At St Thomas of Canterbury we aim to develop a love of reading in all our pupils. Reading is taught daily using a variety of strategies. One of the most important skills in life is reading and we teach reading from the youngest to the oldest pupils. Every child must be able to read and this is at the core of our responsibility.
Our main reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree. It is supplemented by Collins and Rigby Red Star. Our ranges include; Floppy’s Phonics, Project X, Classics and Traditional Tales. Our reading books are banded to ensure that they provide the appropriate level of challenge. Reading assessment is closely linked to our assessment of letters and sounds, particularly in key stage one.
We have recently invested in new banded books for key stage 2 and we are gradually phasing out the Collins scheme completely. We invest in a wide range of books, both fiction and non-fiction to appeal to all readers and keep the content varied.
All classes have a daily guided reading session where children have the opportunity to read out loud within a group of readers of similar ability. The teacher will ask the groups questions to assess their understanding of what they have read. They work in small ability groups guided by their teacher to develop their reading skills. We have developed a ‘Literature Spine’ of progression of good quality text across school. Each year groups has a bank of books that they will share throughout the year, either to teach the curriculum or simply to be read to for pleasure.
Reading for pleasure is encouraged across school and each class has a reading area. We have a well-stocked and spacious library which children are encouraged to visit regularly.
We expect our children to bring their reading diaries and books into school every day.
We ask that parents read for at least ten minutes each night with their child.
We ask parents to sign and comment in their child’s reading diary when they have shared and discussed a book.
At St Thomas of Canterbury we have made a commitment that we will embed in children the tools they need to become to become confident high level writers. We have adopted a ‘Talk for Writing’ approach where children learn and rehearse a text in order to give them a basic structure for writing. The children then use their knowledge of writing structure to create their own pieces.
We have a developmental handwriting scheme and children begin to join in Year 2. Handwriting pens, rather than pencils are introduced at year 4.
The school also aims to develop effective speaking and listening skills, confidence, fluency, and proficiency in Standard English. From entry into the Foundation Stage, the children are encouraged to speak to an audience, to question and to learn to listen with attention and understanding.
The development of literacy skills is not solely restricted to specific lessons, which are taught every day, but is encouraged throughout the Curriculum.