"The whole world opened up to me when I learned to read."  

Mary Mcleod Bethune

Reading at St Mary’s


At St Mary’s, we recognise the fundamental importance of reading for a child’s academic achievement, access to the curriculum, wellbeing and success later in life. We prioritise reading, the importance of language and vocabulary and the love of stories and books in our school. It is our mission to ensure that every child at St Mary’s becomes a fluent and successful reader. We recognise reading as being the key to all learning so, it is our mission to ensure that all children succeed in this area. 

We have high expectations of our learners and encourage children to read regularly and widely, for the purpose of both education and enjoyment. Children are exposed to high quality texts by a range of authors through both guided reading sessions and through pre-planned cross-curricular topic links. We aim to inspire children through author visits, reading challenges, themed days and supported use of our library. Above all, we want children in our school to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers who love and enjoy reading.

We believe that fluent readers are able to read words accurately and effortlessly. They recognise words and phrases instantly on sight. A minimal amount of cognitive energy is expended in decoding the words. This means, then, that the maximum amount of a reader’s cognitive energy can be directed to the all-important task of making sense of the text.

Book Week

Wow! What a brilliant Book Week we have had! 

The Book at Bedtime event was a real success and it was lovely to see so many children choosing to come back to school to enjoy a story. The hot chocolates went down well and the teachers much preferred it to their usual staff meetings!

We were blown away by the fabulous costumes which were created for World Book Day on Friday. We have some very creative families and it was wonderful to see such a wide variety of characters - we’re very well-read in Timsbury! 

The children took part in a range of activities and competitions across the course of the week. We designed book sleeves for mystery books, completed book reviews, made our own bookmarks, read with different classes and took part in online events. 

To recognise all of the winners in the Book Week Competitions as well as our Extreme Readers, our Celebration Assembly had to be far longer than usual.

Thank you so much for your support this week with costumes, entering competitions and making our first Book at Bedtimea success. We look forward to many more events like this one and hope it has inspired the children to pick up a book!

Young Readers Events

What a fabulous day we had last Friday at our first Young Readers Event. There was a real buzz around the school and it was even

labelled ‘the best school day ever’ by Aidan in Year 3! The day was filled with lots of story-telling and reading and ended

with the children choosing their very own book to take home and keep.

This is the first of three Young Readers Events, we hope the day sparked excitement and has the children eager for the next one.

Our day had a Teddy Bear’s Picnic theme and involved us making book-themed bunting for our classrooms, decorating cupcakes

to look like teddy bears, and going on a Bear Hunt on the school grounds. We then tucked into the yummy cupcakes whilst sharing

our new books. It was lovely to see the children in Lions, Badgers, and Foxes working together, helping one another and having lots of fun.

How You Can Help

  1. The single most important thing you can do to help your child progress in their word reading and comprehension skills, and develop a life-long love of reading, is to read stories and books to them as often as possible. A bedtime story routine isn’t just a nightly calming technique for your little one; it also gives them an excellent opportunity to look at possibly new words and sentences with your support, develop their questioning and comprehension skills and spark their imaginations. Any spare moments you find to read to your children is time well spent investing in their academic achievement.

  2. Make sure you know what the reading home learning expectations are for your child’s year group. In Reception it is essential that your child practises their reading daily to secure their phonics knowledge. In Key Stage 1, to support children’s journey to being fluent, there are high expectations for daily reading to be completed with an adult at home. Ask your child’s class teacher what the expectations are and how you can help them develop their word reading and comprehension skills at your earliest opportunity.

  3. Ensure you know what your child’s reading strengths and weaknesses are by staying in contact with your child’s class teacher and hearing your child read daily. Is there a particular phonics sound they find difficult to remember? Do they find it tricky to remember certain words and have to keep sounding them out each time? Do they find it difficult to retell a story in order, or predict what might happen next in a book? Give your child a little bit of extra help to develop these areas.