At St. Giles' Catholic Primary, our aim is to instil a passion for reading and a confidence with words - written and spoken - in all our children.
Our Reading Journey
Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
'All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.'
National Curriculum 2014
Making a Strong Start using Read Write Inc.
Right from the beginning of Reception, we use Read Write Inc. Phonics which is a highly successful English programme created by Ruth Miskin. All Reading Teachers at St. Giles' have receive training and support from Ruth Miskin Training, rated Outstanding by the Department for Education, to ensure we meet our aim for all children to become confident and enthusiastic readers.
The Read Write Inc. Phonics programme is carefully matched to the curriculum, giving every child at St. Giles' Catholic Primary the best chance of success.
Reception to Year 2 children are taught using Read Write Inc. Phonics as the main EYFS and KS1 early reading programme but it is also taught as an intervention for children in Years 3 and 4.
In addition to this, Read Write Inc. Fresh Start is a phonics programme with more age appropriate resources for older children which we use as and when required in Years 5 and 6.
Read Write Inc. Progression Grid
Please see the table below for expected progress term-by-term for Read Write Inc. Phonics in EYFS and KS1.
Expected Progress in RWI. Groups
October: know most Set 1 sounds and blend orally (Set 1 B)
December: know Set 1 sounds and read words by blending (Set 1 C)
December: Pink (know Set 2 sounds)
May: Yellow (know Set 3 sounds)
April: RWI Spelling and Comprehension
How can you support your child?
During the academic year, we hold regular parent workshops for early reading. We also have more information on the individual class pages.
Follow the link below to read out parent booklets for more information on RWI Phonics and how you can support your child at home.
For further information and tutorials on how to support your child learning to read from Ruth Miskin, go to: http://www.ruthmiskin.com/en/parents/
English Lessons Using the Power of Reading
At St. Giles' Catholic Primary, we have chosen to introduce the Power of Reading from Reception through to Year 6 as part of our commitment to ensure all our children have the opportunity to engage with a rich range of quality texts so that they develop into engaged and informed readers and writers, who understand the
relationship between reading and writing.
The Power of Reading is about teaching reading and writing through the use of high quality books and creative teaching approaches. Children are immersed into the text through music, art, drama, discussion and role-play. Other approaches include responding to illustrations, ‘Book Talk’, story mapping and book making. Children take ownership of the text and engage with it deeply. It also enables children to deepen their
understanding of texts and provides a meaningful context for writing.
Time is prioritised to focus on developing the writing process with children as they move through the school. The key elements of the writing process are planning, drafting, editing and revising, proofread and then publishing or sharing.
Modelling is a key element in the teaching of the writing process, with teachers using 'think out loud' to guide children through how to craft a piece of writing. By modelling, the expert writer lets less experienced writers in on the big secret … What is going on in the head of a more experienced writer? By modelling, we demonstrate options for planning, strategic problem solving, self-monitoring, reviewing, revising and proofreading. We also show how techniques can be used or applied; we work through challenges and teach good grammar. And we do it all within the context of authentic writing!
At St Giles', we recognise the importance of the relationship between reading and writing because we know that when reading and writing are taught together, the benefits are greater than when they are taught separately.
Reading aloud is a key part of the Power of Reading and also reflects our wider commitment at St Giles' to reading aloud to our children every day.
Reading aloud enables all children to access quality texts but it also enables the teacher to model expressive and fluent reading to the children.
Our guided reading approach is informed by extensive research into comprehension strategy instruction, as recommended by the EEF.
The aims of the sessions are to engage with texts, respond to them, talk about them and developing deeper understanding (comprehension).
Once children have completed RWI Phonics, they take part in daily guided reading sessions.
During the sessions, we focus on developing the key comprehension strategies through careful modelling and supported practice.
The sessions utilise a wide variety of texts and seek to:
- Encourage critical and evaluative thinking through use of open prompts, questions and invitations
- Encourage reference to the text to support their thinking
- Build towards group dialogue
- Encourage personal responses from the children
- Enable children to support their opinions with evidence from the text and to change and adapt their ideas in response to others
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
― Emilie Buchwald
Evidence strongly suggests that parents and the home environment are essential to the early teaching of reading and fostering a love of reading.
Key findings from the evidence include:
• Parental involvement in a child’s literacy has been reported as a more powerful force than other family background variables, such as social class, family size and level of parental education (Flouri and Buchanan, 2004 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006);
• Children whose home experiences promote the view that reading is a source of entertainment are likely to become intrinsically motivated to read (Baker, Serpell and Sonnenschein, 1995 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006);
• Children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued (Baker and Scher, 2002 – cited in Clark and Rumbold, 2006).
