At St. Augustine's, it is our vision to create a community where children can express and communicate confidently with others; developing their character and enabling them to flourish together. We aim to develop a lifelong love and passion for reading and writing by exposing them to a wide range of quality authors and genres.
English and Literacy contribute to the whole school curriculum by developing our children's’ abilities to speak, listen, read and write for a wide range of purposes and audiences, using language to learn and communicate ideas, viewpoints and feelings.
The children in our school will be taught in a safe, secure and stimulating environment enabling them all to achieve their fullest potential in the areas of English. Every child will be revered and respected as part of our school family and loved and valued as one of God’s children.
Please click on the images below to view a larger version.
For further information on how English is organised in our school, please see our English policy. Keep on reading to see what reading and writing looks like at St. Augustine's!
We value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to ensuring that our children develop a lifelong love and passion for reading by exposing them to a wide range of high-quality genres and authors. We believe that reading contributes to the whole school curriculum and is key to academic success. The pupils in our school will be taught in a safe, secure and stimulating environment enabling them all to flourish as readers. The teaching of reading in our school is coherently planned through the use of our systematic, synthetic phonics programme (Letters and Sounds). We support the learning journeys of all children, through a continuous cycle of planning, teaching and assessment to ensure that by the time our children leave us, they are competent and confident readers, ready for the next stage of their life.
All members of our teaching team are well trained to deliver: high-quality phonics sessions, guided reading sessions, one-to-one reading sessions, shared reading and interventions where necessary. They respond and adapt their teaching to ensure our children are stretched and challenged and to identify those children who may require additional support. Our school houses high-quality texts and reading resources in a range of settings to ensure children have the resources and opportunities to apply and develop their reading skills.
Through the teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics, our aim is for our children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This is evidenced through our phonics screening results in which our children always achieve very well in. From this, our children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments. We promote reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum. Children speak positively bout reading and enjoy reading as part of their daily lives. They relish the idea of exploring a new book together or independently and understanding the importance of reading as a lifelong skill.
At our school, the children are provided with a rich and varied range of texts to read at home and at school to practice and apply their reading knowledge and skills. They are encouraged to read a wide range texts - fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts - to support and consolidate their understanding of word reading and their comprehension skills.
Our reading scheme is fully book banded in line with age-related expectations (EYFS, KS1 and KS2) with explicit links to reading ages and the letters and sounds phases. We use the Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) as the main reading scheme to teach, assess and engage our children as readers. However, this is supplemented with a range of other high-quality schemes that feed directly into our book banding system outlined above. ORT offers children a range of strategies for them to develop as well as the opportunity to discover a strategy that best suits their learning needs. Some of these include, systematic phonics, contextual clues and sight vocabulary. ORT's well-loved characters, breadth and enrichment makes reading engaging, fruitful and enjoyable. The way our books are organised is vital to the way we teach our children to read and this is something we are currently implementing. We aim to have two main categories that our books fall into: 'Fully Decodables' and 'Share with Me' books. From the book bands 'pink' to 'lime', we aim to have a selection of fully-decodable books on offer for our children. These are to be kept separate from the rest of our scheme and are utilised by the EYFS and KS1 staff as they implement and teach our phonics programme. Or, they are to be used by children from Y2-Y4 who may require additional support with their reading skills. Our 'Share with Me' range is fully accessible by everyone in school and aims to provide richer reading opportunities. These texts are not fully-decodable and should always be read with an adult at home or at school. But they provide our children with the opportunity to practise and consolidate their word reading skills through phonically-based texts and to deepen their comprehension skills through engaging and rich texts.
Our aim with the reading books we provide is to:
- Teach - using systematic, synthetic phonics (Letters and Sounds) with books that consolidate and embed this.
- Practise - with fully decodable books linked to the children's phase in phonics.
- Offer richer reading - through a huge selection of stories and text types within our 'Share with Me' range.
- Make and evidence progress - through the carefully banded texts.
