The Teaching of Reading @ St. Teresa’s
The Importance of Reading
At St. Teresa’s we believe reading to be one of the most crucial skills in life and a critical part of a child’s education. It is essential for children to be able to access the whole curriculum and will lead to a full education. Reading allows children to improve their language skills by expanding their vocabulary, supporting their use of language structure, and developing their understanding of grammar. Learning to read develops the brain, heightens creativity, develops imagination, and builds self-confidence. As well as ensuring academic success learning to read opens a whole new world for children providing a lifetime of pleasure and enjoyment.
The Reading Learning Journey
From Reception to Year 6 children will be taken on a reading journey, learning all the skills and strategies required along the way. At every stage children will be encouraged to enjoy books, share stories, and gain pleasure from reading.
The journey begins in Reception and Year 1 with a heavy emphasis on phonics and the teaching of common high frequency words.
In Year 2 the focus moves on to developing fluency, comprehension, and inference.
In Year 3 and 4 children begin to develop their reading stamina and are encouraged to read a range of text type, such as stories, poetry, comics, newspapers, and information books. At this time children may begin to move from reading aloud to reading independently.
In Year 5 and 6 children will become proficient readers with a good knowledge of different text types, authors, and poets. They will show a deeper understanding of what they read and will be encouraged to make preferences and explain their choices.
At every age range children have access to a wide selection of independent reading books which are colour-banded and finely levelled. This ensures that books gradually progress in complexity of concepts, language structure, grammar and vocabulary. Children are assessed regularly and moved through the levels by staff.
Once a child has reached the expected level for that particular year group they will then become a 'Rainbow Reader' for the rest of that year. They will then have access to a variety of age-appropriate non-levelled books by real authors. This ensures that children are reading broadly and widely whilst developing their understanding.
Reading at Home
Research shows that children who are read to at home and those who practice reading at home go on to become successful readers. It is therefore essential that parents allow children time to practice reading for a short while every day. Once children prefer to read silently it is still necessary for parents to discuss their child’s reading, ask questions and ensure understanding. All children will be provided with books and a reading journal which will be sent home daily. We require parents to hear their child read and sign in the journal at least five times a week.
To support all children in developing a love of reading our school library holds many high quality books which children are allowed to borrow.
The Teaching of Phonics at St. Teresa’s
Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.
Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.
Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.
Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.
We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.
Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.