Reading for Pleasure
At Holy Family Catholic Primary School, we want to give children a curriculum that promotes a passion and curiosity for learning where ‘Only the Best is Good Enough’. It is our vision that each child fulfils their potential, regardless of their background or circumstances, in a safe, stimulating and caring environment. We aim to develop a love of learning inspired by quality teaching, foster high aspirations and encourage positive self-esteem.
We believe that reading is a vital skill that will support children’s learning across the whole curriculum. As a school, we want to ensure that our children are taught to read with fluency, accuracy and understanding through a variety of discreet and cross-curricular learning opportunities. Above all, it is our intention that children in our school will become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers. We want ALL children to enjoy and love reading.
Our English curriculum is based largely on the study of, and response to, a wide variety of complete published texts which have been specially selected to engage and excite our pupils. Through these texts, as well as additional enhancements, we intend to provide plenty of immersive, real life opportunities in order to make learning meaningful. We believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to ensure reading and writing are transferable skills across the wider curriculum. Also, through reading and responding to these texts, we intend to develop our pupils culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
Learning to read Reading to learn Reading to enjoy
In our school, we strive to give pupils a stimulating environment, where reading materials are presented in an attractive and inviting way. Not only do we teach our pupils the skills needed to read, we want to ignite a love of literature within them. Books are well loved throughout our school and our staff are true advocates of reading. We teach reading through a variety of ways, these include phonics, guided reading sessions, shared reading and independent reading. Our children understand that we can gain a lot from a love of books and they can bring a great deal of enjoyment to us. They are also aware that books give us an insight into many topics and they provide us with new perspectives.
We also aim to provide plenty of opportunities for our children to read for pleasure in order to develop all children’s love and appreciation of literature and therefore foster a life-long love of reading and building a reading culture throughout the school.
Dedicated Reading Areas
The reading areas in each classroom are designed to be inviting for the children to have frequent access to. Each classroom library hold a variety of genres, picture books, short chapter stories and longer novels to increase our pupil’s literacy related skills, vocabulary, comprehension and writing. These, alongside our school library, are accessible, welcoming places that are stocked with good-quality, appropriate books. We aim to promote and include a range of books within the curriculum as well as the opportunity for sustained reading from a range of self-chosen texts from our school library and classroom areas.
All of our books are displayed attractively in our classrooms, library and corridors where browsing, choosing and reading can take place on a daily basis. Powerful stories engage children, stir ideas and excite the reader’s interest and imagination.
To further inspire reading in children, we also:
- Invest heavily in reading resources that children will want to read and re-read.
- Promote books we think the children might enjoy or find interest in.
- Make use of interactive displays.
- Encourage parents and carers to spend time reading with their child.
- Have members of staff who are excellent reading role models. They lead by example, creating an environment that promotes reading.
We have introduced ‘Holy Family Recommended Reads’ across our school. Each class, from Nursery to Year 6, have ten books as part of their recommended reading list, which they are encouraged to read or be read to throughout the school year. These books range from picture books, short chapter books, to longer novels for the children to read. It is our intention that by the time children leave our school, they will have been
On days such as World Book Day, we set aside the school timetable and really celebrate books. This year, we celebrated together as a whole school to read ‘The Barnabus Project’ written by the Fan Brothers. The children explored many different themes and held excellent book talks around this book. This also sparked an interest in reading other stories written by the authors. For WBD, the children had a choice to dress up as their favourite book character or to come into school in pyjamas, to be ‘cosy’ with their favourite book. This caused an excitement in and around the school, especially as we hosted a costume parade during an assembly.
Our school promotes the engagement and support from parents and carers by working in partnership through workshops. Our ‘Breakfast with Books’ enable parents to share reading books with their child and maintain a love of reading with their child. This has proven to be very successful and enjoyable.
In addition, we run Phonics meetings throughout the year where parents can receive further support and advice in helping their child to read.
We also use our school twitter account to celebrate achievements, as well as sharing books recommended by the children each week during our Superstar assembly.
Peer mentoring is a powerful, underused tool in schools. One study suggests that partnering peers can have a positive influence on a student’s learning, and students who are older, more capable readers can be these peers for young students. With this in mind, we at Holy Family have introduced Book Buddies. This allows younger readers to see what being fluent looks like as they have a peer model demonstrating reading skills; they can also acquire a positive role model with some intentional pairing. The older children develop social and emotional skills like patience and empathy as they work with their younger buddies. This program of cooperative learning is a great way for us to build community in the school and to further promote a love of reading.