St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Live, Love, Believe

Reading at St Mary's!

How often do children read?


Children at St Marys have the opportunity to read in almost every lesson. English lessons are driven by high quality texts, alongside reading skills lessons 3 times a week. These lessons focus specifically on the 6 core reading skills of Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve and Sequnce/Summarise (VIPERS). 


The children will also bring home phonic decodable books weekly.  These are for the children to practice the learning that they have been taught in class.  These books should enable the children to be able to read confidently with you and feel successful in doing so.  This supports children in feeling that they are good at reading which is a really positive support to reading for pleasure.  Additionally another book will come home that is the 'reading with' book. We want children to develop that love of reading and the more they see the adults around them reading and enjoying books and sharing this experience, they more they will grow to love learning!  Another purpose of this book is for your child to have someone read to them which helps them to develop an understanding of tone, flow and fluency.


What do children learn in reading in EYFS?


  • Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs
  • Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending
  • Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words. 
  • As guided by the adults, make simple predictions and explanations about a given book. 


What do children learn in reading lessons in KS1?


  • Draw upon their knowledge of vocabulary to answer questions.
  • Use their phonic knowledge to blend and segment words.
  • Be able to identify key aspects of fiction and nonfiction.
  • Be able to identify and explain the sequence of events in texts
  • Make inferences from the text
  • Predict what might happen based on the text so far.


What do children learn in reading lessons in KS2?


  • Give and explain the meaning of words in context
  • Retrieve and record information
  • Summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph
  • Make inferences from texts
  • Predict what might happen based on information that is stated or implied
  • Identify how content contributes to meaning as a whole.
  • Explain how meaning is enhanced through the choice of words and phrases
  • Make comparisons within the text.
  • Make comparisons between different books, other forms of writing and other things that they have read.
  • Compare and contrast different viewpoints within given texts.
  • Reflect on what they have read and how they can relate to the genre/character/event. 


How do we teach these skills?

At St Marys, the weekly reading learning for each class will be focussed on a specific reading skill from the VIPERS structure, with a priority given to any that the children are struggling to understand. This is to ensure all children build on prior knowledge and become secure in all reading skills throughout the year. Teachers use assessment data to adapt planning to best meet the needs of the children. 


We use a wide range of stimuli for our reading journeys to include non-fiction, poetry, fiction (including classic texts), song lyrics, picture books and even media prompts in order to ensure that the children are receiving an engaging, broad and balanced reading diet. We make strong links to writing by using the same or simialr high-quality texts for reading skills lessons so that children will be able to transfer their reading skills into their writing lessons to enhance their written outcomes. 


Our reading model follows the VIPERS approach, where the teacher chooses one or more reading skill to focus on for the lesson. The text driver that the class are reading as a stimulus for their writing is used as a focus for the chosen reading skill, where the teacher will make links to either what has already been read in order to retrieve, explain or summarise or provide a new section of the text for children to practice inference, prediction or word retrieval/ vocabualry understanding.  


How do we support/challenge children in reading?


We firmly believe that all children should be accessing the same book and be involved in the same reading journey as their peers. Teachers support or challenge pupils through their questioning and ensure that the cognitive demand of their questions are at an appropriate level of challenge for the children.


How do we develop children's reading fluency?


  • Once children are proficient in decoding, children then begin developing their level of fluency. The class teacher will assess their class across many different elements of reading fluency.
  • Teachers will skilfully plan intervention for any children that need additional support with reading fluency with extra 1:1 or small group work throughout the week.
  • Children are expected to read at least three times a week at home and records are kept and used to identify those children who are not practising their fluency skills on an appropriate text.
  • Children are benchmarked so that they are able to take a book home that is an appropriate level (and matches their phonic ability in KS1) for them to develop their reading fluency.


How do we promote a love of reading?


  • All of our classrooms are full of age appropriate, quality texts.
  • At the end of each day, every class enjoys a fifteen minute reading session. The adult in the classroom reads aloud to the children, who just have to sit and enjoy listening. There is very little questioning, or clarifying in these sessions so as not to disrupt the flow of the story.


How to we ensure that children leave St Marys knowing more words than they arrived with?


