Reading at St. George and St. Martin’s Catholic Academy
How do we prioritise reading?
At St George and St Martin, we recognise that reading is a lifelong skill, which not only enables access to the curriculum but also opens up a world full of imagination. We are committed to ensuring that every child becomes a confident and independent reader, regardless of their background and needs. Pupils are taught the skills needed for reading through daily phonics sessions using the ‘Bug Club Phonics’ teaching programme which is DfE approved. We work in partnership with parents and hold regular ‘Stay and Read’ sessions so parents can see and understand the schools approach to teaching phonics and reading skills.
How do we promote a love of reading?
To promote a love of reading in our setting, all children have daily story time sessions where staff read with enthusiasm and bring characters alive, which capture the children’s imagination. All classes have their own class author and cosy reading corners, which are well stocked with a selection of books including fiction and non- fiction texts. Every year all children receive a special book from Santa to take home based upon their class author at Christmas time.
We strive for all pupils to read for pleasure and encourage them to sign up for a library card and to visit the library regularly. Children are encouraged to participate in local library events and to complete the Stoke 25 and 100 reads challenges. We celebrate World Book Day annually and pupils enjoy coming to school dressed up as their favourite story character. Parents are invited into school to become a ‘Secret Storyteller’ where they have the opportunity to share their child’s favourite story with the rest of the class.
How do we make sure pupils make progress?
Phonics is taught everyday using the DfE approved ‘Phonics Bug’ teaching programme. The programme is interactive and the children have daily opportunities to revisit and consolidate previous learning. The school has clear expectations of pupils’ phonics progress term-by–term, from Nursery to Year 2. This information is outlined in the schools long-term plan and leaders monitor, and review pupils progress regularly.
How do we match the pupils’ reading books to their phonics ability?
All pupils take home fully decodable books, which contain the sounds that they have been taught at school. Staff read with the children weekly to ensure that they are practising the skills that they have been learning during phonics sessions. This ensures that pupils are using the correct pronunciations and have a good understanding of what they have read. Children also have the opportunity to access the Phonics Bug online portal, which has a wide variety of texts and interactive games that they can access at home to further develop their reading skills.
How do we teach phonics from the start?
The teaching of synthetic phonics begins as soon as pupils’ start our nursery. They learn to discriminate between sounds in the environment through the use of rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. Our Early Years is a ‘language-rich’ environment that focuses on developing children's speaking and listening skills, which form the strong foundations of phonics. These essential skills will support children when learning to orally blend and segment sounds. Pupils are then taught grapheme phoneme correspondence so they can recognise and read sounds within words. As phonics continues into Key Stage 1, our pupils are taught new graphemes for the phonemes they already know, as well as alternative pronunciations for the graphemes.
How do we support pupils to catch up?
We closely monitor the children’s phonics attainment through daily observations and termly assessments. Children who are not making the expected progress are quickly identified and receive an additional phonics intervention in line with the schools phonics programme. This ensures that identified gaps are addressed to help all children keep up with the pace of the phonics programme.
Leaders meet frequently with individual teachers to discuss the progress of their pupils and to plan support for pupils who are making insufficient progress.
How do we train staff to be reading experts?
Our staff are experts in how to teach systematic, synthetic phonics and have a clear understanding of how pupils learn to read. All staff have received Phonics Bug training and our Phonics leader ensures that staff are kept up to date with any updates and training.