Reading at St Joseph’s
At St Joseph’s, we promote and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of reading. Central to our approach to the whole curriculum is that reading is an essential life skill and is vital to future aspirations. We promote a culture across school that encourages a love of reading. We regularly encourage children to read widely and promote reading for pleasure. We believe that reading can be an escapism to other worlds. It lets the imagination take over and we strive to immerse our children in reading during their time with us. Reading opens up new worlds for children and gives them the opportunity to use their imagination and explore new ideas. We are also very aware of how reading for pleasure also improves children’s well being and empathy. We are passionate about using reading for children to understand their own identity as well as the views of others. Here are some of the ways that reading is promoted and celebrated at St Joseph’s!
As part of our continued vision to promote reading to our children, families and staff, we publish monthly Reading Newsletters. The aim of our Reading Newsletters is to provide all of our school community with up-to-date reading information and reading recommendations from our school community.Reading Newsletter March
Our Children’s Voice
Here are some comments from the children about reading for pleasure at St Joseph’s:
“I like my reading area in the classroom because you can go to it and learn more facts from the fact books.” – Sean
“Yeah! I love the library! We went to look for books about the Arctic because we are learning about Arctic explorers.” – Henry
“We have chapter books and also dyslexia friendly books in our reading area and we have reading challenges which everyone loves!” – Evie
“There are lots of different types of books in our reading area – magazines, chapter books, atlases, newspapers, flags books – I really like looking at the flags books and quizzing myself to remember the countries.” – Edward
Me as a Reader
We encourage all of our children to see themselves as readers and display their posters in a prominent place in school. This display is added to regularly and the children reflect on their changing interests, likes and dislikes as they progress through their reading journey!
Our Class Libraries
All classes have a carefully curated reading area. These are inviting and provide a comfy space for pupils to read for pleasure as well as offering a range of reading-age appropriate books which follow the children’s interests. Many of the books will already be familiar to the children; previous topic books or stories shared by teachers in story-time. We use Leeds Library Service to enhance our book offering and ensure there is a range fiction and non-fiction texts linked to pupils’ learning across the curriculum. We have also added magazines and comics to our reading areas to promote reading for pleasure. We also have Reading Challenges which are designed to improve and reward pupils’ reading skills and we find that this really motivates the children too!
The children love taking part in paired reading and classes are paired across the school from FS1 – Year 6. The younger children love listening to the older ones and it provides them with motivation to improve their reading! The older children also benefit from paired reading because it helps them to develop their fluency, expression and prosody and they thoroughly enjoy reading to the younger children!
Our School Library
We have a wonderful school library, that is well stocked and used regularly by all in our school community! We are lucky to have a beautiful school library at St Joseph’s which all classes visit. The fiction books are arranged alphabetically so children can practise finding stories by author. Our non-fiction books are arranged thematically and designed to appeal to readers with different interests. Our story books are accessible to our youngest children and we also have a story box available for play. The library is used for Library Time, a lunchtime club run by our Year 5s. Four children from each class are chosen to attend and older pupils share books with our younger pupils. It has been a wonderful way for children to hear more stories and share their love of reading with other children from across the school community.
Class Visits to the School Library
All classes from FS1 to Year 6 regularly visit the school library. The library is used in various different ways by teachers and teaching assistants. We encourage the children to choose books that they would like to read for pleasure – these can be taken home or kept in the classrooms. We enjoy quiet story times in the library, sometimes in whole classes, sometimes in smaller groups. The children have told us that they like the comfy space and enjoy being “surrounded by books.” The library is also used as a more specific teaching tool and classes often visit the library to find books about their topics.
We are continuing the hugely popular Library Lunchtimes that was set up by children in Year 6. This year our Year 5 Library Ambassadors are running Library Lunchtimes. Two children from each class can choose to use the library at lunchtime and share a book with an older pupil. We have found this a very popular initiative and it has been very successful in supporting cross- year group friendships and encouraging more reluctant readers. The library also provides a quiet space for children to enjoy at lunchtimes.
Library Opening for Parents and Children
Every Thursday from 3.15-3.45, we open the library for parents to come with their children. We encourage them to choose a book, share it at home and bring it back the next week for another book! The children are so enthusiastic about the range of books we have and excited that they can bring their grown ups too!
Leeds School Library Service
The books within our classrooms are carefully organised to reflect the current learning across all subjects for that half term. The children can choose from a superb selection of good quality books provided by the School Library Service. The children are encouraged to read a range of fiction and non-fiction books to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the topics being studied. Children enjoy capturing and sharing their ideas. We also use books from the School Library Service to enhance our school library to keep the books fresh, vibrant and exciting for our pupils. These books are then organised in the library by genre or topic to enhance learning and enrich their reading for pleasure.
Reading for Mental Health
We have a range of new fiction and non-fiction books all about mental health. The well-being of our children is high priority across school and we value reading in being instrumental in helping our children to escape and unwind. These books include stories about circumstances and feelings that our children may relate to at some point during their time with us.Teachers use these books to support transition times and to help anyone who needs them as well as children being able to use these books on their own.
Reading for Pleasure: Links to Wetherby Library and Celebrating Reading!
