Reading opens doors to an abundance of opportunities. It provides children with adventure, escapism and enriches their vocabulary ready for writing. Such a vital life skill is at the heart of the curriculum and is the key to unlocking future success. Reading at the St Gregory's is a high priority, not only for the children but for the staff too. Reading role models are an important influence to aspiring young readers. Having the opportunity to share enjoyment with the written word helps to promote an engagement with books and foster a love of reading.
At St. Gregory’s we create “life-long learners.” We strive to ensure that all pupils are taught to read with fluency, accuracy and understanding.
Reading Pupil Voice
"The books that we are able to choose from the school library are fun and interesting. We have lots of fiction and non fiction books to choose from."
"I really enjoy stories being read to me by my class teacher. The stories that are read in class are really interesting and help me understand my topic more. We are currently reading Rose Blanche by Christophe Gallaz and Roberto Innocenti; this book has helped me to understand and imagine what it would have been like to have lived during World War 2."
" I really enjoy doing Friday favourites. I read a book that my friend recommended during this time and it was one of the best books I have ever read."
This begins with our English Curriculum. We want our pupils to become confident readers who read for pleasure. We strive that all our pupils have a love of language and are confident public speakers. Furthermore, we endeavour to develop the “writer’s voice “within every pupil across all abilities and experiences. We have worked hard to provide our children with rich and varied learning opportunities that help them to become confident and enthusiastic learners. We want our children to have a positive attitude towards communication and to be able to independently express their emotions and their ideas. Through our English Curriculum, we strive to teach the children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world. Our curriculum develops key life skills which ensures, confidence, independence and resilience.
Foundation Stage 1
At the earliest stage, children are exposed to stories, rhymes and picture books which will ignite their interest and enjoyment of reading for pleasure. Under the direction of the class teacher, children are introduced to phonics at the earliest opportunity, through daily, structured activities through a range of interesting and lively activities. Pupil progress is assessed and monitored through small group activities delivered by experienced, trained early years practitioners. The teaching of phonics, as the sole route to decoding, remains a fundamental strategy to enable pupils to decode unfamiliar words. Sight word vocabulary and key words are introduced within a language enriched environment so that children are exposed to common, familiar words which they encounter in everyday life. Children’s progress is continually assessed and reviewed so that each child is grouped and taught at the appropriate phonics phase. Phonic books may be sent home at the discretion of the class teacher, once children are ready to practise at home. In addition, story and picture books are also sent home to develop children’s interest and enjoyment of reading.
Foundation Stage 2
As children’s interest and fluency develops, reading materials are sent home to nurture children’s enjoyment and develop reading fluency. Systematic teaching of phonics continues on a daily basis in Foundation 2. Children are taught according to their phonics stage of learning.
Key Stage 1
In year 1, children will be encouraged to develop a keen interest in reading and be confident in their attempts to decode new or unfamiliar words to become more fluent. By the end of the year, all pupils will complete a national, statutory phonics screening which will be formally recorded and reported to parents. The use of sight word vocabulary will be expanded for pupils who are secure in their knowledge of decoding, with a further emphasis on independent reading interests and choices. Children are expected to practise daily so that they develop fluency and expression when reading aloud.
In year 2, children are involved in the ' Accelerated Reading’ programme which continues until the end of year 6. This initiative is used to foster an interest in enjoyment of reading for pleasure. Children are expected to complete a ‘quiz’ when completing a story, and gain points which are recorded. The use of rewards for ‘Reader Achiever’ provides further incentive for independent reading. Daily phonics sessions continue for all children who have not achieved the expected level in year 1, under the direction of the class teacher, or specialist staff. Parents will be kept informed through regular reports from the class teacher. By the end of year 2, all children are expected to be competent in phonics.
In addition to the daily phonic session, all children are taught reading skills by the class teacher during planned, weekly guided reading sessions. These will focus on reading comprehension skills, reading for information and research skills. In addition, teaching support assistants, or trained adult volunteers, will listen to individual readers over the course of the week, with an aim to ensure every child reads with an adult at home or at school every day.
Key Stage 2
The strong emphasis on learning to read remains the premise for reading to learn. Weekly guided reading activities are planned and differentiated for small groups under the direction of the class teacher. Additional activities are planned, including reading comprehension, research and the teaching of higher- order reading skills. Teaching support staff will be deployed by the class teacher to support individuals requiring additional support, or small groups. Support staff are expected to sign the diary when listening to children read. All pupils are expected to read daily, at home, to practise and reinforce their reading skills, pace and fluency.
We want to encourage a genuine love of reading and believe that this will extend and stretch our children’s ability to learn across the whole curriculum. A love of books, words and reading for the simple pleasure of it is vital for children to become life-long learners. As such, every class places a high emphasis on ‘Reading for Pleasure’ each day where books are read together, discussed and enjoyed as a group.
The purpose of a Guided Reading session is to deepen children’s inferential, retrieval and decoding skills. Children are placed into similar ability groups, which are reviewed on a regular basis. The text chosen for a given guided reading session challenges the group in terms of meaning and word difficulty.
Guided reading takes place outside of the standard English lesson. There is a balance of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts chosen for guided reading sessions. Some texts may link with wider genres being taught in English or other areas of the curriculum so that children are able to develop their love of reading, reading skills and knowledge across a range of subject areas.
This is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Your child picks a book at their own level and reads it at their own pace. When finished, your child takes a short quiz on the computer. (Passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read.) Accelerated Reader gives children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.
Children using Accelerated Reader choose their own books to read, rather than having one assigned to them. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them.
Teachers help children to choose books at an appropriate readability level that are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that your child can pass the quiz and experience success.
