At St Martin’s CE Primary School, we place reading for pleasure at the heart of our English curriculum.
We believe that the first step towards academic excellence is secure and happy children and this is at the heart of everything that we do.
Staff at St Martin’s enjoy using high quality texts as the basis of their English lessons. This allows further exposure to excellent authors who can inspire and delight our children.
We follow a well-planned progression of lessons over the children’s journey through our school. This allows them to master different text types and styles of writing, building on their grammatical knowledge through each year.
We hold lots of exciting events to improve children’s understanding of English Literature such as sponsored reading, author visits, poetry slams, drama workshops and writing competitions throughout the year. We also develop the children's skills in editing and presenting their work.
“Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.” – David McCollough
Reading at home
Our school uses Reading Logs – their books will be changed regularly to ensure progression. Please listen to your child read each week night and sign/write in their Reading Logs. Anybody at home can listen!
We cannot emphasise enough how important this is. Reading at home with your child is an expectation and is essential for them to make the best possible progress. This is the one thing that you can do that will make the biggest difference to your child at school.
Click on the links below for help with reading at home:
Although many children can read, word reading and reading comprehension are two different things. While word reading involves translating and decoding text into sounds and spoken words, reading comprehension involves taking what was just read and deriving meaning from those words. In simpler terms, reading comprehension is the ability to read, understand, process and recall what was just read.
Below is a range of reading comprehension question starters. Please feel free to use these when listening to your child read each evening. If you may wish to make a note of the domain/question asked, you can do this in your child’s reading record:
Reading books at school
There is a huge amount of research that shows that children that read for pleasure regularly have higher levels of happiness and academic attainment across a number of subjects, not just reading. To read for pleasure, children first need to learn to read through systematic teaching at school and regular practise at home. Once they have learned the key skills through phonics, then they will be able to venture into a whole world of imagination.
The reading scheme we use is Collins Big Cat for all year groups, which ensures that the texts provided to the children are closely linked to their phonics/reading level. This scheme is linked to our phonics scheme Little Wandle and provides the opportunity to practise the sounds that have been learned in lessons.
How reading is taught at school
In school, reading is a central priority. As well as daily phonics teaching (including keep-up and catch-up) in EYFS and KS1 (and for those that need it in KS2), we use reading sessions to develop fluency, prosody and background knowledge for comprehension. There is more information on phonics further below.
Reception class have Little Wandle guided reading sessions (3-5 times per week depending on attainment).
Year 1 and Year 2 have guided reading sessions (3-5 times per week depending on attainmnet). Higher attaining children in year 2 move to whole-class reading sessions when they are ready.
KS2 (years 3-6) have daily reading sessions with a set focus of fluency, close read or extended read.
Here are the reading objectives for each year group from the curriculum:
Our children learn phonics using the Little Wandle programme. This is a systematic synthetic approach which ensures progress across EYFS and KS1. Phonics is a crucial part of Early Reading so this is a massive focus and is taught daily right from EYFS through KS1. Children take part in daily phonics teaching sessions and also catch up and keep up programmes too.
For phonics help, click the following link: Use the different tabs to explore different sections (support for phonics, how we teach + support for reading)
Coverage in Phonics:
Nursery = Phase 1 and start of Phase 2
Reception = Phase 2, 3 and 4
Year 1 = Recap of Phase 3 and 4 and move onto Phase 5
Year 2 = Recap of all phases and move onto Phase 6 and spelling rules
In KS2, we identify children’s phonic gaps and they are addressed through small group interventions using the Keep Up program.
In Year 1, children will sit a phonics screening test towards the end of the year (June) where they will be expected to read a range of real words and alien words (made up words) using all of the taught knowledge from phases 2-5.
Please see below for documents with information about our phonics programme and with support for parents.
Children will have Literacy lessons 4 times a week where the focus will be on spelling, punctuation and grammar. They will focus on a range of texts, both fiction and non-fiction exploring important aspects of the text including characters, settings, features and language.
Spelling helps reading and writing. We use the no nonsense spellings scheme and spelling shed to teach spellings at school providing the children with knowledge of spelling rules and a range of strategies to remember spellings. Below is a list of spellings your child should know for each year group :
You can practise these spellings in a number of ways. Use these strategies to help you learn your spellings:
We take pride in our handwriting at St Martins where we practise this at least 3 times a week. EYFS and Year 1 focus on letter formation and the sizing of their letters using the Little Wandle formation phrases to help remember how to form the letters. Year 2 onwards focus on joining letters and forming a consistent, neat handwriting style. Once the children have mastered their joined, neat handwriting style they can be awarded with a pen licence where they use a blue pen in their work.
Little Wandle Formation:
The National Curriculum objectives for English can be found below.