Junior School Reading Curriculum
Here at Prestbury St Mary’s, we are committed to enabling all of our children to develop the skills and confidence to become lifelong readers. Fostering a love of reading is essential to this and so in our school we work hard to nurture an ethos of reading for pleasure.
As reading is an essential life skill, we ensure our children are taught to read with fluency, accuracy and understanding. Throughout the school, we support their journey towards becoming fluent and independent readers, offering the support that is needed to ensure the children develop these vital skills by the time they leave Year 6.
At our school, reading is a key aspect of teaching and learning across the wider curriculum. Our children don’t just ‘learn to read’ – they ‘read to learn’. Our aspiration is that as confident and able readers, our children will be able to access a wide range of texts, both in reading for pleasure and to unlock learning across all areas of the curriculum.
Reading in our School
Every classroom has its own class library, which is equipped with a wide range of texts. We are grateful to the PTFA, which has raised a great deal of money that we have been able to spend on new, high-quality books. Our class libraries are also places where we encourage the children to recommend books to each other!
We use Accelerated Reader (AR) at Prestbury St Mary’s, so each child has a range (called a ZPD) to guide them when they choose a book to read. Once the book is finished, there is an online quiz to take, which finds out how well the child has understood what they have read. Doing well in the quiz then scores points, which build towards their termly target. Each term, every child has a ‘Reading Passport’ in their Reading Record. This includes their target for the term and also encourages them to try reading new things and nurture their enjoyment of reading.
If you were to walk around our school, you would see that we love to read and celebrate reading. You will see the books that we are reading displayed on our doors, you can borrow a book from the entrance foyer or you may even stumble upon Year 6 Book Club!
At our school, we prioritise reading aloud to our children and every class has a Class Reader that is read to them every day. We love these times as a class! We are grateful to the PTFA, who have provided us with money to buy class sets of many of the books we read, which really adds to the enjoyment and value of these reading times. Our whole-school Zoom Storytime has also been a highlight over the last couple of years – ask any of the children about Scaredy Squirrel! Currently, as a school, we are really enjoying Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Of course, one of the highlights of every year is World Book Day. Once again, we all had great fun dressing up and we had some fantastic entries into our annual competition. This year the challenge was to design a brand-new book cover for your favourite book and some of our winners were…
Reading Sessions – How do we teach reading at Prestbury St. Mary’s Junior School?
Children across the school have at least three taught reading sessions a week, primarily focusing on developing comprehension skills. We use the VIPERS approach to teaching reading comprehension, which develops the children’s skills in being able to…
Sequence or Summarise
A wide range of texts are used in these sessions and they usually involve a lot of discussion and whiteboard work! Across the school, children also learn how to write their responses to what they have read. A further two sessions happen each week in every class. One of these give the children the opportunity to have an extended opportunity for reading for pleasure and the other focuses on other reading skills, such as reading aloud, performance etc., or allows the children to share information and learning through paired reading etc.
At the start of Year 3, whole-class phonics sessions may take place within these reading sessions, depending on the needs of the class. If it is judged that phonics does not need to be taught to the whole class, they will always be delivered through interventions and small-group sessions led by trained staff.
What if a child needs more help with their reading?
When children join us in Year 3, we work closely with the teachers at the Infant School to ensure that for any children needing additional support, that help is continued. If children join us from different schools, we carry out assessments to ensure we understand where they are as a reader and then implement any support, if it is necessary. As children journey up through our school, they are regularly assessed so we can act promptly if we have any concerns about how their reading is developing. If we have concerns about a child’s reading, we carry out a diagnostic assessment that allow us to identify the aspects of reading that they are finding challenging. These are then addressed through either individual or small-group interventions.
Having appropriate reading materials for children needing extra help is essential and we have fully-decodable books for those children that need them. We have also invested in a range of other reading materials, such as high-interest/low reading age books, graphic novels etc. to help us meet specific reading needs across the whole school.
Supporting reading at home
Reading regularly at home is essential! Every child is expected to read at least 4 times each week as homework and this should be recorded in their individual Reading Record. These Reading Records also contain lots of advice on how to support a child’s reading at home, so they are a great place to look if you are wanting further support.
If a child sometimes struggles to know what to read, we also have Recommended Reading Lists for each year group – links for these can be found below.
Most importantly, please remember that if you ever have any concerns about how your child is getting on with their reading, talk to their class teacher.