Reading at St Michael’s C of E (A) Infant School

At St.  Michael’s, there is a determination that every child will become a confident, enthusiastic and proficient reader.

Teachers and Learning Support Assistants are well trained and the teaching of reading is at the heart of our curriculum.  As the children progress through our school, the emphasis will begin to change from learning to read to include reading to learn.

Early reading skills are taught with a consistent approach across the whole school.   In reception and key stage one, planned daily RWI phonic sessions teach children the complex connections between sounds and letters, which lays the foundations for learning to read and spell.  The best phonics teaching involves active participation by all children, detailed tracking of their progress and timely intervention for any child who may need it.  Structure, fast pace, praise and reinforcement are all key features of our phonics sessions.  It is imperative that children secure the alphabetic code before moving onto books which are not fully decodable.

Alongside our systematic teaching of phonics, we instil a love of reading.  This begins with high quality book sharing opportunities in the Early Years.  In these sessions, the emphasis is on developing children’s cultural capital.  We do this through talking about texts; making connections with children’s experiences and broadening children’s horizons through the use of carefully chosen, high quality texts.  Hearing stories and poems also ensures children develop their understanding of their meaning and structure.  Adults across the school continue to ensure all children are read to daily, through whole class guided reading sessions and story times, as they move through key stage one.  In key stage one the children develop their reading skills, such as comprehension and inference, through using ‘reading dogs’.

Once children are able to successfully decode words, we begin to work on reading fluency.  We enable children to read with accuracy, proper speed, and meaningful expression through targeted teaching and additional intervention as needed.

All children take home books that are carefully matched to their stage of reading.  Children will have a new reading book or book(s) each week and they will also take home a high quality book to share at home.  This enables the children to develop their phonics application (reading book) and their comprehension, inference, expression etc (sharing book). 

We view each child as unique and realise they learn at different paces.  We have a reading team comprising of our English Lead, our Head of School and an experienced Learning Support Assistant who leads interventions in reading.  This team oversees the development of phonics and reading and ensures all children who may need additional support are identified early.  This team then deliver high quality interventions that enable children to make rapid progress and narrow any gaps between themselves and their peers.  Our focus is ‘keep up, not catch up.’