Reading at Canon Johnson
“Reading is the one ability that, once set in motion, has the capacity to feed itself, to grow exponentially, providing a base from which the possibilities are infinite." – Michael Morpurgo
English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
At Canon Johnson, we believe that every child has a right to access the very best education available to them - our children are immersed in a world of fun, exciting and magical English.
At Canon Johnson Primary School, we develop pupils’ abilities through a coherently planned English curriculum, which weaves together the strands of Speaking & Listening, Reading, Writing and SPaG. Our pupils will be given opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and understanding across all strands of the English Curriculum as well as within the Wider Curriculum. There will be opportunities to build on prior learning and revisit previous learning to help consolidate understanding. Our children will foster a ‘Love for Reading’ with high quality children’s literature at the centre of our English approach. A coherently planned book spine will help to further develop this love of reading as the children travel through our school.
Pupils at Canon Johnson Primary School will:
- Read with confidence, fluency and understanding and possess a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct
- Foster a love for reading
- Enjoy reading for pleasure – both in school and beyond
- Have an interest in words and their meanings and wider developing their vocabulary
- Experience and understand the features of a wide range of genres and text types
- Be given opportunities to write for a range of purposes, using a variety of forms, selecting the correct features when appropriate
- Be encouraged to be creative and imaginative in their approach
- Be able to articulate their opinion both clearly and conscientiously on their own and others work
10 Benefits of Reading
- Children who read often and widely get better at it – after all, practise makes perfect.
- Reading exercises our brain – Reading is a much more complex task for the human brain than for example, watching TV. Reading strengthens brain connections and builds new connections.
- Reading improves concentration.
- Reading teaches children about the world around them.
- Reading improves vocabulary and language.
- Reading develops a child’s imagination.
- Reading helps children to develop empathy – as children develop they begin to consider how they would feel if placed in certain situations.
- Reading is fun – dreaming with your eyes open!
- Reading is a great way to spend time together.
- Reading promotes achievement in all subjects.
In light of COVID, our English Curriculum and book spine have been amended. We have included a range of transition texts to target gaps in knowledge. We have also implemented the Reading Plus program from Y3-Y6 to build fluency and improve reading stamina. Additional reading sessions have been added to all timetables to accelerate progress and ensure all our children keep up.
Please see our current book spine, listing our whole class texts:
Read Write Inc
Read Write Inc., developed by Ruth Miskin, provides a structured and systematic approach to teaching literacy. It is used by more than a quarter of the UK's primary schools and is designed to create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.
Each Read Write Inc. programme meets the higher expectations of the new curriculum and uses effective assessment to accelerate every child's progress.
The Government strongly recommend the use of synthetic phonics when teaching early literacy skills to children. Synthetic phonics is simply the ability to convert a letter or letter group into sounds that are then blended together into a word.
Here at Canon Johnson, we are using the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their English. RWI is a method of learning based upon letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.
Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who can read more challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.
The children are assessed regularly and grouped according to their ability. They will work with a RWI trained teacher or teaching assistant.
When using RWI to read the children will:
- Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple prompts
- Learn to read words using sound blending (Fred talk)
- Read lively stories featuring words they have learnt to sound out
- Show that they comprehend the stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It'
When using RWI to write the children will:
- Learn to write the letter/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
- Learn to write words by saying the sounds and graphemes (Fred fingers)
When using RWI the children will also work in pairs:
- To answer questions
- To take turns talking and listening to each other
- To give positive praise to each other
Help your child learn to read words by sounding-blending (Fred talk) eg. c-a-t = cat, sh-o-p = shop. Children learn to read words by blending the letter-sounds that are in the Speed Sounds set (shown further down the page).
Help your child to say the pure sounds ('m' not 'muh', 's' not 'suh' etc.) as quickly as they can, and then blend the sounds together to say the whole word.
Reading Books Sent Home
Children in Reception who are learning the first 44 letter sounds and are not blending fluently will bring home sound sheets, picture books and a library book for you to read with them.
Once children can blend fluently and know the first 44 sounds they will bring home Ditty sheets or a red Ditty book and a bag book.
