"Books train your mind to think big." Taylor Swift
READING AT ST. WULSTAN’S
At St. Wulstan’s, we firmly believe that literacy is a significant life skill and that the development of strong learning foundations will enable our children to listen, speak, read and write confidently throughout their school career and on into adult life. We have a clear, consistent, whole school approach to reading. Competence in reading is the key to independent learning and is given the highest priority, enabling our children to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers. Success in reading has a direct effect upon progress in all other areas of the Curriculum and is crucial in developing children’s self-confidence and motivation.
The programmes of study for reading at Key Stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading).
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
We use Read Write Inc. Phonics which teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step.
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Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. (National Curriculum 2014).
We aim to provide high levels of motivation and active participation for our children at all ages. The teaching of reading and the strategies used by the teachers in each year group varies as the children progress through the school.
- The school teaches reading through a combination of approaches:
- Developing knowledge and awareness of print
- Developing sight vocabulary
- Systematic teaching and learning of phonics
- Developing decoding skills
- Whole class reading
- Modelling and guided reading in groups with the teacher and teaching assistant
- Paired reading
- Independent reading at school and at home
- Introducing writers as role models.
- Specific lessons teaching comprehension skills
A range of intervention programmes are used to ensure that all children's needs are catered for.
Reading In Key Stage Two
In Key Stage Two, we teach reading in whole class sessions where no child is left behind. Whole class reading is taught for 45 minutes a day, every day. A typical week has two sessions based on the class's daily novel and three sessions based on the wider curriculum.
The class novel is read to the children for 15 minutes a day either directly before or after lunch. It is always read by the teacher. We invest in whole class sets of books to make sure the children can read along with the teacher during this time. This book is then studied for 45 minutes in whole class reading sessions on Monday and Thursday. The aims of the session are to ensure that all the children are literally and figuratively on the 'same page' of the text. Our aim at St. Wulstan's is that we are always reading the text TO the children and never AT the children. There are no exam-style questions, rather rich discussion on the over-arching themes of the text and these sessions end with a balanced argument question where the children are encouraged to share their own opinions and thoughts.
The sessions on the other three days largely link to the wider curriculum. These are also 45 minute sessions. More often than not, these sessions link to topics such as science, history or geography. Sometimes they will link to what the children are writing about in English, for example widening their knowledge about coral reefs or the Windrush generation. The aim of these sessions is to cover pivotal knowledge that the children need to access the wider curriculum. For example, if Year 3 are doing a science objective about igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, the morning reading lesson may cover what the knowledge needed around this is. This leaves time in the afternoon for our children to have more opportunities for practical scientific work. In the case of rocks, this may be smashing them up, getting them under microscopes and organising them into groups. By covering so much of the topic in a reading lesson, we have longer to impart the knowledge and more time to discuss it, but we also leave longer for our children to work scientifically and, in many instances, have more fun doing it.
On some occasions children will also read about relevant current events (for example, the women's World Cup when it was airing) or explore poetry and other types of literature in these sessions.
Reading for Pleasure
Every day the teachers read aloud the class book to the children. These texts are chosen carefully so there is a range of high quality, diverse texts to engage the children and appeal to a range of children.
Reading is encouraged at home and parents are supported parents to understand how to read to/with their children. Careful recording of what the children’s reading diet includes happens regularly so staff are able to monitor, develop and extend this as and when appropriate. Children are encouraged to borrow books from the school library during their weekly visit.
We use book banded reading schemes which operates across the school which comprises of a range of different schemes but mainly Oxford Reading Tree and Read Write Inc . Children also have the opportunity to regularly access the school library. Here there are a wide range of books to select from including different authors and genres.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS
The teaching of reading is greatly helped if there is strong communication and support between home and school. The school informs parents and carers about the school’s approach to reading through the school’s prospectus, its website, through information provided at the initial meeting for new parents in the Foundation Stage and through guidance given in children’s home reading records. Advice and support is also available during Parents’ Evenings and Read, Write Inc parents’ meetings. Advice is available on the reading strategies used at the school and how best they may help their children. A class termly newsletter is sent to all parents with reading targets and the English curriculum.
Each child has a new reading diary every year. Within the diary, there is a reading record which logs books children have read and comments about their reading. Parents and teaching staff write in this book. Children are encouraged to read at home on a daily basis.
Parents and carers are strongly encouraged to be actively involved in their children’s reading routines at all ages by listening to their children read, reading to their children and by promoting a home environment where books are valued. Often children undertake a variety of reading activities at home in connection with other curriculum areas and parents are encouraged to become active listeners and readers, using simple strategies to question and enhance the reading and comprehension process.
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