Joseph Addison
At St Mary Magdalene CE Primary School, we passionately believe that learning to read and enjoy reading are fundamental rights in all children’s lives. We firmly believe that it is our moral duty that those children in our care are taught how to read and how to understand what they have read, linking it to their own lives and experiences. Studies have shown that children who read well achieve more, do better in all subjects, experience better wellbeing and succeed more in life beyond school. At Mary Mags we strive to teach all children to become confident, fluent readers who are comfortable in their ability to read to learn and want to read for pleasure.
Reading has a high profile at Mary Mags: children love to read and share book suggestions with each other and their teachers as a regular part of our daily routines. Through our carefully constructed reading curriculum, we aim to introduce children to a wealth of traditional and contemporary children’s literature throughout their reading journey at Mary Mags spanning high-quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Additionally, our reading curriculum has been specifically designed so children are exposed to a diverse spectrum of authors, characters, settings, religions and cultures.
As soon as the children join us in Nursery, they are exposed to a wide range of Phase One phonic activities that focus on general sound discrimination, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral blending and segmenting. This prepares them for the next stage of the phonics journey. In Reception and Key Stage 1 we follow the GES Simply Letters and Sounds synthetic systematic phonics programme with daily phonics sessions enabling children to learn quickly, building on and consolidating prior knowledge day-by-day. We provide daily ‘keep up’ sessions for children who have found that day’s learning tricky. In the early stages of learning to read, children take home fully decodable reading books that are carefully matched to their phonic knowledge and mirror their progression through the scheme.
It is important that multiple opportunities are provided for children to apply their phonics knowledge and skills in a language-rich environment. For this reason, children in Reception and Year 1 are organised into guided reading groups so they can practice reading a ‘decodable’ book or text with the support of an adult and peers. We select text from the decodable Bug Club Phonics books that best match the grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCs) that the group knows, and take into account the children’s ability to blend the sounds in unfamiliar words. Re-readings take place to increase the number of words that children can read ‘at a glance’, and to discuss the plot, characters and their motives.
From Year 2 to Year 6, guided reading sessions are with the whole class using the same text. Whole class texts have been specifically selected for each year group and term as they link to the wider curriculum of that year group.
In all classes, children practice their reading comprehension skills using VIPERS. This is an acronym for Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise/sequence which form the core reading skills of the National Curriculum.
Reading for Pleasure
Every class teacher reads daily to their class from a set of books specially selected for quality, diversity and inclusion. The class book is also displayed in a prominent place in the class library to encourage the children to engage with it.
Class libraries are well stocked, clearly organized and children are able to choose books to take home from the class library as well as our bespoke Library Bus in the school playground to read for pleasure. Every class in the school has a timetabled session in our Library Bus; this is a special part of the week that children look forward to as they are able to grab an exciting book that particularly interests them and curl up in a comfortable space and get lost in their reading.
Support for our Pupils with SEND
Reading interventions for our pupils with SEND come in the form of regular extra phonics sessions that are bespoke to the individual child. In addition, ‘Reading folder’ interventions have been developed to provide children with additional opportunities to read 1:1 with an adult in school in order to support their consolidation of skills and increased fluency in reading.
All classrooms have a comfortable and inviting book area where promoting books and reading is very much at the forefront. Books are easily accessible for children, as well as being organised using our Library Bus system. Teacher and pupil recommendations are clearly displayed to promote their love for particular books to widen the range of books that pupils read. In the wider classroom, books are clearly displayed to link to curriculum areas.
As a parent of the school, you have access to Sooper Books - an award-winning digital story and audiobook platform. You and your child can read or listen to hundreds of stories including original series and rhymes as well as modern remakes of classic fairy tales and fables. Sooper Books has kindly donated all of their award-winning stories and audiobooks to our school.