Reading at Over St. John's

It is our intention that all children will leave our school being able to read confidently and fluently as reading is a fundamental skill used within many aspects of life. By supporting our children to develop their reading skills, we aim to prepare children for the next stage of their academic journey as well as developing a love of reading for pleasure and for purpose. Reading is also used to stimulate children's imaginations and a love for books. Reading has a high profile at Over St. John's and teachers promote and value reading as an enjoyable activity and a life skill. Our reading curriculum is delivered through a variety of different activities and approaches:

*All children are provided with a reading book and a reading diary. We encourage reading on a regular basis (at least four times per week) at home as well as regular reading to the adults in school. 

*Each class has a reading corner stocked with fiction and non-fiction texts, which the children are encouraged to access. 

* Specific English lessons, linked to the text we are exploring, focus on the teaching and developing of particular reading skills, whether it be prediction, inference, summarising, explaining etc.

*In Year 2 to Year 6, children are taught to read, develop and practise reading skills through well planned whole-class shared reading sessions.

*In Reception and Year 1, children take part in guided reading sessions based on the books linked to their current phonics teaching.

*Sharing and reading aloud stories in class is also something teachers do. This gives our children the opportunity to listen to a story, no matter their age, and enjoy a book they may not otherwise have read. Reading aloud to children also helps to promote and model reading fluency, intonation and expression.

During focussed reading tasks, whether in English lessons, whole class shared reading or guided reading sessions, reading skills are explicitly taught, reinforced and are supported by the VIPERS approach (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explain, retrieve, sequence/summarise). These are displayed in all classes and are referenced during reading lessons and linked to the tasks that children are completing. 


At the bottom of this page, there is a link to our reading skills and knowledge progression document.

Whole Class Shared Reading

                                                                                                             Steps to Read.png

Whole class shared reading takes place three days a week in Year 2 to Year 6. The teaching of our whole class shared reading is supported by the Steps to Read programme from Literacy Counts and is delivered around a sequence of high quality age-appropriate texts. The texts used are aimed to promote a life-long love of reading and includes fiction, non-fiction and poetry which enhances learning across the curriculum.  Each session, follows a four step teaching sequence, which involves read, model, practise and apply encouraging a clear focus on the skills and strategies need to enable children to become proficient and confident readers. 


Guided Reading in Reception and Year 1

In Reception and Year 1, children take part in guided reading sessions four times per week. Guided reading builds on the teaching of phonics exploring short texts that include only the sounds and words that the children have been taught. Text used with guided reading our from our scheme - Monster Phonics. This helps to reinforce teaching and allows the children to continually practise the sounds they have learnt. Guided Reading follows the same teaching sequence each week. Children engage in paired reading with their peers at the start of each session before looking at the text in more detail. Modelling of reading by the teacher is also important to build skills of fluency. 


Reading at Home

At Over St. John’s, we encourage the daily reading and sharing of books at home. We carefully monitor the children’s reading at home and encourage parents to be fully active and engaged with us in this in order to support their child’s ongoing development. Reading diaries are checked weekly by an adult in school and reading is rewarded through our school raffle ticket reward system. For a second year running, we will have the Over St John’s Reading Stars Reward system. When children have read at least four times at home, over one week, they will receive one stamp on the reading star chart. For 10 stamps, children receive a bronze reading star badge. For 25 stamps, they receive a silver reading star badge. For 40 stamps, they receive a gold reading star badge. 

Home reading books are organised into stages. Children in Reception and Year 1 read phonetically decodable books which follow the teaching sequence of our Phonics scheme, Monster Phonics. Children in Reception and Year 1 will only ever bring reading books home with sounds in they have been taught in school to consolidate this learning. Over the course of Reception and Year 1, children will read through books from Stage 0 (wordless books) to Stage 8. Children in Reception and Year 1 will come home with a guide for sharing their phonetically decodable books over a week with their adults. 

Towards the end of Year 1, children will be assessed on their reading in order to move from phonetically decodable books and to continue to progress through the rest of the stages. Our books within Stage 9 to Stage 18 are grouped according to their level of difficulty, providing children with a challenging reading experience which also allows them to build on and use their phonic and whole word knowledge to read independently. Within our Stages 9 to 18, we use the following schemes within reading: Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree, Smart Kids which comprises of a mixture of Fiction, Non-fiction, Traditional tales and Poetry. This is further supplemented by a wide range of reading material that has been selected and appropriately marched using the Accelerated Reader Programme.

Throughout the school, in each class, children will take the following books home every week:

  • 1 x reading book matched to their reading level (stage). In EYFS and Year 1, these will be phonically decodable based on the current teaching. 
  • 1 x book for reading/sharing for pleasure

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