Reading at St Mary's
Here at St Mary's, we value reading as the doorway to creativity, visualisation and greater knowledge; it is the gateway to awesome, impossible realms, planets and worlds. Reading is a skill that enables children to develop their learning across the wider curriculum and lays the foundations for future success. Research tells us that children who read for pleasure on a daily basis develop a wider vocabulary, greater general knowledge and a far better understanding of other cultures. It is perhaps one of the single most important factors in a child’s development. Naturally, we therefore believe that it is every child’s right to learn to read, but we hope that our children go far beyond this and so we are committed to enabling our children to become lifelong readers. We have high expectations of all of our children's reading and we encourage them to challenge themselves, persevere and pursue success, ensuring that they ‘believe in better’ so that they can 'be more awesome'.
As we strongly believe that learning to read should be a right for all children regardless of their circumstances, our intention is that ALL children attending our school will learn to read. What this looks like for children, in terms of their learning journey and success measures, may differ depending on their level of educational needs, but we pledge that every child will leave our school being able to read and understand a text independently.
We ensure that our intended outcomes are achieved through a variety of carefully considered environmental and pedagogical strategies, backed with an established reading culture which promotes the engagement with texts whilst normalising a love of reading.
Through daily small-group Words First or Read Write Inc. Phonics lessons, children learn the foundations of reading and begin to develop into increasingly more fluent readers so that they become more able to focus on developing their skills in comprehension and vocabulary. Whilst on these programmes, the children explore cumulatively progressive books which match to the sounds/words they are learning and already know. Throughout this stage, reading comprehension skills are introduced through high-challenge, low-threat discussions around the texts as well as adults heavily modelling comprehension skills when reading aloud to their classes.
The next step in the children's reading journey at St Mary's is whole-class guided reading. Initially, In Year Two, the Read Write Inc. Comprehension scheme is used to continue to develop children’s fluency whilst also placing a heavy emphasis on their comprehension skills. Through the use of specific texts (one fiction and one non-fiction per week), the children begin to explore more challenging vocabulary whilst also developing their awareness and understanding of the reading comprehension 'VIPERS'.
V - Vocabulary
I - Inference
P - Prediction
E - Explanation
R - Recall
S - Sequence/Summary
The 'VIPERS' form the basis of the children's reading journey from then onwards. As the children progress off of the Read Write Inc Comprehension scheme (usually towards the end of Year Two for children working at age related expectations), they begin to explore two longer texts per half term with their class. Every daily session focusses on one or more of the 'VIPERS' and, over time, children become highly skilled in identifying the VIPERS in questions, using skills linked to specific VIPERS and answering in an effective and informed manner.