‘Reading is the gateway for children, that makes all other learning possible.’

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Dearest Families,

How lovely to see the children today! They clearly had a great break! It was great to see so many of you too. Hope you are all well. 

This is always a tough time of year for so many of us, so I hope that everyone can steer themselves through the next few weeks safely, by being kind to themselves and each other. We often put so much pressure on ourselves to do things better and/or differently when a new year begins, but all that matters is that everyone is as happy and as well as they can be. The days will get lighter and Spring will come. Promise! 

We have had a huge focus on Reading in recent months at Cobham. The Government have asked schools to look at the teaching of Phonics in every school and new schemes for reading have been approved and continue to be approved by the DFE. As a school we have ‘plumped’ for a scheme called Little Wandle. The entire team have undergone extensive training in the last few months and yesterday’s inset was wholly focused upon Reading, brilliantly led by Dr Crowther. Much of the English budget has been spent to purchase reading books which are aligned to the new Phonic scheme. We are most excited to start using the books with the children! 

Each class newsletter, (that will be with you by the close of the day), will inform you that all we are asking the children to do for homework this term, is to read with you EVERY night and complete their spelling contract/learn their spellings. This is it!

Reading is the single most important thing you can do at home to support your child’s learning.

Did you know that reading for pleasure is the single biggest factor correlated with educational success? The National Literacy Trust have also found that children’s engagement in reading is also linked to mental wellbeing. Of course it is! To have the ability to escape into another world and live another’s life –  will always fill the soul.

As we prepare the children for the transition to secondary school, we will also focus on developing the ‘reading to learn’ skills that children will need in all subjects. So in order to support YOU to make maximum time for reading at home, we will NOT set English or Maths homework this term; but we hope you will spend this time reading with your child EVERY day. 

Reading together and talking about books is a very effective way to support a love of reading. All our children are welcome to read books from the class book corners, from the new scheme or from their own personal collections at home.  If your child has completed their reading book(s) during this time, we encourage them to re-read for comprehension and especially to read and discuss challenging sections with you. If all this has been done, please do let us know. It is not about reading the book once and thinking the job has been done! The children need to understand this as much as you as parents!

Practice, rehearsal, you modelling how to read sections from the books and discussing the contents is crucial to developing your child’s confidence, fluency, language acquisition and most importantly LOVE for reading. 

When parents sign the reading record books recording that the children have read all week, before the week has actually passed, we clearly can assume that the child has not probably read at all! So by taking away all the other bits and pieces of homework, we hope that you will solely focus on supporting your child’s reading development and love for reading. We just hope that it doesn’t fall off the list!

So having written above that at this time of year, we place pressure on ourselves to do better, here I am doing that to you! Let’s see the difference it can make! I think this could revolutionise our children’s reading progress, but more importantly foster a love for life-long reading. That was the main reason I entered this profession 27 years ago! 

Get reading more. It is one of my more achievable goals for the year. I’ll be telling the children about my other unrealistic goals in assembly on Monday! I am sure they will share them!

Kindest regards,


Reading gives us a place to go, when we have to stay where we are.’ 

Mrs Saunders

Mrs Saunders
Mrs Saunders

Headteacher Information

Mrs Saunders

Mrs Saunders is Headteacher at Cobham Primary School

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