Our priority is both the teaching of reading skills and the enjoyment of literature, enabling children to become lifelong, confident readers. As children begin to read, we focus on decoding, primarily through phonics in addition to other strategies, e.g. whole word recognition, rhyme and context. As children build fluency, comprehension skills become our main area of focus and questioning looks at skills such as re-telling, inference and prediction. We believe that high-quality literature is key to motivating children to read and instilling in children a love of literature and children throughout the school are read to at the end of each and every day.
Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the
symbols that represent them (graphemes or letter groups). At Christ Church, high-quality
phonic teaching happens every day in EYFS and Key Stage One to secure the crucial skills of
word recognition. We use a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics and follow the
North Somerset phonics programme. As children move through the early stages of acquiring
phonics, they practise applying this knowledge by reading texts which are entirely decodable
for them, from a range of reading schemes.
Once children master phonics, it enables them to read fluently, thus freeing them to concentrate on the meaning of the text.
The Teaching of Reading
At Christ Church, we use picture books, novels, poems and factual texts from EYFS to Year 6 to engage and stimulate learning. We ensure children are exposed to high quality literature that deepens and challenges their knowledge and understanding. We encourage children to be ‘active’ readers. This means we want children to be asking questions as they read, we want them to be puzzled by the challenging pitch of the selected texts and we want them to be making predictions and reflecting on what they have read. Although independent reading time is crucial for enjoyment, reading encompasses many other skills, which need discrete opportunities to explore. We have whole school guided reading sessions where the children focus on developing specific reading skills.
Reading is taught through shared reading sessions, guided reading sessions and opportunities
to practise and consolidate skills through independent reading. During these sessions, staff
use a wide range of strategies to try and enhance the teaching of reading. Some of these are
Modelling and discussing the features of written texts through shared reading of texts.
Giving direction to develop key strategies in reading.
Demonstration – e.g. how to use punctuation when reading, using a shared text.
Explanation to clarify and discuss e.g. need for grammatical agreement when proof reading.
Questioning – to probe pupil’s understanding of text.
Investigation of ideas – to understand, expand on or generalise about themes and structures in fiction and non-fiction.
Discussion and argument – to justify preference.
Provision of a wide range of fiction and non-fiction genres, for the children to choose from.
At Christ Church CEVA Primary school, we want our School to be a place where children are read to, enjoy, discuss and work with high quality books.
The 'Reading Spine' is a core of books that create a living library inside a child's mind. It is
a store of classics and essential reads that help children engage at a deeper level and enter
the world of the story. We have provided the 'Pie Corbett Reading Spine' in our Classrooms
so that children have access to these high quality texts.
We plan to use the books in every year group over the School Year. If your child has spent 7
full School Years at Christ Church, by the time they leave at the end of Year 6, they will have
been immersed into about 82 of the most fantastic books available to children!
It would be fantastic if children could also be exposed to these stories at home so if you wish to build your child's book collection, please use the lists for guidance.
Parents play a vital role in the development of English skills. We aim to foster a strong home-school partnership with reading, using school planners and a tool for communication between school and home. Children are encouraged to read at least 4 times and then they are entered into our weekly book raffle. The winners from each class are revealed in our Friday achievement service.
The study of English at Christ Church helps our children understand how language works
across the whole of our school curriculum by looking at its structures, origins, subject-specific
vocabulary and patterns. Using this knowledge, our children can choose and adapt what they
write in differing situations to help make their own lives; and those of others’, better. At
Christ Church, we strive to instil a love of language into the hearts and minds of all our pupils.
We find that children’s writing is enriched when pupils are exposed to a wide range of stories
and genres of writing; such as the reading spine; this in turn helps develop a structure to
build upon and leads to a discovery of powerful and exciting vocabulary. We love to think
about why authors have chosen the words that they have used. We believe it is important that children see their work as having real purpose and that they regard themselves as authors to a variety of audiences.
We use a fully cursive handwriting style where every lower case letter starts on the line with a lead in stroke and leads out with an exit stroke. Our aim is that every child will be able to write clearly, fluently and quickly so that they can cope with the demands of everyday life.
There has been much research into the relationship between handwriting, spelling and text
production. Writing requires so many activities to take place within the brain including the
generation of ideas, word choice, sequencing ideas, monitoring accuracy and communicating
ideas clearly. If handwriting is fluent and automatic, it allows children to concentrate on the
other aspects of writing, in turn producing a higher quality piece of work. It also enables them
to write faster.
Our whole school handwriting target is to improve the standard of pupils’ handwriting and presentation across the school.