Reading is central to our ability to understand, interpret and communicate with one another. At St Chad's, we are passionate about reading. We recognise that learning to read is a crucial part of children’s skills development and one which will support all future learning. As teachers we can teach children the skills required for reading but what we want to instil in them is a passion for reading and for them to become readers for life.

The Simple View of Reading

Reading has two parts - word reading and comprehension. Our reading curriculum is underpinned by the Simple View of Reading. To become a successful reader, children need to have both decoding skills (the ability to 'read' the words on the page) and comprehension skills (the ability to 'understand' what is on the page).



The teaching of phonics is an integral part of the curriculum in our school. We follow the phonics programme, ‘Letters and Sounds’, where children are taught the 44 phonemes that make up all the sounds required for reading and spelling.  These phonemes include those made by just one letter and those that are made by two or more.  As the children grow in confidence and experience, they are introduced to alternative ways of representing the same sound, eg ‘ee’ can be represented as ‘ee’, ‘ea’, ‘e-e’, ‘e’

The teaching of phonics is of high priority to all staff as it enables children to decode for reading and encode for spelling. We ensure that our teaching of phonics is rigorous, structured and enjoyable.  Children have discrete, daily phonics sessions where they are introduced to new phonemes, can practise and revise previous learning and have plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge they have.

We use a range of multisensory strategies to enthuse and engage the children, including the use of interactive whiteboards, magnetic letters, speaking and listening, songs, rhymes and practical activities.  Children work with pace and are encouraged to apply their knowledge across the curriculum with any reading or writing activities.

Alongside the technique of 'sounding out' new words, we actively encourage the learning of words from memory. Within our phonics planning, we teach children the high frequency words and common exception words, as highlighted in the National Curriculum. We refer to these sight words as our 'sticky tricky words'. Children are given opportunities to apply what they have learnt through reading, including time to read aloud to adults to practise their decoding skills and comprehension of what they are reading.

We regularly assess children's phonics progress with the support of an assessment tool called Phonics Tracker.

Further information on our phonics programme can be found here.

Home Reading
At St Chad's, we actively promote a love of reading within our whole school community. We recognise the importance of learning how to read and of sharing high quality texts from an early age and the important role that parents and carers play in fostering an enjoyment of reading.

We encourage parents to read with their children at home and actively promote the importance of bedtime reading. Throughout the year we hold a number of parent workshops to support with all aspects of home reading, including early reading skills, phonics and shared reading time. We are committed to supporting all of our parents in becoming skilled and confident readers. In addition to our parent workshops, we organise bespoke parent classes, including ESOL classes which are delivered by an outside adult trainer.

We actively promote visits to our local library. Each year, we organise a trip to the library in our Reception class: all parents are encouraged to attend and register their child for a library card. We are visited annually by the Book Start team.

All children are encouraged to change their reading books as often as possible. We praise and reward recording at home through Class Dojo. Home Record Records are checked daily. We expect every child to read their school book at home with an adult three times a week.

We are very fortunate to have a group of Reading Volunteers who work across Key Stage 1 with children requiring additional support.

Love to Read

Every day each class takes part in reading activities with time planned for teachers and teaching assistants to listen to children read both individually and as a group. Every classroom has a designated reading corner with a range of books for children to enjoy. Reading corners are designed and organsied following the principles of Communication Friendly Spaces. They are inviting and provide a sense of calmness and relaxation. As well as having access to a range of reading books, storytelling is promoted through the availability of role play resources e.g. story stones and costumes.

This year, we are developing a new designated library space within school that all children will be available to access during the week.

In order to foster a love of reading, we do not follow a prescriptive reading scheme. Instead, we use a wide variety of engaging, high-quality texts selected by staff. These books are levelled for difficulty and complexity using coloured book bands. Book are sequenced to support cumulative progression and they are closely matched to our school's phonics programme. As well as ensuring that children have access to phonetically decodable texts (in line with their reading age), we also ensure that we are well resourced with language-rich texts, picture books and novels to help nurture and develop vocabulary and spark an interest in reading. We want all of our children to ‘Love to Read’.

We aim to have 20 minutes of Guided Reading every day outside of English lessons. Throughout the week, every child has a session supported by their teacher and a follow-up activity, as well as stimulating and meaningful activities linked to reading in those sessions where they are not working directly with the class teacher.

In Nursery and Reception, children are given the opportunity to explore books in small groups. This may involve books without words where the children are encouraged to tell the story, learn how to handle books, discover the directionality of print, look at and learn high frequency words and talk about familiar stories.

We assign book banded home reading books from Reception upwards. Every child is also issued with a Home Reading Record Book. At St Chad's, we value and expect regular home reading. We monitor reading records on a daily and weekly basis and ask that reading bags are brought to school everyday. Further information on Home Reading can be found here.
Throughout the week, we run an after school Story Club and a Home Reading/Home Learning club.
The St Chad's 'Super 6'
Sometimes a child can be an excellent reader but not necessarily understand everything they have read. We have recently introduced our 'St Chad's Super 6' to help support our children in becoming 'active readers'.
As a school, we have identified six separate but complimentary skills for comprehension:
  • Predicting
  • Visualising
  • Questioning
  • Making connections
  • Clarifying
  • Summarising
We had great fun working with a local illustrator to help bring our ideas and designs to life!