- Support parents - with engaging stories and texts that are accessible for all.
- Allow children the opportunity to choose their own texts within their reading level to promote and encourage excitement around books.
At St. Augustine's CE Academy (Early Years, KS1 and KS2), phonic and reading skills are are reinforced in all lessons where appropriate, and pupils are encouraged to apply their phonic knowledge in all areas of the curriculum and in their independent work. Explicitly, within The Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1, high-quality systematic, synthetic phonic work (following the Letters and Sounds Programme) makes sure that pupils learn:
- grapheme/phoneme (letter/sound) correspondences (the alphabetic principle) in a clearly defined, incremental sequence;
- to apply the highly important skill of blending (synthesising) phonemes, in order, all through a word to read it;
- to apply the skills of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell;
- that blending and segmenting are reversible processes.
Through daily systematic and synthetic teaching of phonics we revisit, teach, practise and review a variety of ability-related phonemes and their grapheme/phoneme correspondents, spelling rules and common exception words (for both reading and spelling). Incremental progression in phonic knowledge and skills is regularly assessed by staff to track children's progress, assess for further learning and ensure that accurate intervention is implemented wherever necessary. The school reading scheme begins in Nursery. Our children take home picture books to encourage them to be able to tell a story using appropriate language, developing a growing bank of tier 2 and 3 vocabulary. When the children are ready to progress, they will take home books that contain decodable words for them to practise their learning from class sessions. In Reception, Year 1 and beyond (if required), children take home reading books appropriate to their level of phonic and reading ability, containing decodable words that they can segment the sounds and blend them together independently. These books perfectly match the level of phonics being taught in their sessions (through our 'Fully Decodable' and 'Share with Scheme'), so they are not accessing books which they cannot.
As children progress through the reading scheme throughout their time at school, more high frequency and tricky words, different genres and levels of difficulty are introduced (as set out in the'Reading Books at Our School' section). This scheme has books at each level up to 'Burgundy' (Year 6), where the pupils are accessing a range of genres and texts including classics and poetry.
Support for Spelling
During Year 2, children who have passed the phonic screening check progress onto recapping Phase 5 as required and then move onto spelling rules. This is further developed and consolidated as the children move through Years 3 and 4 (where we follow the National Curriculum expectations for SPaG). All of our children have the opportunity to learn spelling strategies that are highlighted and put into context during their reading. If there is a particular spelling rule the class are developing, seeing it in action in a text (through whole class guided reading or individual reading) further reiterates and encourages the children to apply that particular rule in their writing and when they are thinking like a writer for the reader. As with all of our teaching and learning at ST. Augustine's CE Academy, if children fall behind in their phonics and spelling development, this is recognised by the staff and through regular, planned intervention strategies and support from home, systems are put in place to allow each child the opportunity to catch up with their peers.
At St Augustine’s, we have wonderful and inspiring spaces for our children to get lost in a world of books and high-quality texts! Both the staff and the children pride themselves on ensuring these areas are well cared for and enjoyed by all!
Each classroom has its own reading area or reading corner. The class teachers ensure that their reading corner is filled with high-quality texts from a range of engaging and inspiring authors and across a range of genres, appropriate for the age of the children in their class. Books linked to the history, geography, science or wider curriculum topics are also selected and displayed within the class reading corners. This is all to inspire children's desire to read and instill a love for all books and for reading. These areas provide the children with the richer reading experiences we aim to provide!
We also have exciting reading spaces outside of the classroom too! Our library has recently been renovated as part of the Early Years and wrap around care space and is freely accessible by all of the children in our school every single day! On a Tuesday and Thursday each week, Mrs Platts (one of our wonderful volunteers) comes into school as our librarian! She motivates and inspires the children to read a range of texts and they all speak so warmly about her and how she makes reading exciting for all! Once a month, Mrs Platts also takes the KS2 children to visit the mobile library which parks on our school grounds! The children in Class 3 are always eager and excited to swap their books for new ones and the experience of having access to a library service outside of school fills each of them with joy! As well as these amazing services we can provide, we also have our outdoor reflective space and our teepee in the school hall which also act as calm and reflective spaces for our children to read and enjoy their books as part of their richer reading experiences!
