Let’s Read Together

Reading is a main focus for us at St John’s this year and we would like to take this opportunity to keep you up-to-date with our current practices and some new ventures in relation to reading.

The reading raffle
We will reward every child who manages to read five or more days at home each week with a raffle ticket. The raffle tickets will be put into a draw and the lucky winners from each class will receive books. Parents must sign their child’s reading record book/planner each time their child reads to them and teachers will check these on a Friday, ready for the prize draw in the afternoon. This will begin immediately, with the first draw being made on Friday 27th January.

Reading surveys
We recently conducted a reading survey with children from Class 3 upwards. The survey looked at reading habits and preferences and revealed some interesting trends in attitudes to reading among children at St John’s. Overwhelmingly, the children were very positive about reading but most felt they didn’t read enough and would like to read more. Lack of time was the main reason given for not reading more. Please could you help your child to find some time in the day, or evening, which is set aside for quiet reading. We will also be sending home the ‘Helping your child to enjoy reading survey’ from the National Literacy Trust. This will help us to review and understand reading habits and attitudes across the wider school community. We would be very grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete this.

Guided reading
Each child, from Class 1 to Class 6, takes part in Guided Reading sessions four times a week. Your child is put into a group of five to eight children of similar reading ability and they read, discuss and explore the book together, supported by a teacher or teaching assistant. Each session lasts 20 minutes and we use a variety of different texts including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, magazines, newspaper articles and plays. Please note that we do not record these sessions in their reading record books or planners. We keep separate assessment information in school for Guided Reading.

Individual reading
We endeavour to hear your child read individually at least twice a week. This is usually more often for KS1 and Reception and many children will be heard every day. Teachers, teaching assistants and reading volunteers will keep a record of these sessions in your child’s reading record book or planner.

In line with national guidelines, we have a strong focus on learning phonics at St John’s. We follow the Letters and Sounds programme and children in Reception, Class 1 and Class 2 take part in 30-minute sessions every day, arranged in small groups across the three classes according to the phase they have reached. As parents in KS1 will know, we have recently started to send home graded, phonics cards, so that children can practise these sounds daily. These help your children to consolidate their knowledge of these sounds, which in turn leads to much greater fluency and confidence in reading. We expect most of the children in Reception to complete Phase 3, and the majority of Class 1 to complete Phase 5, by the end of Term 6.

Children in Year 1 will take part in a new national phonics assessment in the Summer.

St John’s book club
The next meeting of the recently re-launched St John’s book club for parents and carers will be on Thursday February 2nd. The book is A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French. New members are welcome. 7.30pm White Hart, Sevenoaks.

Teacher book assemblies
Over the year, teaching staff and Governors will be taking the opportunity to share their favourite books with the children. This will take the form of special assemblies devoted to a particular treasured book. We hope that sharing our enthusiasm for books will inspire children to try reading these books and point them towards authors, whose books they may enjoy.

Be seen to be reading
We are creating a display of photographs of pupils, family and teachers reading. Please either email or send a photograph to school of members of your family, alone or as a group, enjoying a book, newspaper, menu, cookery book, magazine ..be as creative as you wish!

Many thanks for your help and support