Here at St Francis RC Primary School, our Reading curriculum has the same high ambitions as the National Curriculum and focuses on word reading, comprehension (both listening and reading) and developing a love of reading.
At St Francis RC Primary school, our English curriculum is based around the National Curriculum. We believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. As a school, we aim to instil a love of reading and inspire a habit and passion for reading widely and often. We want children to develop their vocabulary through reading and understand that writing has a real purpose and that word choice and style can bring about change. We have adopted a consistent approach to reading, using reading VIPERS. Children particularly focus on the skills of retrieval, inference and summarising, with a strong focus on vocabulary and clarification of language in context. The curriculum has been designed so that children are exposed to a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts at an age-appropriate level to support their comprehension and expose them to a wide range of vocabulary. We believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to succeed in Key Stage 3 and beyond.
To ensure progression across the year groups, teachers understand key concepts underpinning our reading curriculum (VIPERS) and the end point to which we are all aiming: to ensure all children read with fluency and have a love of reading. We believe that to achieve this we must teach children to: read fluently, read proficiently, have a positive attitude to reading and have a love of reading. We aim to grow a love of reading for pleasure in our children (both in and out of school) as we recognise the importance of reading to their independent learning, further success and well-being. Our reading curriculum is accessible for all regardless of gender, race or religion; accessible for all learners including children with additional needs. We believe that using a whole class core text each term improves engagement and allows a range of tools and techniques to be used to support and enhance the teaching of reading, including the use of IT, drama and debate.
The texts we choose are selected to ensure that we have coverage across a full range of genres and themes within fiction and non-fiction. We ensure there is diversity across the text range, which includes author, characters, setting and context.
Key Questions VIPERS
We use the VIPERS Question Stems as a high number of schools have adopted this successful Literacy Shed inspired approach and it was a seamless transition from the approach to the teaching of reading we had already developed.
- Vocabulary -Draw upon knowledge of vocabulary in order to understand the text.
- Infer -Make inferences from the text.
- Predict - Predict what you think will happen based on the information that you have been given.
- Explain -Explain your preferences, thoughts and opinions about the text.
- Retrieve - Identify and explain the key features of fiction and nonfiction texts such as: characters, events, titles and information.
- Sequence - Sequence the key events in the story (KS1) or Summarise - Summarise the main ideas from more than one paragraph (KS2)
Our Class Libraries
Throughout our school, we encourage a love of reading whenever we can; children have time daily to read books, and read books that they want to read.
All classes have a book corner, which the children are involved in managing and stocking. The reading culture we have developed is clear across the whole school.
We invest heavily in our class libraries and respond to the interests and requests of our children to ensure they have access to the texts they enjoy most.
All our class libraries are inviting, attractive, filled with up to date books and are a key part of all our classrooms.
As part of our class libraries we aim to have inviting Class Reading Displays, sharing children’s recommendations and favourite books, and have worked hard to ensure that all classes promote a love of reading.
The purpose of our reading work is to engage the children with books which will then extend the children with their reading and instil a love for books and for them to identify genres they enjoy when reading for pleasure. Children will find authors and genres that they love and will read for pleasure.
Children in Key Stage 2 get time each day to visit their book corners and select books of interest. They also have a weekly slot in the library and get to take books out to read at home. This is a free choice in addition to their class book band text.
This will look different in KS1. The recommended books and authors are set out by the teacher with strong links to the current topic or recent authors.
Time is given across the school day to read independently in KS1, to be heard read by a specific Teaching Assistant and the VIPERS approach is delivered during daily class novel time.
EYFS book corners
In the EYFS the children have a range of accessible picture books in their reading areas. These areas are as enticing as possible and the children actively choose to spend time reading in their book corner and are regularly joined by our EYFS free-flow adult. Books on display link to the current topic and include books that the teachers have read to the children so that they can revisit them themselves.
Our School Library
All the children get to visit the library at least weekly with their class teacher to explore the books available and to select a book to take home. Teachers can take the opportunity to read a short story or an opening chapter to the children during their library slot and children choose to spend their break time reading in the library.
Reading National Curriculum Programme of Study
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:
- Word reading
- Comprehension (both listening and reading)
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words.
Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a world of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
There are National Assessments in Year 1, Year 2 and Year 6.
In Year 1 your child will sit a phonics assessment to identify which phonic patterns your child can recognise and read. The results of this test will be reported in your child's end of year report.
In Year 2, your child will have their first SATs assessment. The tests in Year 2 consist of a set of assessments conducted by your child’s class teacher along with two reading papers.
In Years 3, 4 and 5 your child will be formally assessed each term using summative assessments created by Rising Stars, which are accurately pitched for each year group and in line with the teaching of reading within that year. The results won’t be nationally recorded, but they help teachers assess children’s progress and will be reported in your child’s end of year report.
In Year 6, your child will sit further nationally reported SATs tests. These SATs tests are more formal and consist of timed papers in Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation and Maths. The papers (with the exception of writing which is marked and moderated in school) are sent away for marking and the results are known before children leave primary school in July. These test results will also be reported in your child’s end of term report.
Alongside these summative termly assessments, we use on-going formative teacher assessment to get the most accurate picture of the child’s reading level and potential. After the assessment is carried out the results are collated and intervention sessions are timetabled for those children falling below their chronological reading age.
Reading aloud is one of the most important things we do. Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognise what reading for pleasure is all about. We have specific time set aside each day for children to both read for their own enjoyment and to hear a story being read to them - a class novel that is chosen by the teacher.
During these class novel reading times, it is a great opportunity for the teacher to model how to use expression, volume and pace to create tension, humour and impact.
We believe that home reading is a vital component in developing reading skill, confidence and fostering a love of reading. We encourage our children to read their home reading books every day and these are discussed every day and changed regularly by the class Teaching Assistant and the frequency of changed books is monitored by the class teacher.
From their earliest starting points our children are encouraged to develop good home-school reading routines. Each week children in EYFS and KS1 select a full decodable book, in line with their phonics phase and parents are encouraged to listen to their children read daily.
Children will be moved up through the stages when their teacher feels that they are fluent with the words within that stage and they are confident that the child is making meaning from the text.
The VIPERS approach to questioning is shared with parents so as they read with their child they have age appropriate question prompts to help support the development of comprehension.
At the start of this year, we launched Rockerbox News for Years 1-6, where children can read non-fiction texts online that are appropriate to their reading level and answer corresponding comprehension questions. If you need any support with accessing Rockerbox News at home, please contact your child's class teacher and they will be happy to help.
Here at St Francis RC Primary school, our English curriculum is based around the National Curriculum. We believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion.
We aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance from nursery to year 6. Throughout the school, attention is paid to grammatical detail, exciting vocabulary, punctuation and spelling. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. At St Francis Primary School, children will become skilled and confident writers who can apply their skills independently to write for both pleasure and for purpose, and we believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to succeed in Key Stage 3 and beyond.
The ability to write well is profoundly important to a child’s development as writing allows extended communication, helps process thoughts, reflect and organise and is an essential skill for school and work. Our approach to the writing process aims to immerse children in the genre and style of the piece in the first phase, they then learn to innovate on these structures in the second stage before creating an independent piece in the third. The level of independence in the final stage will grow over time as the children become more independent and more skilled. The curriculum uses a rich range of excellent texts and to fully engage the children. These text choices are carefully considered, of a high quality and inclusive and diverse and may include cross-curricular links. We ensure that our writing curriculum engages and challenges. We want children to encounter stories and issues that are representative of our society so that all children regardless of gender, race or religion are represented. Our curriculum is ambitious, but is carefully planned to meet the needs of all learners so whilst it stretches those who are able, it is accessible for children with additional needs. There will be a range of tools and techniques used to support and enhance the teaching of writing, including the use of IT, drama, oral rehearsal and debate. Our whole school approach to the teaching of writing will ensure that we close any gaps and enable the highest possible number of children to reach age related expectations. The development of children’s sentence level work is carefully planned out and progression is clear between year groups.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. We aim that by the end of KS2 all of our children have made considerable progress from their starting points in EYFS. With the wide range of engaging texts throughout the year and clear sentence level development, our children are becoming more confident writers. By the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, all genres of writing are familiar to them and teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.