If your child does not do well on the quiz, the teacher may help your child:
- Choose another book that is more appropriate.
- Ask more probing questions as your child reads and before your child takes a quiz.
- Pair your child with another student, or even have the book read to your child.
In most cases, children really enjoy taking the quizzes. Since they’re reading books at their reading and interest levels, they are more likely to be successful. This is satisfying for most children. Best of all, they learn and grow at their own pace.
Range of Texts
At St Gregory’s Catholic Academy, we encourage children to read widely and often. Below is a collection of key texts that have been carefully selected for the children to access in class throughout the year. Texts are selected to ensure children have access to a wide range of books appropriate to their year group. Other poems, fiction and non-fiction texts are used to further enrich the collection.
Reading Enrichment Activities
The promotion of reading for enjoyment and learning is expected to be a continuous process for every child, in every year group. Many enrichment opportunities take place within school including:
Summer Reading Challenges
The Stoke 100 Reads Project was launched in February 2017 by The National Literacy Trust This project promotes a love of reading across the city and encourages parents and children to read together. In the Summer Term of 2020, all schools in Stoke On Trent worked together to reignite and reinvigorate this project, with the launch of a 25 Reading for Pleasure Challenge. The challenge comprised of schools undertaking innovative ways of promoting reading for pleasure. It is a pleasure to announce that out of all of the schools taking part in Stoke On Trent St Gregory’s Catholic Academy WON! For first prize we were giving a £500 cheque to spend on books. In 2022, we took part in the competition again and won for a second time!
All children at St Gregory's have access to Longton Library whether this is through visits to the library or Longton librarians visiting the school. All children from FS2 - Year 6 have had the opportunity to visit the library for story time. Children from Year 2 - Year 6 also visit the library on a half termly basis to borrow books.
The visits have created a real buzz around reading and it is great to see children accessing such a valuable service in the community.
'I can't believe we can take books home for free!' (Year 3 child)
'There are so many books here that I haven't read yet!' (Year 5 child)
'I can't wait to get back to school and start reading!' (Year 4 child)
Year 5 and 6 take part in poetry club. During poetry club, children have the opportunity to read aloud new poems and create their own. The club entered a local poetry competition and won! As a result of winning all of the members of the Poetry Club and Reading Ambassadors enjoyed a trip to the local theatre to watch the performance 'Beauty and the Beast'. After the production, the children were lucky enough to meet the cast and asked them questions. See the link below for the winning poem.
Due to our fabulous links with the local library, Year 5 were invited to take part in a workshop with the author Jamie Smith. Children found out the process undertaken by Jamie when planning and writing his stories and were able to ask Jamie questions about what life is like as an author. For taking part in the workshop the library kindly presented us with some free books to put in our school library!
A selection of pupils from key Stage 2 support reading in Key Stage 1 on a regular basis. During this session, they share their love of reading with the Key Stage 1 children, listen to them read to improve fluency and help them to choose books from the library that they will enjoy.
Reading Week is a fabulous event for the whole school to come together to celebrate their love of reading. This year many events took place throughout school including: both children and staff dressing up as their favourite book character for World Book Day; reading assembly held by Senior Stoke On Trent Librarian Amy Capewell; peer reading; Poetry Workshop, with Birmingham Young Poet Laureate Matt Windle; and teachers swapping classes to read to children in a different key stage!
Amy Capewell, Stoke On Trent Senior Librarian:
I just wanted to send a quick message to thank you for inviting Stoke-on-Trent Libraries to be a part of St Gregory’s Reading Week.
As the Senior Librarian I am always heartened by the passion and energy that the school has for reading and promoting reading for pleasure with its students.
It was a pleasure to come into school on Monday and deliver assemblies across both key stages to launch your reading week – all the children listened beautifully and really engaged well with the information that I shared and the story that I read. I hope that my session helped to set the tone for the week ahead and encourage all children to be readers (and ‘book gardeners’!)
Amy Capewell | Senior Librarian: Outreach, Engagement and Information Services
Unsure what book to read? Have a look at some of our book reviews below:
Teachers Story Time
Every day your child will listen to a story being read to them by an adult in their class. Come and listen to your teachers reading some of their favourite stories...
Grandparents Story Time
As a school we recognise that reading is an important activity for home as well as for school. In order to encourage reading for pleasure in the home, grandparents are invited to come in and read to their grandchildren in Nursery. This is a fabulous activity enjoyed by both grandparents and children.
Reading at Home
There is no more important activity for preparing your child to succeed as a reader than reading aloud together. Fill your story times with a variety of books. Be consistent, be patient, and watch the magic work.
Reading with your child at home is one of the best things you can do to support their learning.
Here are our top tips to help parents encourage every child to develop a love of reading:
- Make time to read
- Let your child choose what to read
- Explore different reading materials
- Get the whole family involved
- Bring stories to life
- Create fun reading challenges at home
- Be positive
- Be a reading role model
- Share your reading success with school (sign/note in planner)
For a guide on how to read aloud with your child at home please follow the link below:
It's no secret that activities at home are an important supplement to the classroom, but there's more to it than that. There are things that parents can give children at home that the classrooms cannot give. Below are a list of story time websites and Apps to share with your children. Enjoy!
Unsure what books to read at home with your child? Click on the links below to find a recommended book list:
In order to access free eBooks to read at home follow the link below, click on Oxford Owl for home and register as a parent:
Cbbc Book Club
Every Sunday get involved with the CBBC Book Club. We want your reviews, comments about your favourite books, drawings of your favourite characters, suggestions for authors to speak to and your book selfies.
Story time Apps: