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At St James’ reading is central to our curriculum and we strive to create a culture in which our children read fluently, confidently and frequently. All children are encouraged to read appropriately challenging texts, which are carefully selected by their specialist teachers across a range of subjects. Our drive to promote reading and improve reading skills allows all children to access the full curriculum and therefore make the most of the opportunities St James’ has to offer.

Below are a number of ways in which we ensure reading maintains a high profile within our school.

The St James’ Literary Canon

As part of our ongoing commitment to reading and literacy at St James’, we are excited to have introduced the St James’ Literary Canon this year. This is a collection of age appropriate, suitably challenging modern texts which we feel will support our children in becoming more confident and competent readers, whilst introducing them to concepts, cultures and lives beyond their own.

Through reading age tests, baseline assessments and analysis of prior attainment data we identify a suitable book for each individual child, which is then supplied for them. Children are encouraged to read these books in school and in their free time at home. 

Each term every child’s Literary Canon book will be replaced by another suitably challenging, age appropriate modern text. Children are expected to bring their Literary Canon book to school every day.

Below is a list of the texts which our children are currently reading as part of the Literary Canon.

Term 2

‘Strange Worlds and Unique Characters’

Year Book 1 Book 2 Book 3
7 The Ghost Garden – Emma Carroll The Haunting of Aveline Jones –  Phil Hickes  Into the Sideways World – Ross Welford
8 Jon for Short – Malorie Blackman A Place Called Perfect – Helena Duggan Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy
9 The Starlight Watchmaker – Lauren James The Giver – Lois Lowry Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
10 Pale – Chris Wooding How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff  The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

St James’ Library

At St James’ we have a welcoming, well resourced and thriving library, which always has a real buzz about it. Children are able to access the library at both break and lunch times and can borrow books from our school librarian. The library is also central to many of our regular reading events, such as World Book Day, National Poetry Day, Scholastic Book Fair and many more. This allows our children to experience reading opportunities which they would not normally be able to access. Our library is supported by our fantastic Reading Ambassadors who work to promote the enjoyment of reading amongst their peers through events and activities, as well as ensuring the smooth running of the library.

How else is reading supported at St James’?

  • Reading across the curriculum – All subject areas promote reading fluency and ensure their text choices are of high quality and offer suitable challenge for all children. All subjects ensure that children are exposed to extended reading, whether this be through texts in class or through home learning tasks.
  • Reading in English – All Key Stage 3 classes enjoy discreet ‘reading time’ within their English lessons. This can be independent reading, group reading or children having the opportunity to listen to the teacher modelling ‘expert’ reading.
  • Regular reading age tests – Year 7 children complete reading age tests to allow us to better understand their reading ability. This ensures that all teachers are including suitable challenge and also adapting their teaching to allow any necessary support.

“Pupils are keen to learn and do well. They told inspectors that teachers help them whenever they need support. Staff expect them to thrive academically, socially and emotionally. Pupils achieve well.”

Ofsted 2022

Jesus looked at them and said,
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”

Matthew 19:26