Read Write Inc Books
Please encourage your child to read though the speed sounds page first, then the green and red words page and then check your child understands the meaning of words on the vocabulary check page, before they start reading the book. Your child will have read this book at least three times before they bring it home. They should be able to read this book with fluency and expression by the time they bring it home and they should have a good comprehension of what the book is about. At the back of the book are find it/prove it questions for you to complete with your child.
Finally, don't worry if your child is struggling at first with their sounds and words, they will get there in their own time. If you have time (we know it is very precious!), we would urge you to try and read stories to your child before they go to bed. This will help develop a wider vocabulary which makes a vast difference to their quality of writing but it will also encourage them to enjoy a good story.
Pathways to Write and Whole Class Reading sessions follow on from RWInc*.
We follow a Mastery approach to English through the programme ‘Pathways to Write.’ Units of work are delivered using high quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for writing. Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the writing activities provided. Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are given through the Pathways to Write approach and this builds on the extensive work we do in school to provide our children with a rich and varied vocabulary.
At Canon Johnson Primary School, we are passionate about encouraging and developing a ‘Love of Reading’. Children from Nursery through to Year 6 experience class books being read to them by an adult. These texts have been coherently planned and sequenced, taking into account the wider curriculum, to ignite a passion for reading. Our reading spine lists all of these key texts. Our staff know and support the value of the ‘class novel/class story time’ and from Years 1 – 6, read for at least 10 minutes daily. Quality texts are at the centre of Pathways to Write provision and Whole Class Reading too. Children have free access to their Key Stage Library and Class Library which both contain books that they can take home. Within Class Libraries, copies of the ‘Top 10 Reads’ are available to foster a culture where children are challenged through reading age-appropriate texts. Children are given (as a minimum) weekly opportunities to change their library books. Our home reading scheme is current, structured and progressive: in KS1 this follows the RWInc. scheme and matches the sounds that have been taught; in KS2, books are banded and accurately matched to the child’s reading ability which corresponds to their reading age. Our books are banded through to the end of KS2 to ensure children are exposed to GDS grammatical structures and language.
Reading sessions throughout school focus on developing pupils' understanding of the reading domains:
Reading Content domain reference KS1:
- 1a draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts
- 1b identify / explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction texts, such as characters, events, titles and information
- 1c identify and explain the sequence of events in texts
- 1d make inferences from the text
- 1e predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far
Reading Content domain reference KS2:
- 2a give / explain the meaning of words in context
- 2b retrieve and record information / identify key details from fiction and non-fiction
- 2c summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph
- 2d make inferences from the text / explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text
- 2e predict what might happen from details stated and implied
- 2f identify / explain how information / narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole
- 2g identify / explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases
The partnership between school and home is important here at Canon Johnson Primary School. We encourage an open and honest relationship with all of our families and offer support and advice when necessary.
At Canon Johnson, we have a reward system reflecting the importance of daily reading.
Children receive certificates and prizes for gaining signatures within their reading records.
- 15 signatures: bronze certificate
- 30 signatures: silver certificate
- 50 signatures: gold certificate and a book of their choice from the ‘Top Ten Reads prize book box’
- 75 signatures: platinum certificate and a book of their choice from the ‘Top Ten Reads prize book box’
- 100 signatures: diamond certificate and a book of their choice from the ‘Top Ten Reads prize book box’
- 150 signatures: ‘reading hero award’ – children are placed in a raffle - prize = £50.00 voucher
Online platforms to support your child's reading:
Oxford Reading Buddy (ORB)
Every child at our school from reception has been signed up to Oxford Reading Buddy (ORB). ORB helps to maximise independent reading time at school and at home by giving every student a virtual reading coach.
It is underpinned by the latest research into comprehension teaching and learning, and is a unique new digital service that develops deeper comprehension skills and encourages students to read more.
Reading Plus not only assesses efficiency, but also measures and increases motivation and comprehension. Students are given choice and control to practice at their own pace with a program that uses adaptive technology in a truly meaningful way.
Children from Y3-Y6 access Reading Plus daily.
Top 10 Reads:
Here are recommended age-appropriate texts for all year groups: