"Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope." — Kofi Annan
"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass
We want all children to leave The Priory able to express themselves and communicate confidently with a love for reading. High-quality texts are at the basis of our curriculum because books can entertain, educate and comfort. English is taught through Whole Class Reading lessons, Phonics lessons and English lessons.
We want all children to leave The Priory as fluent, enthusiastic and confident readers. Many books serve as the inspiration for Writing lessons, History, Geography and the wider curriculum.
Across the school, all children are read to in daily storytimes and each classroom has a well-stocked ‘Book Nook’ with a wide range of children’s books to choose from. In addition, all children are heard reading at least once a week by an adult.
What children say about Reading at The Priory
I like that books allow me to feel safe in another world.
Year 4 child
I love reading plot twists. It makes me want to read on!
Year 6 child
I love that you can learn facts and interesting new words.
Year 5 child
I like how books help me picture things in my head.
Year 3 child
Phonics is “making connections between the sounds of our spoken words and the letters that are used to write them down.” (Little Wandle).
From Nursery, children are taught to read using the Synthetic Systematic Phonics scheme, Little Wandle, which has been approved by the Department of Education. All children in Early Years and Key Stage One will be taught to read using phonics. Children in Year 3 and beyond who are early readers will continue to receive phonics and early reading support through the Little Wandle scheme.
Phonics lessons are daily and fast-paced with sessions lasting between 20 and 30 minutes.
In addition to this, children in Reception and Year 1 will take part in guided group reading sessions with up to 6 children led by a trained member of staff. During these sessions, they will focus on decoding, reading fluency and comprehension.
Below you will find videos to demonstrate how each sound taught in Reception should be pronounced and a guide to how we teach children to blend sounds to read.
More information on how to support your child with phonics can be found on the Little Wandle website here.
Whole Class Reading Lessons
From Years 2 - 6, all children will take part in Whole Class Reading sessions.
Whole Class Reading texts are chosen carefully by teachers to promote inclusion and diversity. Texts include class novels, non-fiction texts, extracts of novels and picture books. All texts provide opportunities for extended discussion and to teach reading skills which pupils can then use in their own independent reading.
Whole Class reading lessons will cover three main areas:
- Fluency and prosody
- Clarifying unknown vocabulary
Progression of skills map
Fluency is an integral part to the teaching of Reading.
We teach this through:
- Echo reading (repeating the phrasing of the teacher)
- Choral reading (everyone reads at the same pace)
- Performance reading (children are given time to perform their reading)
- Independent reading
- Paired reading
- It is important that children stop and clarify unknown words and this is a key part of our Whole Class Reading lessons. Some strategies we teach to clarify unknown words:
- Identify the words
- Associate with other known words
- Look at the word in context
- Use a dictionary
- Ask a buddy
- Use it in a sentence
- Match images and words
- Vocabulary walls referred to in classrooms
In Whole Class Reading sessions, pupils will tackle a range of question types, including predicting, summarising and sequencing. Using the CLPE’s questioning strands all reading sessions will include a mixture of looking, clue and thinking questions.
Every week children will have the opportunity in class to read for pleasure. During this time they will be able to choose any book from their class Book Nook to read and enjoy. This is a protected time which is important for children to develop a love of reading and a greater understanding of their own reading interests.
Reading at home
Research shows that children who read often and for enjoyment have better educational and life outcomes, therefore we ask all children to read every day while at The Priory. From Reception, every child is given a reading diary to record the books they take home from school and what they have read.
Nagy & Herman, 1987
In Early Years and Key Stage One, children will take two books home:
- a reading practice book matched to the child’s phonic stage that they can read independently. The children should be able to read the practice book with developing confidence and fluency without any significant help.
- a sharing book that they can talk about and enjoy with their grown ups at home.
In Key Stage 2, we have also introduced 'book clubs' where groups of children will be given the same book to read at home to encourage wide discussion with their peers and a shared passion for reading.
Book suggestions for each year group:
Every term, children’s reading is assessed through written comprehension tests. In Reception and Year 1, children will be assessed on their Phonics knowledge every 6 weeks.
We use the CLPE reading scales to support the progression of reading at The Priory.
- Phonics Screening, Year 1
- Reading SATs, (May) Year 2 & Year 6
Our vision is for all children to be able to express themselves and communicate their ideas with the world. We aim to promote a love of writing at The Priory and equip children with skills to write across a range of genres and text types. Children enjoy English lessons and look forward to sharing their written ideas.
What children say about Writing at The Priory
I like writing because you can make up your own stories.
Year 2 child
English is my favourite subject. I like that we get to learning different stories and learn about lots of different cultures.
Year 3 child
English is fun because we get to do different styles of writing like diary entries and poetry. You can write stories and be creative.
Year 4 child
I like discovering new books and new ways of writing. You can enjoy books which are completely different and have nothing to do with each other.
Year 5 child
How we teach Writing
Central to the teaching of writing at The Priory is high-quality texts. Each unit will begin with an exploration of a new book where children are immersed in the story and explore the themes in the book through role play, music, art and writing. Children will then complete a First Author of Work where they showcase what they know about a particular genre of writing.
Throughout the topic, they will develop the skills and create their own version of the text. They are taught to edit and redraft their writing, just as real authors do!
Each unit will end with a Final Author at Work which is an independent piece of writing of the genre the children have been studying. Children will often have real-life purposes for this Final Author. They may be published into books, letters sent to public figures or posters used around the school.
In each unit of work we follow three phases:
Click on the titles below to see what enrichment activities we have been up to.