Benedict Biscop Prince Bishop School Teaching Alliance Leading School
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Early Reading

At St. Peter’s Elwick Primary School, we strive to ensure that all children become successful, fluent readers by the end of key stage one and believe this is achievable through a combination of strong, high quality, discrete systematic phonics teaching combined with a whole language approach that promotes a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ culture. Being able to read is the most important skill children will learn during their early schooling and has far-reaching implications for lifelong learning and well-being.

The independent review of early reading conducted by Jim Rose confirmed that ‘high quality phonic work’ should be the prime means for teaching children how to read and spell words. The review also highlighted the importance of developing from the earliest stages children’s speaking and listening skills, ensuring that beginner readers are ready to get off to a good start in phonic work. Such work should be set within a broad and rich language curriculum. This approach is in alignment with our belief that we first ‘learn to read’ and then ‘read to learn’ and is reflected in our Early Reading Policy.

We teach early reading using a discrete, systematic synthetic phonic approach using the Letters and Sounds guidance across foundation stage and key stage one – this is supported by teachers using mnemonics and actions to support children’s learning of the grapheme and phoneme correspondences from Read, Write, Inc. and Jolly Phonics. Alongside this guidance we use a range of phonically decodable texts that are well matched to the current reading stage of each child.

We believe the importance of getting children off to a good start with reading cannot be overstated. The teaching of Early Reading starts from Nursery here at St. Peter’s Elwick. The activities in Phase One that exemplify this approach are set out in seven aspects as described in our Early Reading Policy.

We understand that key features of a rich curriculum which are essential to Phase One and beyond are the range and depth of language experienced by the children. We exploit the power of story, rhyme (including ‘nursery rhyme of the week’), drama and song to fire children’s imagination and interest, thus encouraging them to use language copiously.

During the teaching of Phase 1 our children receive story sacks to share at home which include quality stories, non-fiction books and resources to support their development of the love of reading and fire their imagination and interest.

All children are monitored and tracked using the school tracking sheets for ‘knowledge of the code and skills assessment’ and common exception word assessment. If a child is not on track to meet the half termly expectations, personalised additional session and strategies are provided as well as continuing the systematic daily phonics sessions. Resulting in quality, informed progression bespoke to learner needs and abilities.

Children who have not met expectations in their phonics screening throughout Key Stage One are monitored and personalised provision is provided for them to be able to access an alternative reading programme such as RWI.

For further information please see our Early Reading Policy.


Love of Reading

At St. Peter’s Elwick Church of England Primary School, reading is loved and encouraged. In fact, we are a community of readers!

Why is reading for pleasure so important?

Research tells us that there reading for pleasure improves life chances (OESD, 2009), educational outcomes (Sullivan and Brown, 2013) and has a positive impact on mental wellbeing (The Reading Agency 2015)

We know that children’s reading fluency, the availability of quality material and suitable spaces as well as teacher and peer recommendations all have a significant impact on whether children choose to read for pleasure.

‘I love reading with my sister.’

KS1 pupil 2019

Power of Reading

We us the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education’s Power of Reading to support our teaching of reading and writing across school. Children engage with high quality texts, delving deep into the characters and themes of the texts they study. This reading then inspires fantastic written work and responses.

‘Reading gives me great ideas for writing. It helps my spelling, vocabulary and punctuation.’

KS2 Pupil 2019

Bug Club

Children has access to Bug Club to develop their reading fluency. Children can access a wide range of fiction and information texts in paper or online form. Children read to an adult in school and are encouraged to read at home as well. Our Reading Records help us to communicate between home and school.

Author of the Term

Children in Early Years to Year 4 have an ‘Author of the Term’. We enjoy reading the variety of texts these authors have created and learn about these in more detail. Our pupils tell us that that the Author of the Half Term helps them to find books and authors they love.

‘Room On The Broom is my favourite book.’

EYFS pupil 2019

Reading Passports

Children in Y5/6 have a Reading Passport. These passports encourage children to broaden their reading diet across a range of genres and styles as well as giving them opportunity to re-visit prior learning through a selection of carefully chosen non-fiction texts.

‘I like it when my teacher reads because her expressions and funny voices that she uses when she reads are awesome.’

KS2 pupil 2019

Story Sacks

In Early Years we have amazing story sacks. These are taken home by the children and shared with parents/relatives/carers and encourage book talk and sharing books with families.

Reading Dogs

Maisie and Annie are two special visitors who come to our schools with their owner Mrs. Yuill. These special visitors are our reading dogs. They listen to the children read to them and enjoy nothing more than story and a cuddle with the children! Reading to Masie and Annie help to develop reading confidence and expression.

Library Visits and Librarians

Children in KS1 and lower KS2 visit the Central Library in Hartlepool – strengthening our love of reading, accessing an even wider range of texts and teaching children how to use their local library and its range of services.

In addition, our schools have their own librarians. These children work very hard to ensure our libraries are a welcoming space. They organise books, change class books ready for their topics and help children to choose books to read for pleasure.

Visiting Authors

Author, Stephanie Matthews came into school to share her book ‘Frank The Sawfish’ with the children.

‘Reading makes dreams come true’

KS2 pupil 2019

Our Values and Ethos

Christian teachings play a large part in the daily goings on at St Peter's

Friendship & Trust




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