  • Children read over 200 books during their time at St Marys and all of them are filled with rich age appropriate language.
  • Our curriculum has key vocabulary which we expect the children to know by the end of their learning journeys and teachers have to plan specifically for.
  • Within our reading sessions, teachers plan and pre-clarify words that they feel their class may be unfamiliar with.
  • Key vocabulary is on display so that children are exposed to it on a daily basis.
  • Teachers promote oracy within the classroom and use a variety of teaching strategies that give children the opportunities to use new vocabulary in discussion with their classmates.


How do we support those children who find reading more difficult?


We understand that some children find reading harder than others. We are constantly assessing what our children can do and what they find difficult. Our Head of School, SENCo and English lead will meet with class teachers each half term through pupil progress meetings and target children will be discussed and planned for in terms of specific intervention. Children may be provided with:

  • Extra support in the classroom
  • Work that is set out differently to help them to access it.
  • Extra group work additional to what they are already receiving.
  • Targeted phonics work to help them develop their decoding skills.
  • Parental meetings so that they can be even further involved in developing their child's reading.


Why have we chosen our texts?

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and our spine of core texts has been carefully designed so that our children experience a range of different authors, genres, cultures and obtain an understanidng of difference. We have carefully chosen thought provoking books that will challenge and support our pupils view on stereotypes, cultural differnece and disability. 


We have also deliberatley planned 'golden threads' throughout our reading curriculum so that every year, our children gain a deeper understanidng of key themes through a range of different texts based on those themes. 


Our current themes are:

  • Journeys
  • Environment and human impact
  • Significant people who have changed the world
  • Belonging
  • Moral purpose


As a thrive school, we have chosen these themes in order for our pupils to make strong links with their place in the world and how they have an impact: on the world and on others. These themes also link to the Catholic ethos of the school and provides the opportunities for all pupils to live the way God would want them to and to develop as responsbile, global citizens. 


We have selected from the very best classic and modern texts, fiction and non-fiction to build a progression of texts to inspire and engage our children so they can express our school mission of Live, Love and Believe within their learning.  All of the books have also been chosen for the language they will introduce to the children.


Widening the children’s horizon’s with a love of reading


Being on an island is an amazing place to live, but also brgins with it some limitations. Due to family and financial circumstances, some children might not have the opportunity to leave the island but we want to inspire them to explore the rest of the country and the wider world.  Therefore, we have chosen texts such as the Journey for Year 1, The Great Explorer in Year 2, Kensuke’s Kingdom for Year 4 and Year Shackleton’s Journey for Year 5 in order for our children to open their minds to other places and experiences. 


We have also worked hard to included a range of books around different cultures as we have so many wonderful families that can share their cultures and traditions and we want them to feel part of our curriculum and celebrate their families and History.  Some of the books that we study include ‘Great women who changed the word' and 'Little People, Big Dreams - Mary Seacole' in Year 2, ‘Young, Black and Gifted’ in Year 4, ‘For the Right to Learn’ in Year 5 and ‘The Windrush Child’ in Year 6. 


We have chosen a range of texts from classic authors as well as more recent stars of the literary world.  Authors such as Julia Donaldson, Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo and even Shakespeare are featured as classic authors alongside more recent authors such as Benjamin Zephaniah and Louis Sachar.  We have also chosen texts to build the children’s understanding of key issues such as the rule of law and being good, moral citizens. Books such as Holes which is studied in Year 6 and We are Here in Year 2 help to shape the children’s understanding of rules.   


With a number of our children on the SEN register or living with family members with medical cnditions that affect their quality of life, we also have chosen books such as ‘Wonder’ and ‘Goldfish boy’ which not only helps to develop the children’s tolerance and understanding of others but helps some of the children, such as those with neurodiversity or mental health issues, to know that there are many more children like them.


Books to support the children in believing they can!


As being passionate and member of God's kingdom is key to our whole ethos, it is essential that we have chosen books that would inspire the children to also be passionate and live in a way which means their choices benefit society as a whole.  Texts such as ‘Somebody swallowed Stanley’ in EYFS, ‘Tidy’ and ‘Tin Forest’ in Year 2 'belonging' in Year 3 and 'refugees and migrants' in Year 6, all give the children a topic to be passionate about and books of inspirational leaders such as Shackleton, Amelia Earhart and Malala give the children examples of people who have gone on to achieve great things.