At St Helen's CE Primary School, we have a rich literary spine that is made up of a variety of reading schemes. Each book is colour banded. The colour band indicates the graded reading level. This helps our children to select the right books for their reading ability. It also helps staff to audit books and distribute various levels across the school. Reading schemes, guided reading texts, picture books, non-fiction and general fiction can all be banded. This means that books suitable for very early readers can be graded as can texts for fluent readers, ensuring that children experience success as they progress from one level to the next. St Helen's uses a combination of the following reading schemes: Dandelion Launchers, Oxford Reading Tree, Collins, Tree Tops and Project X which include a wealth of text types such as stories, playscripts, poetry and non-fiction. Children are assessed in their reading age and placed on the most appropriate reading band where they will read books from the Oxford Reading Tree and Collins.
Children are expected to read at home on a daily basis, regardless of age or reading ability. Children are encouraged to read on a daily basis and in doing so can work towards achieving Star Reader Award.
There is a whole school approach to phonics and this is used to promote the development of reading along with developing reading for meaning through engagement with pictures and text. Daily phonic sessions take place where children learn to “segment” (break up words into sounds) and “blend” (put the sounds back together). The school follows the Letters and Sounds programme for phonics.
St Helen’s has adopted a “cursive” handwriting style to encourage fluency when writing creatively and to support spelling skills.