Reading experiences for our children are implemented throughout the whole of our curriculum. Within English and Guided Reading, children are exposed to key texts across a variety of genres and from a variety of high-quality authors. This is to allow our children to become writers through the eyes of a reader. The texts we explore stimulate and inspire all we do in English and Guided Reading: reading, group work, discussions, debates, role-play etc. However, reading is not limited to English and Guided Reading sessions, it is promoted and integrated in the whole of our curriculum. Through internet research skills during computing, geography or history, key texts explicitly linked to our history, geography or science units, mastery-style questioning in Mathematics, secondary sources for historical enquiry, research when thinking scientifically, theological underpinning during RE and to support our whole-school performances are just a few of the reading opportunities life at St. Augustine's provides!
This year we will be holding a number of family reading mornings. As a school, we believe support from home plays a vital part in ensuring that your child is a happy and confident reader and writer. Reading with your child and as a family is a special time, where you can foster a love for reading and books that can last a lifetime! These mornings in school will provide you with the opportunity to read with your child(ren) and their friends. We will always provide a wide range of books for you to choose from. But remember, you can also bring your own favourite book(s) from home to share with your child(ren).
Our dates for this year are: Friday 18th October at 9:10am, Friday 24th January at 9:10am and a further date TBC for the summer term.
This year, we have also asked the children and their friends and family to take part in our 'Sponsored Read'! As a school, we believe we need to provide the highest quality resources to allow our children to flourish as young readers. This includes reading books that link to the child's stage in phonics and books that allow our children to apply their phonic and spelling knowledge to a range of texts. We also want to provide a range of books that allow for richer reading experiences at school and at home.
Our sponsored read ran for two weeks and our second family reading morning acted as the grande finale! The children were tasked with setting themselves a 'reading challenge' and asking their friends, family and whoever wanted to take part if they would sponsor them to take on and smash their challenge. The children had a sponsorship form and a reading log to fill in with their parents to show how they had achieved their goal. Over two weeks, we came together as a school and proved that anything is possible as we raised an eye-watering £450 (at the last count!)! This will go an awful long way in funding new books for our already fantastic reading scheme - so a huge thank you to all of you that got involved!
We also take part in World Book Day every year and we ask everyone in school (children and adults alike!) to come to school dressed as their favourite book characters. Each child takes home a book voucher, which entitles them to £1 off a brand new book, a sticker to show they were involved in the world's biggest celebration of books! It is always a fantastic day to show our love for books and for reading by celebrating all types of text and their authors: poetry, non-fiction, adventure tales, spooky tales, nursery rhymes, traditional tales, comics, mystery, comedy, the classics and everything in between!
Just a quick update about our reading awards. They were starting to feel a little dated and we wanted to give them an uplift to cater for the wishes and needs of all of families. I have created a new ‘Reading Passport’. Each half term, the children will receive a fresh passport to try and fill with reading stamps. They can earn stamps by reading at home and then showing their class teacher their reading record or talking to them about how they read at home. I know some children read with siblings or take it in turns to read to a parent and then listen to their parent read – all beautiful ways to celebrate and promote reading, which we want to recognise! They can also earn stamps by reading beautifully in school with an adult, as a reward for reading related work (such as phonics or whole class guided reading), or by being a book ambassador (by loving and caring for all books and being a true book worm!).
We understand that times are tough and juggling everything at home, including finding time to read regularly together can be tricky. We wanted to give every child in our school family the opportunity to shine with their reading at home, at school or both! We hope that the New Year brings new hope and that our reading passport will be the perfect way to inspire the children to work hard with all aspects of their reading!
As always, thank you for your continued support,
Miss Cashmore 😊.
Click here to read our English Policy
Click here to read our Early Years Policy