How do we teach reading at St James?

‘Pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure’ National Curriculum, July 2014


Reading is a fundamental skill, enabling children to access not just their curriculum subjects, but allowing them to comprehend the world around them. We have placed reading at the heart of our curriculum. High quality texts are used throughout our curriculum and the pupils are exposed to a rich and varied reading curriculum which helps them develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Each term the pupils will be exposed to fiction, non-fiction and poetry. In each year group this will include a range of different structured texts: non-linear texts, archaic texts, complexity of narrator, complexity of plot and resistant texts which build up in complexity as the children progress through St James.

We aim to create successful, fluent, readers who read widely across fiction, non-fiction and poetry, to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live. During their time at St James we want the pupils to: be able to read confidently and fluently; have a love and thirst for reading; gain knowledge from their reading; take an active part in discussions about texts; be able to recommend books to their peers and ask questions about what they are reading.

In reading lessons, pupils are explicitly taught strategies including inference, questioning, clarifying, summarising, prediction and activating prior knowledge. The pupils use these strategies to check how well they comprehend what they have read, and overcome barriers to comprehension. Pupils develop skills in skimming and scanning, forming opinions, thinking aloud, asking questions, getting the gist, connecting to prior knowledge, inference and prediction. These skills are applied by the pupils with increased independence when interacting with texts across all curriculum areas.

Books at St James

Each class has a high quality book corner with a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books for the children to enjoy. Alongside this, each Key Stage Two classroom has a subscription to ‘First News’, our teachers have recommendations of books to enjoy and we have access to Mrs Peacock’s AMAZING bookshelf, with fantastic recommendations of new books.

Pupil Librarians

We have 14 pupil librarians from Year 6 who had to apply for their role. Their role includes: returning the books, helping pupils use the library, shelving books, tidying the library and promoting the library and books throughout the whole school.

The qualities we were looking for in a pupil librarian are pupils who are reliable, careful, friendly, hardworking, love books, like helping people and are good listeners and communicators.

We asked the reading librarians – Why is reading important?

‘It is like jumping into a new world on the pages’

‘Reading can take you to a world of adventure’

‘Reading expands the mind and allows people to escape to different places’

‘Reading means you can go into a world of your own, forgetting about your troubles and worries’

‘It transports me into a new world. If I am not helping Mister Tom rescue Will then I’m flying over the world with Jasmine and Aladdin on a magic carpet’

‘You can get lost in the words of your book’

‘It opens up a world of wonder and adventure, a place where you can imagine anything’

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