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Reading Skills and Reading for Pleasure - Subject Leader: Mrs Melanie Haines

At St. Mark’s, reading is a high priority and is at the core of many curriculum areas. Children are presented with daily opportunities to read and listen to stories being read aloud.

We aim to create an environment that promotes reading as a socially engaging activity, to be valued and encouraged. This helps children develop a genuine love of reading and recognise the pleasure they can get from it.

Curriculum Overview

At St. Mark’s, we follow a clear, progressive scheme alongside the National Curriculum. Children learn in a 'language rich' environment across the school where a range of examples of print are displayed and quality texts are widely and freely available within our classrooms and our library. Wherever possible, planning is cross-curricular with quality literature as the starting point. This allows us to explore ambitious vocabulary across the curriculum to ensure children acquire an understanding of tricky language through knowledge organisers, vocabulary mats, working walls, displays and class discussion.

We are constantly working hard to raise the profile of reading within the school community and are currently considering ways in which our Reading for Pleasure ethos can be strengthened.

Early Reading: For more information about Early Reading, please go to our Phonics and Early Reading page.

Reading Books: In KS1, children’s reading books are carefully managed and matched to children’s current ability with a watchful eye on progression and challenge for all children.

As they move from Key Stage One to Key Stage Two, children’s reading ability is regularly monitored and, when they are considered sufficiently able, they will gradually begin to choose from a wider selection of reading books: from the class book corner, books from home, books from public lending libraries or from the array of books in our school library. Once children are independently choosing their own reading material, teachers will continue to monitor their choices to ensure children are challenging themselves and reading a range of genres and authors.

Individual Reading: Early Years and Key Stage One staff listen to individual children read on a weekly basis, and their home reading records are checked regularly, allowing staff to ensure children’s home reading books are correctly matched to their ability. Children are encouraged to reread texts to develop both fluency and comprehension.

In Key Stage Two, children who need additional support are identified and read with frequently in school on a 1:1 basis. Children are expected to complete a daily online reading diary at home which may also include a reading related task. We expect all children to read at home at least 5 times per week, for 10 minutes per day in Key Stage One rising to 15 minutes per day in Key Stage Two.


Guided Reading

Guided Reading: Guided Reading Sessions are planned by all teachers to teach a range of skills and techniques which enable children to comprehend the meaning of what they read and develop their understanding of the vocabulary and techniques used by authors. Guided Reading may either take place in small groups or, on occasions, as whole class sessions.

Reading for Pleasure

Our teachers are enthusiastic readers who are able to recommend books to suit the interests, tastes and needs of children and draw on this knowledge to inform their planning. Teachers share their own love of books and reading through regular discussions with children.

Teachers regularly read aloud to their classes and children are frequently given autonomy over the choice of text chosen for class story time. Children are given frequent opportunities during the school week to Read for Pleasure and we are currently working on building in curriculum time for children to have Book Talk sessions where they can have opportunities to talk together about the books that they are reading. 

All children in Key Stage One and Two have access to the school library where they are encouraged to browse and choose independent reading books. Younger children are permitted to borrow library books which may have age-appropriate content and plot but may still require adult reading support. It is expected that these books are shared at home to reinforce our ethos of a broad Reading for Pleasure community.

Our school library was fully refurbished in 2020 and is a calm and engaging space where children can browse from over 6,000 titles. Our library co-ordinator frequently reviews the library stock to ensure that a wide range of contemporary authors is represented alongside some of the older, well-known authors. We have a broad range of titles to suit all tastes and books are arranged into clear sections for non-fiction, fiction, poetry and picture books. Spaces are provided for children to read once they have made their selection.

All members of our school community are encouraged to contribute to our Reading for Pleasure community. Click here to enjoy some stories read by one of our Lunchtime Controllers.

Throughout the school year, reading is celebrated through World Book Day, author visits, Book Fairs, sponsored reading events and library competitions and these further support our Reading for Pleasure ethos.


Impact of our Reading Provision

Children will

  • Talk with enthusiasm about their reading and be able to recommend books and authors to others
  • Use their Reading skills as a key tool in helping them to learn and access the wider curriculum, and as a result, know more, remember more and understand more.
  • Make good progress from individual starting point in EYFS and demonstrate this in statutory tests.
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