Reading is one of our school’s main priorities and our curriculum reflects a sharp focus upon early reading from the very start of school, as it is the ability to read and understand that opens up learning for children. It is our intention to immerse pupils in a wide range of quality texts across both fiction and non-fiction, to instil in them a desire to learn through books and a love of reading, to develop their comprehension skills and explore their own imagination through books and stories. It is our aim to ensure that, by the end of their time at Rowena, all pupils are able to read with fluency and confidence.

At Rowena we have created a book rich environment where books are at the heart of the curriculum. Topics are inspired by texts, authors are invited into school to share their stories and work with our children, plays are performed for all our children by visiting theatre companies, and staff throughout the Academy read a story book aloud to the children every day to further promote a love for reading. 

The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout school and phonics is taught daily to children in Foundation Stage, Year 1 and to those in Year 2 who have not passed the phonics screening. Children are systematically taught the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns that represent them. Phonics is largely delivered in a whole class format, through Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS), and intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels.

The school uses appropriate quality texts for children to read covering all genres. Books are book banded in order to ensure progression and challenge. The children’s abilities to recognise graphemes and high frequency words and their ability to blend and segment are all assessed and tracked. Children are also assessed using PM Benchmarking to ensure they read appropriately challenging books.

All classrooms have reading areas stocked with a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. Books are also displayed around classrooms to support topics and in small world and role play areas. Children have access to the school library, where there is a range of books including British values and PSHCE themed texts.

Children are taught reading skills and techniques through individual reading, guided reading, and whole class reading. In Key Stage 1 children become ‘Reading Detectives’, studying a high quality text each term. Children are taught to develop an understanding of the texts through reading comprehension and they explore the key themes, events and plot of the story. At target points throughout Key Stage 1, children attend a lunchtime or afterschool reading club. This provides the children with the opportunity to read books at their level, practice reading skills and read individually to an adult each day.

In the Foundation Stage our children embark on a ‘Reading Adventure’, which starts in Nursery when they are given a book bag containing letter and grapheme cards, along with their first free book. Throughout their time in the Foundation Stage they are given more books to add to their collection, to inspire the child’s love of reading and to ensure we share the importance of reading with our parents and carers at home.

Children throughout school are given the opportunity to take home books, children also have access to Bug Club, which is a web-based reading scheme. Teachers allocate children with books at the appropriate level for each child, these can be accessed at home and at school. We also sell heavily discounted books to our parents at Open Evenings.  Our families are key partners in developing their children’s knowledge and we are grateful to all our parents and carers who support their child’s learning.