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Rationale for the teaching of Reading


We believe at St Anne’s that Reading is one of the most important skills in life-long learning, as it develops our knowledge and understanding of the world while opening our eyes to the vast number of cultures, lifestyles and opportunities that are around us. Additionally, reading gives us a chance to be still and mindful, a chance to relax and a time to unwind in our busy and challenging world.


All staff work diligently to encourage and inspire children in reading. They do this by modelling good reading skills and showing interest in a range of text topics and types. Children are encouraged to ask questions and be curious about books and authors. Not only are children taught the vital skills needed to comprehend and respond to a text, they also gain positive experiences from the reading culture that is embraced within the school community.


Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development and understanding


An ability to read and access books is fundamental to a child’s development in each of these areas. Through books, children are given the opportunity to explore a variety of social scenarios and build empathy with the characters that are experiencing these situations, building their own opinions and understanding of what is morally right and wrong. By carefully providing a wide range of text types and genres, children can be part of societies and cultures that they may otherwise never have the opportunity to learn about in their own lives. Through Guided Reading and whole class Shared Reading, children can discuss and debate with their peers, a huge array of issues and dilemma that they may come to experience as they get older.


We believe that building a love of reading provides our children with a resource that gives them chance to relax, unwind and reflect. It is a way of offering time for spiritual reflection and wellbeing as they take pleasure and fulfilment in the literary techniques of authors in their stories and poems.


How we teach and learn Reading at St Anne’s


Phonics and Spelling


Reading is taught through a synthetic approach to phonics as well as regular reading of texts. Teachers plan engaging lessons that are underpinned by the National Curriculum. In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and key stage 1, a daily phonics session is delivered through the ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ scheme and opportunities to practice these taught skills are planned into the rest of the day’s activities where appropriate. In Term 6 of Year 1, children’s phonics knowledge is tested through the phonics screening check. Any assessment and tracking information is then used to inform planning. In key stage 2, the children build on their phonic knowledge by applying them to spelling rules using the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme as well as continuing to revise the phonic patterns learnt in key stage 1. Phonic intervention groups and extra support is given as required.


To apply the phonics practice from the daily sessions, a phonics practice session is run daily in EYFS and key stage 1 where all children work in a group with teacher once each week to practice applying their phonics into reading.


Guided Reading


Teachers plan daily whole class Guided Reading sessions, which follow a clear and defined structure using the VIPERS (Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence or Summarise ) reading skills. Our recommended teaching sequence is:


Monday- Vocabulary session


Tuesday- Prediction and Summarising session


Wednesday – Inference session


Thursday- Retrieval and comprehension practice


Friday – Explanation and review of taught skills and reinforcement.


As part of these whole class sessions, teachers will work with small groups of children during the independent task and individual children are identified through assessments of their needs. In EYFS, teachers encourage all children to respond to the VIPERS focus questions throughout the week, responses are recorded to form an overall assessment. In key stage 1, one to one reading conferences form part of the guided reading and assessment process.


Children will record a piece of work in their Guided Reading books at least two times each week in key stage 1 and at least three times each week in key stage 2.


The key skills developed during Guided Reading sessions are reinforced in other subjects during the day. Planned opportunities to read are provided, which help to promote the importance of reading in the wider curriculum. Additionally, at a timetabled point in the afternoon, children will listen to a class story read by the teacher, which models excellent oral and reading skills.


The children are provided with a wide variety of opportunities to read aloud with the correct intonation and awareness of audience. This begins in Early Years through the Communication and Language area of learning with children having the opportunity to develop intonation, rhythm and rhyme. Talk for Writing is an approach used to link reading and writing skills and lays the foundations for further National Curriculum study. In key stage 1 and 2, drama activities, discussion and debate may spring from a particular text allowing the children the chance to practice their intonation, tone and volume while demonstrating an awareness of audience.


By linking texts with our Creative Curriculum, children experience reading for purpose and use this as a further opportunity to develop their love of reading. In all educational visits, reading skills are applied as part of the day. This may include reading signs, leaflets, information pages and looking at the website prior to or after the visit.


How we celebrate our learning


Assessment of children’s learning is carried out through the use of a variety of ongoing and more cumulative assessment strategies. Within EYFS, observation notes and discussion points will make a good portion of teacher assessment. Children are individually read with throughout each week and are expected to be reading at home with an adult as well. Throughout key stage One and Two, there is an increasing amount of evidence for assessment in Guided Reading Books. Children are assessed at the end of each lesson against the learning objective and success criteria. Each child is able to see how they are getting on based on the highlighted objective in their book. The colour they receive will indicate whether they have met the objective or are still working towards it.


The Age Related Expectations are used to assess each child’s progress and attainment in writing four times a year.  To ensure a consistent approach to assessing standards, Reading Leads from the Phoenix Hub meet throughout the school year to share ideas, planning documents, assessment strategies, etc.  Additionally, assessment results are entered onto SIMS to track progress across the school.


Throughout each school year, there are many opportunities to share learning within the curriculum area of reading. Each autumn, we hold a whole school Book Week. This week includes a variety of activities to inspire and engage the children in both reading for pleasure and reading to learn/inform. Some of the events throughout this week include


  • Whole school assembly to kick start the week
  • Buddy reading with other classes
  • Book at Bedtime – children return to school in their pyjamas to hear stories in different classrooms
  • Themed costume days
  • Stop, drop and read
  • Reading quizzes and competitions


At St Anne’s we always actively participate in the celebration of World Book Day with activities, competitions, costumes and reading-inspired learning throughout the day.


Each term, St Anne’s children are invited to take part in a Reading Challenge within their key stage. These challenges can be achieved by reading a certain amount of times each week or reading certain text types. The details of these challenges are shared through assemblies, the school website and school newsletters. Children’s progress within these challenges is tracked by class teachers and children are awarded a prize after achieving the challenge goal at the end of each term.


Furthermore, reading is promoted through the whole school use of our current library (redesigned and reopened in Autumn 2019), where children can enjoy small group activities and reading in a different environment than just the classroom. There are also opportunities to use the outdoor space around St Anne’s for reading activities through the use of the Sensory Garden, Forest Schools area and the Story chair.