At St Joseph’s, we want all pupils to have a lifelong love of reading and to choose to read for pleasure. The children are regularly encouraged to take part in various reading competitions, challenges and events to help them to read widely and to develop a love of reading!
World Book Day
We love to celebrate reading as a whole school community! As part of World Book Day, the children enjoyed dressing up as their favourite book characters or coming in pyjamas with their favourite book! To inspire our children to think about future careers that they might choose, the children enjoyed virtual author workshops; Years 4, 5 and 6 attended a live Q&A session with Michael Morpurgo – can you believe it? It was absolutely amazing to see him talking live and reading the author note and part of chapter 1 of War Horse. He showed us the original horse painting that he discovered in an antique shop that inspired him to write War Horse 40 years ago, and how he learnt so much about WW1 by talking to people and asking questions. He also told the children about some of his favourite books as a child.
Our children in FS2 – Year 3 enjoyed a Silly Stories workshop by Serena Patel. Serena talked to us about why she wanted to become an author and where the inspiration for her stories comes from. Serena is the author of Anisha – Accidental Detective! Serena gave the children a story starter and the children then became authors and illustrators and were asked to write or draw the next part of the story!
On World Book Day, the children took part in a variety of book themed activities including draw-a-longs with famous children’s illustrators Rob Biddolph and Nick Sharratt, book quizzes such as ‘The Great Footy and Booky Quiz’ and scavenger hunts to find favourite book characters, creating reading dens and paired reading sessions. This selection of photos showcases what a fun day it was!
Links to Wetherby Library
As part of supporting our local library and providing the children with access to a wider range of books, we have strong links with Wetherby Library. Angie, the children’s librarian, is wonderfully talented at pitching her sessions perfectly to engage, motivate and inspire us to read! Angie also comes to school to support us with reading challenges and book selections. Our younger children enjoy walks to the library and we ask parents/carers to send their child’s library card in so that the children can borrow books. We also borrow books on our class ticket and bring them back to school! Encouraging our children to think of others and use democracy, we vote on the 5 books we bring back. Angie provides us with more information each time that we visit, including how to use the library, how fiction and non-fiction books are organised in the library, how to check books out, the types of books we can borrow and the types of books that are good for babies, toddlers, beginner readers, early reader chapter books and more!
Leeds Book Awards 2023
We are excited to take part in the Leeds Book Awards, launching in May. The children from FS2-Year 6 will read and review new books!
Reading Challenges, Competitions and Sponsored Reads
Summer Reading Challenge
As part of encouraging a love of reading we actively seek ways to keep of children reading! We were proud to be one of ten schools chosen in all of Leeds to take part in the Enhanced Summer Reading Challenge to keep our children reading over the summer. The amount of children that signed up was amazing! The Summer Reading Challenge was a very special science-themed challenge, called Gadgeteers that helped the children to use their imagination and their creativity. As part of the Enhanced Summer Reading Challenge, we received two very special assemblies from Angie, a librarian at Wetherby library, Year 1 and Year 2 had trips to the library to take part in a very special workshop, linked to the challenge which was thoroughly enjoyed by all! The benefits for our children were amazing and kept them reading over the summer, as well as promoting a love of books!
Usborne Ready Steady Read!
We run Usborne’s Ready Steady Read and Ready Steady Listen for our beginner readers. The children were very motivated to keep reading, with the challenge to raise as much money as possible to buy new books for our school library!
Reading Eggs Competition
As part of our continued vision to inspire children to read, we promote reading widely and reading anything! We have links with Jane from Reading Eggs who comes in to school to set show the children different features of Reading Eggs and to promote reading. Last year, Jane invited then children to enter an international writing competition that was being held by Reading Eggs. Lots of our children entered along with 14,000 children from around the globe. One of our year 2 pupils penned ‘The Rainy Day.’ The story was shortlisted for the Reading Eggs Story Factory Competition and made it into the top 12 in the world, which is an absolutely amazing achievement! There were only two schools from the United Kingdom that were shortlisted along with entries from across the globe in Costa Rica, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey and the UAE all of which were judged by a team in Australia.
This year, Jane has set the children a reading competition to inspire them to read. The aim of the competition is to read lots of books on Reading Eggs with prizes for the children who read the most books. We know that most of our parents/carers will know from our reading information evenings, information shared from class teachers and communication from school that in school there are many areas of reading that we teach and assess, including comprehension, inference and deduction. The aim of this competition is to encourage our children to read and explore lots of different types of reading material and explore different text types with the aim to hopefully ignite new interests and there are prizes for the children that read the most books! Jane came into our awards assembly, which parents and carers also attend, to present the prizes and to continue to ensure reading for pleasure is high profile at St Joseph’s. After Jane had presented the very-pleased winners with their medals, she chatted to Rachel, the Director at 3P Learning (who run Reading Eggs, Mathseeds and Mathletics) and they couldn’t believe how much reading St Joseph’s children had done! Jane said “I was blown away by the amount of reading the children had done during your World Book Reading Challenge!” Rachel has been looking for a school to visit to see what pupils think of the Reading Eggs resources and see them used in action and St Joseph’s has been chosen!