Reading Books Coming Home
Access to reading materials at the correct level is vital in setting children up to succeed in reading. Carefully matched reading books will be sent home for your children to read independently or read to you.
They will know all of the sounds used in the text because they match the sounds in the books they are being taught in class. This means they will be able to read the text with fluency and confidence – like a storyteller. They will enjoy reading to someone else or to themselves.
This does not mean the text is too easy for them – it means they are reading at the correct level. We do not send texts home the children cannot read because we always want them to be set up to succeed in their reading.
EYFS and KS1
Read Write Inc. Book Bag Book – This book will be changed on a Wednesday by their group teacher and is matched to your child’s RWI group. Please have this book in school every day.
Colour Banded Book (Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree…) – This book is to share with your child and is an enrichment text designed to widen their reading experience. This book will be changed by their class teacher. Please have this book in school every day.
NB. In addition, your child in EYFS or KS1 may also have a school library book that they have selected.
Once your child has complete the Read Write Inc. Phonics
programme, they will no longer receive a RWI. Book Bag Book to take home. Instead, please see the provision below.
Colour Banded Book (Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree…) – This book is designed to build your child's fluency at an age appropriate level and to broaden their reading experience. This book will be changed by their class teacher. Please have this book in school every day.
School Library Book - This book is to encourage your child to develop their own interest in books and is selected by your child.
Book Bands Overview
Additional free reading e-books: https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/find-a-book/library-page
Our Approach to Spelling
We use Read Write Inc. Spelling for Years 2-6 to meet the demanding spelling requirements of the National Curriculum and to build on the fantastic start our children make with Read Write Inc. Phonics. Reasons why we use this programme:
- Puts the complex requirements of the curriculum into snappy 15-minute lessons
- Makes spelling fun! Aliens from an exciting online spelling planet clearly introduce spelling rules and concepts
- Read Write Inc. Spelling Online includes an Extra Practice Zone including over 1,000 new activity screens for whole-class practice, focusing on the areas children often find challenging. A class login also enables or children to do the practice activities at home: https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/
- Provides plenty of writing practice with a clear record of progress
- The emphasis is on teaching spelling, not simply testing spelling
- Although the teaching of phoneme-grapheme correspondence underpins this programme, it also develops children’s knowledge of word families, how suffixes impact upon root words, and provides mnemonics to remember the trickiest spellings.
- The teaching revolves around instruction (with the help of online alien characters), partner and group practice, and competitive group challenges that help children commit new words to memory.
How are children assessed?
Half-termly practice tests assess children’s spelling progress using the same format as the statutory assessments in England. Online tracking spreadsheets enable us to record and track individual children’s progress and identify units or concepts pupils might need to be retaught.
During the teaching activities each week, a number of assessment opportunities are also planned into the programme. The emphasis is on the importance of learning to spell, rather than being tested on spelling.
Extra Practice Zone
This booklet shows you how you can help your child practise and consolidate their spelling by using the Extra Practice Zone.
Our Approach to Handwriting
There are regular timetabled slots for handwriting to ensure that children build up their handwriting skills every day. We make the physical process of writing – handwriting – enjoyable from the start, so children see themselves as ‘writers’. We use mnemonics – memory pictures – to help children visualise the letter or join before they write it down. Children need to practise handwriting under the guidance of a teacher so they do not develop habits that will be difficult to undo later so we make sure that handwriting is always a guided activity.
We link handwriting to our Read Write Inc. Phonics in KS1 and there are three handwriting stages.
These lessons are taught while children read the Red, Green, Purple, Pink and Orange Storybooks.
Stage 1a: Children practise correct letter formation.
Stage 1b: Children learn where to place the letters on the writing line.
These lessons are taught while children read the Yellow, Blue and Grey Storybooks. At this stage, children learn a mature style of writing that will lead to joined-up writing.
These lessons are also taught while children read the Yellow, Blue and Grey Storybooks. At this stage, children learn the two basic joins: the arm join (diagonal) and the washing line join (horizontal) and the two variables for each join.
There are also memorable phrases that support the children to develop correct letter formation:
Celebrating English at St Giles' Catholic Primary School
A selection of some of the English opportunities beyond the classroom.
Classic Literature Coming Alive - The Railway Children theatre production came to visit. The whole school watched the production and then KS2 had a special workshop.
World Book Day in Style - Celebrating our love of reading together through book quizzes, competition and sharing our favourite books across the key stages.
Meet the Poet and Author - Alan Durant, who writes stories for children of all ages – from toddlers to teenagers and poetry for children and adults, came for the day to inspire our classes from Reception to Year 6 with performances and workshops.
The Magic of Live Theatre - KS2 visiting the Regent Theatre to be spellbound by the magical adaptation of the classic novel: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. They have also had the pleasure of watching The Prince and the Pauper come alive before their eyes.