Our Reading Mission
At our school we understand that reading is an essential skill for life and so we strive to ensure that our children
• are confident and skilled decoders and interpreters of the written word
• understand its vital importance to the success of their education and future life
• develop the foundations of a life-long love of literature.
We teach and nurture reading skills in many ways and these are detailed below.
Our Reading Vision
At Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, reading is at the heart of all learning. Developing reading skills and fluency allows children access to our broad and balanced curriculum. The early stages of reading allow children to have secure and embedded phonic knowledge to support them with sounding out unfamiliar words. As these skills develop, children will become fluent readers, be able to use their skills across the curriculum and begin a life-long love of reading; this allows them to become successful members of a literate community. At Sacred Heart, our children are encouraged to explore texts at depth, answering questions, giving opinions and showing a growing understanding of a wider vocabulary. Our children are encouraged to have a growth mind set and demonstrate perseverance when answering questions about texts when the answer is not immediately available to them. Our pupils are fully immersed in the world of the book as they enjoy, listen attentively and respond with comprehension to familiar stories, poems, non-fiction, rhymes and songs that are appropriate to their age and stage of development. Our enthusiastic teachers read to their children daily in a way that both excites and engages them while they introduce new ideas, concepts and vocabulary.
Developing a love of reading
At Sacred Heart, it is incredibly important to us that our pupils share our love of reading which is why classrooms at Sacred Heart have designated reading areas where children can access a wide range of texts including: fiction, non-fiction, poetry and comics and magazines. These inviting, calm spaces allow children to enjoy reading for pleasure and develop a real respect for books and literature. The academic year here at Sacred Heart is packed with opportunities for pupils to explore literature and celebrate their own love of reading such as National Poetry Day, World Book Day, National Story Telling Week and Roald Dahl Day to name a few. These fantastic events give pupils the chance to share their ideas, dress up as their favourite characters from a book, celebrate timeless authors and hear carefully selected and much-loved stories. As a school, we also encourage our pupils to take advantage of the fantastic reading resources on our doorstep including Moreton Library, which pupils from every year group attend at least once a half term. At the library, pupils are free to explore the shelves, find somewhere comfy to read a good book or be read to by an adult.
If you were to visit Sacred Heart and walk its corridors, you would see our famous green bike suspended in mid-air surrounded by all of our favourite books and you would read the words, ‘A great book can take you anywhere!’. These words emulate how we use literature in our school: to transport pupils to other worldly places, ideas and experiences that broaden both our pupils’ horizons and their imaginations!
Our Reading Routines
Reading happens throughout the school day in most lessons, however, a dedicated reading session is delivered every day so that our pupils receive an essential 20 minutes of independent reading each day. Did you know that a child who reads only 20 minutes per day reads almost two million words per year? Children have an individual reading book that is carefully matched to their reading level. Early readers have access to phonetically decodable books and work through the book banding system, ensuring that they are reading books to consolidate their phase in Letters and Sounds. Studies have shown that 70-80% of a child’s vocabulary comes from reading and as our pupils’ reading develops, children are exposed to texts with alternative spelling patterns and new vocabulary. In addition to this, children deepen their understanding by discussing and explaining their ideas about various texts during guided read sessions which coincide with the national reading content domains for KS1 and KS2. In line with our mastery-led approach to teaching and learning, we ensure that our children have wide and varied opportunities to practise and apply reading skills across the entire curriculum. This means that there are planned opportunities to research, locate information and follow written instructions in all subject areas. In addition, time and care is taken to ensure that children experience reading beyond the classroom through educational visits and guests within school who showcase the importance of literacy skills.
In KS2, pupils select a book from our Accelerated Reader selection (please see Accelerated Reader pdf. for more information,) based on their reading ability and are free to change their book after completing it and taking a short quiz which formatively assesses their understanding of what they have read. In KS1 and Foundation Stage, pupils can be given up to two of our Big Cat phonics books and these are changed weekly.
Our Reading Partnership
As a school, we recognise the valuable impact that reading at home can have. We very much encourage children to read every night and ask that reading records are signed and books are returned to school in good condition. We are always looking to support our parents here at Sacred Heart and while some express that they find it difficult to know what books to acquire to best support their children, we have also included a series of recommended reading lists on our website which have been suitably designed to complement and enhance pupils’ learning across the curriculum which we hope you will find helpful. Our school also offers opportunities to engage with the reading taking place in their child’s learning such as phonics workshops, reading workshops in each year group, mystery reader in Foundation Stage and our annual book fair to the wider school community. We are always looking to work alongside with our parents and create further opportunities to encourage and to inform on the importance of reading.