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English in action

New dictionaries and thesauruses for Key Stage 2

Children in KS2 were thrilled to receive their new dictionaries and thesauruses, kindly purchased using funds raised by SKAPA (our parent/teacher organisation). Our School Council wrote a letter of thanks on all the children's behalf and these photos demonstrate some of our Year 5 children putting them to great use in a writing lesson.

Emma Jellett, Community Connector for Essex Libraries


What a wonderful visit we had from Emma on Tuesday 30th April. She was able to meet all classes from Nursery through to Year 6, telling us all about the services the Library has to offer, sharing stories and inspiring some classes to enter a competition for a Blue Peter Book Badge. They wrote some fabulous book reviews about their favourite books.


Kye in Year 1, 'She told us what we do in the library, all about the colouring books and the puzzles.'

Lucas in Year 1, 'All of the books are free. If you want to change puzzles, you can go there and swap your old puzzle for a new puzzle.'

Andrea Year 1, 'I liked her reading us a story'.

Bernice Year 1, 'I liked when she was using the squeaky puppet.'






Some of the book reviews the children wrote

Year 5 and 6 writing their book reviews for their Blue Peter Badge!

Children's author Kate Read

The children’s author Kate Read will be visiting Canvey Library on Friday 5th April during the Easter Holiday and delivering a free Story Time and Craft event. 

How do we teach reading at St Katherine’s C of E Primary School?


At St Katherine's C of E Primary School, we firmly believe that teaching a child to read is one of the most important things we can teach your child to do. Throughout the primary school journey, we teach pupils all the basic skills needed to enable a child to read independently. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for enjoyment. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.


Children in St Katherine’s C of E Primary School are taught how to read using synthetic phonics. This teaches children how sounds are represented by written letters. Children are taught to read words by blending these sounds together to make words. Through ELS, children are taught the sounds in a structured order, building up their learning gradually. It is used daily during Reception and Year 1 to teach all the sounds in the English language.

In the daily phonics lesson the teacher teaches a new sound or reviews sounds learned earlier in the week and during the year. This is shown to the class on the whiteboard. Children learn the letters that represent the sounds. They are then asked to read words and sentences with the new sounds in. Children will also practise writing the letters that represent the sounds. New sounds are taught each day, with some review days and weeks to help children practise what they have learned. 


Once children can blend sounds together to read words, they practise reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start to believe they can read and this does wonders for their confidence. Teachers read to the children every single day so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information texts. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing.


At St Katherine's every child is expected to read at home every day if possible, whether that is to an adult (for developing readers) or independently (for fluent readers). Guided Reading sessions take place daily, using VIPERS is an acronym used in school to describe the key aspects of Reading in the National Curriculum. The letters stand for:

 V - Vocabulary

I - Inference

P - Prediction

E - Explain

R - Retrieve

S - Sequence or Summarise

The lowest 20% of readers are listened to by class teachers on a weekly basis and throughout the week by support staff and a growing group of volunteers. Whole class comprehension is also taught using VIPERS.


Every child is different and children will learn to read at different speeds. By the end of Year 2, most children will be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for their age. In Year 3 and beyond, we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading through explicit comprehension activities. In the summer term of Year 1, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the children. Children who do not pass the phonics check in Year 1 retake the assessment during Year 2 to ensure that they have made progress. 


We use Accelerated Reader in Years 2-6. AR is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. At St Katherine’s the children in Years 2 - 6 use AR.  Children select a book at his/her own level and read it at his/her own pace. When finished, they then take a short quiz on the computer - passing the quiz is an indication that they understood what has been read.


(See separate section on AR for more detail)

World Book Day March 7th 2024


Children at St Katherine's had a fabulous World Book Day again this year. It was wonderful to see all the children dressed as their favourite book character and so many of the staff too. Children were encouraged to bring in the book their character related to and perhaps a prop too. 'Book Talk' was the theme of the day and children loved sharing who they were and why they loved the character and their chosen book.


'Drop Everything and Read' sessions gave everyone in school the chance to take some time to indulge in their favourite book; teachers swapped with colleagues to share a story with a different class; children made book marks, took part in quizzes,  participated in a version of 'headbands' guessing who book characters were and tried to identify the 'Masked Reader'!


On the previous day, children from Reception to Year 6 enjoyed the 'Bringing Books to Life' dance workshops, re-creating 'Dinosaurs and all that Rubbish!', 'The Iron Man' and 'The Butterfly Lion'. 


