“Our curriculum promotes social mobility;
we give our children the roots to grow and the wings to fly.”
Reading at St George’s
At St George’s, reading happens all the time; it is at the very heart of our curriculum. We are committed to promoting a love for reading and not only giving children opportunities to read in English lessons, but in the wider curriculum too. All classes have daily reading sessions because we want all of our children to be able to read, and to enjoy and engage in reading in a purposeful way. On 6th September 2023, we were delighted to open “Leopard’s Library” at St. George’s. This fantastic space is going to be an integral tool in our commitment to developing our children as real readers. Children who love to get lost in a good book; children who love to talk about and recommend books to their peers; children who love to find more books by their favourite authors. We are so excited to have our very own library!
At St George’s, we believe that the teaching of reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them. It is a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves. Literature plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participate fully as a member of society; at St George’s we want all of our children to leave us being able to read fluently and feel confident with the next stage of their lives.
Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading. We aim to develop an appreciation of texts children read and to provide them with the skills they need so that they can independently select appropriate fiction and non-fiction books. We have created a list of ‘100 books to read before leaving St George’s’ and we have regular discussions about which of the books children have read and give recommendations for what to try next. We encourage our children to read a range of genres so that they begin to understand who they are as a reader.
This curriculum is delivered through synthetic phonics, a linked approach to shared and guided reading, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. All of these are essential components as they offer the range of opportunities needed to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers.
Our school allows children to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of books. Classrooms are stocked with an attractive range of fiction and non-fiction to support every ability and reading choice and encompass the latest reading trends and classic texts that should be part of every child’s primary school experience- building the children’s cultural capital. Learning to read is one of the most important things our children will ever learn. It underpins everything else, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. At St George’s we want our child to develop a real love of reading and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. To improve key reading skills across the school, we use the acronym VIPERS. VIPERS is a range of reading prompts based on the 2016 reading content domains found in the National Curriculum Test Framework documents which can be found online.
V – Vocabulary. Give/explain the meaning of words in context.
I - Infer. Make inference from the text/explain and justify using evidence from the text.
P – Predict. Predict what might happen from the details stated and implied.
E – Explain. Identify/explain how information/narrative content is related and contributes to the meaning as a whole. Identify/explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases. Make comparisons within the text.
R - Retrieve. Retrieve and record key information/key details from fiction and non-fiction.
S - Sequencing. Sequence the text. (EYFS/KS1)
S - Summarise. Summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph. (KS2)
Children are also given the opportunity to discuss the books they are reading and share recommendations with their classmates in our 'Book Club' sessions, which are often held in our new library.
We begin by teaching phonics in Nursery and throughout the Foundation Stage and Key stage 1 every day from 9.05-9.40. At St George’s, we follow the Read Write Inc principles and practice of high-quality phonics. For more information, please see Phonics. Teachers regularly read with their classes, so that children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing. All classrooms have reading areas where children are invited to access a wide range of books, both fiction and non-fiction. This helps to embed a love of books, stories and reading. Children are given the opportunities to read and share books by themselves and with peers. Children will be taught how to handle the books and to choose a book that appeals to them, either through the pictures or words. There are regular 1:1 reading lessons with teaching staff taking place to develop confidence and fluency. In September 2023, we introduced the RWI programme Talk Through Stories which is designed to "extend and deepen children's vocabulary so that they can understand the books that they will soon be able to read by themselves." (RWI Talk Through Stories website). Teachers share high quality books and explore plot, characters, their actions and motives, and then focus on extending the children's vocabulary through rich discussion and making links to their every day lives. Quality books are accessible in continuous provision for the children to access independently and role play areas link to current texts to immerse the children and to develop their communication skills. Daily reading time, where the class teacher reads a book for pleasure with the children that is of a higher level than they would be able to read independently, is important at our school to continue to promote a love of reading. Reading books are also sent home which complement their learning in phonics. All children have the opportunity to take home a reading book at their phonics level and a sharing book which is a reading for pleasure book. Where families struggle to engage with this, we ensure that children read regularly in school and have access to reading books at their level as well as reading for pleasure books. Bob and Betty, the Bedtime Reading Bears, also regularly go home with our children to snuggle up with a good book!
Key Stage One
As previously stated, daily phonics lessons take place from 9.05am-9.40am. Additionally, In September 2023, we introduced the RWI programme Talk Through Stories which is designed to "extend and deepen children's vocabulary so that they can understand the books that they will soon be able to read by themselves." (RWI Talk Through Stories website). Teachers share high quality books and explore plot, characters, their actions and motives, and then focus on extending the children's vocabulary through rich discussion and making links to their every day lives. Daily Dashboard lessons continue to practice and rehearse these skills, to develop confidence and fluency. Within these lessons, vocabulary will also be discussed and recapped, this may be done through pre-teaching before children access a new text or once children have learned a new word to keep coming back to it. Teachers continue to use a think aloud approach to model reading. Children have opportunities to independently read for pleasure each day, they will be taught to select an appropriate text from the class and will begin to identify which genres and authors they enjoy reading. All children have the opportunity to take home a reading book at their level and a sharing book which is a reading for pleasure book. Where families struggle to engage with this, we ensure that children read regularly in school and have access to reading books at their level as well as reading for pleasure books. Through 1:1 reading and whole class reading sessions, all children have the opportunity to practise their reading at the appropriate level of challenge over the week. Parents are encouraged to read with their child and ask questions about the text. Reading books and records are checked by staff. Children working in the lowest 20% receive regular intervention with our learning mentor and also access one to one reading with staff. There is a dedicated whole class story time every afternoon where children can immerse themselves into a book to develop their love for reading.
Key Stage Two
A St George’s, in Key Stage Two, daily whole class reading focuses on texts linked to English and wider curriculum areas. This will allow children opportunities to access different types of texts throughout the year. Children will have access to book extracts and quality age related texts. Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise (VIPERS) reading skills continue to be developed in whole class reading lessons. Teaching objectives are pre-planned and sessions are characterised by opportunities to develop vocabulary, reading fluency and deeper comprehension through rich discussion. The teacher’s role is that of the expert reader who models how the text is read and key vocabulary linked to all areas of the curriculum is displayed in the classroom and recapped within Daily Dashboard lessons. Children are encouraged to find the meaning in context and use a dictionary to check. Children will be encouraged to use the words across the curriculum. Within Daily Dashboard lessons, areas of reading are also pre-taught and 60 second reads support with developing retrieval and skimming and scanning skills. Children will be given daily opportunities to read for pleasure in a quiet environment and are encouraged to select an appropriate text from the class reading shelf and read quietly to themselves. Children within the bottom 20% access RWI Fresh Start catch up and access one to one reading.