The children also enjoyed online live workshops on the day with authors Helen Stephens and Michael Rosen. The interactive sessions gave children the opportunity to do some shared reading, art work and performance poetry. Classes 1 and 2 did some lovely art work based on 'Smelly Peggy', a very naughty dog who loves to roll around in everything smelly and stinky! KS2 children, watching Michael Rosen, did some alternative spelling and then some hyperbolic, rhythmic and performance poetry. 


Photographs below give a fabulous impression of the whole day!



'Starbooks' Celebrations


Huge congratulations to all the children who filled up their 'Starbooks' points cards! Points are awarded for the quizzes the children on completion of their Accelerated Reader books. The 'Starbooks' Cafe was opened two Fridays in a row for hot chocolate and cake and a celebration of reading!


World Book Day 2023 – a summary of an amazing day of reading, sharing and talking about books!


Children at St Katherine’s enjoyed a wonderful range of activities during World Book Week this year. Every class enjoyed circle time, sharing lots of book talk, and talking about the character they are dressed as and the book and prop they bought in.


Reception children made mini books and bookmarks and built an amazing giant’s castle from their class book – Jack and the Beanstalk! EYFS also explored ‘Where the Wild Things Go’ and produced some beautiful stories.


Year 1 loved telling their very own Little Red Riding Hood (aka Miss Lawson) all about their books – a favourite was Sam who loved sharing his book ‘Prince of Pants’ – he was covered in pants, even wearing a pair on his head! There were princesses, footballers and superheroes in Year 1 all enthusiastically listening and joining in a fabulous question and answer session on all their book choices.


In Year 2 we had Paddington Bear, Matilda, Princess Smartypants, a chef representing an amazing range of cookbooks and a footballer with a book all about his hero Marcus Rashford. Year 2 also listened intently to ‘Odd Dog Out’ read by a virtual author.


Years 3 and 4 discussed their characters and their qualities, creating a character profile and writing key actions, feelings, ideas, thoughts and key places their character might go!


Year 5 had a number of ‘Wednesday Addams’ from the popular TV series, The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, We also had Harley Quinn, a zombie, Mary Poppins, Harry Potters and Hermione, Bix from Hocus Pocus, Arrietty from the Borrowers, Enola Holmes and plenty of footballers sharing stories about their sporting heroes.


At 11.00 KS2 tuned in to the BBC’s live lesson led by Michael Rosen where we learned all about different genres of books, ingredients for those genres and then the children were invited by Michael Rosen to write a familiar story with a twist at the end. Year 6 loved this and turned a number of traditional tales on their head with the three little pigs attacking the big bad wolf, Little Red Riding Hood (or Colossal Blue Killing Skirt) eating the wolf and dying of chronic indigestion, Baby Bear not just eating the porridge but Goldilocks too, the Three Little Pigs provoking the well-behaved wolf when he is making some DIY adjustments in his home and Big Little Blood Hood invading Pepper Pig Land! We also had an evil Gingerbread Man, a benevolent version of Malevolent and a wicked Stitch! Year 6 also discussed their character and book and then wrote a book review of their chosen book and designed a book mark.


In our ‘Bringing books to Life Workshops’, KS2 retold the story of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ through dance and KS1 did the same with ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ – we had some amazing cheeky monkeys, many hungry crocodiles, elephantine elephants and yawning hippopotamuses! KS2 children presented freeze frames of different parts of the book and created a very impressive dance routine which included the Caucus race, the White Rabbit’s frantic adventures and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

KS1 were lucky enough to have the extremely popular Magic Molly back. She presented her fabulous workshop and she came back after school to sell copies of her book which the children loved!

‘What a fun-packed book week it has been!’ Mrs Taylor, Headteacher

'International Poetry Day 2023' Poetry Competition Results


Thank you to all the children who entered the competition - what a fantastic response we had and some beautifully crafted and individual poems on a huge variety of themes! Keep your eyes peeled around the school for the poems and see them below!


All winners received a £5 Scholastic Book Voucher to spend at our book fayre!

Reception - Dakota Hardwicke

Year 1 - Joseph Ray

Year 3 - Arthur-John McKenzie

Year 4 - Lottie Dilliway

Year 6 - Andrew Jolley and Sonny Wood