At St. Mary Magdalen’s RC Primary School, reading is at the heart of our curriculum. We believe that learning to read is an essential life skill that all children should access; therefore, reading is a priority within all curriculum areas. Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. It is essential that we provide all children with the tools needed to read for enjoyment.
How do we teach reading?
From the beginning of Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), children are taught using the Read Write Inc. phonics programme (see Early Reading and Phonics).
Whole Class Reading
From Year 2 to Year 6, children are taught reading skills through whole class reading. This provides children with the opportunity to practise fluency as well as focus on reading comprehension. Reading ‘VIPERS’ is used to ensure coverage of all reading skills (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explain, retrieval and summarise). Children explore themes within their class novel as well as a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts.
During whole class reading, a range of strategies are adopted to fit the purpose of the lesson. Children may engage in choral reading (teacher and pupils reading simultaneously), paired reading (alternating after each paragraph), repeated reading (reading a section multiple times), teacher modelling or reading individually one at a time. As research suggests that reading aloud individually is the least effective way to develop fluency, other strategies are used to ensure whole class reading is effective within a limited timeframe.
Once children have achieved fluency, silent reading is also encouraged. Evidence suggests that individual silent reading allows fluent readers to cover more text and allows individual readers to employ strategies such a re-reading an unclear section of the text which cannot be utilised when reading as a whole class. As children progress through school, the nature of the whole class reading session will adapt to suit the purpose of the lesson and confidence of the reader.
Reading in the Wider Curriculum
Where appropriate, class novels are used to reinforce teaching and provide a stimulus for writing. Care is taken not to choose texts based on tenuous links; instead, texts are chosen to provide high quality writing opportunities or to add another dimension to the teaching of a topic. Where appropriate, non-fiction texts are chosen to explore reading opportunities within the wider curriculum.
Why do our children love to read?
Every class, regardless of age, experiences daily story time. The aim of this session is to allow children the freedom of reading a text purely for enjoyment. This session could take many forms: teacher modelling, independent reading, class novel, book talk, sharing authors etc. We also use one session each month to allow children to experience the storytelling of other teachers in school. This session is eagerly anticipated by both staff and pupils and has proved to be a huge success in promoting a love of reading.
We recognise that children work incredibly hard at home to ensure reading takes place regularly and feel that it is important to reward children for the effort and time spent reading outside of school. A termly raffle in each class rewards regular readers with reading prizes chosen by the children. Each week, children who have read five times at home, evidenced with an adult’s signature in their reading journal, are given a raffle ticket. At the end of the term, prizes are distributed and classes choose what they would like for the following term.
In EYFS, children ‘Bag a Buddy’ – choose a soft toy to take home and read to every day. This encourages children to practise their early reading skills outside of school.
Children in other year groups are partnered with a reading buddy. The spend time reading and supporting each other which develops positive relationships between year groups.
Upper Key Stage 2 classrooms showcase ‘mystery books’ in their reading areas. This is to encourage readers to choose books based on interest in the blurb rather than relying on cover illustrations.
100 Recommended Books
To encourage children to read high-quality texts, the 100 recommended reading books for each phase are readily available to all children.
Author of the Term
To encourage children to find new and exciting texts, our ‘Author of the Term’ displays, in each phase, allow children to explore the texts of popular authors. Displays provide book reviews, excerpts and information on recommended reading.
Book and Bake Sale
Parents and carers are invited into school for our book and bake sale. This allows parents and children to purchase books and sweet treats or simply share a story. We always enjoy sharing our passion for reading with parents and our book and bake sale is a fantastic way to engage parents and carers.
World Book Day and Poetry Day
Both children and teachers look forward to our themed days to celebrate reading. On World Book Day, children are invited to dress up as book characters or bring their favourite book to school to share with their class. Poetry Day brings together reading, writing and performance as children share their creative work in a whole school assembly.
Reading at Home
At St. Mary Magdalen’s Primary School each child is expected to read at home daily, whether that is to anadult (for developing readers) or independently (for fluent readers). This should be recorded in reading journals and evidenced with a signed comment from an adult. At St. Mary Magdalen’s Primary School, weknow how important it is for teachers and parents to work together to give your child the best start. Readingtogether at home is one of the easiest but most important ways in which parents and carers can support their children.
From EYFS, children work progressively through the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. They begin using picture books then move onto phonics books which closely match their phonics learning – allowing them to feel confident when practicing their early reading skills. Early readers are encouraged to re-read books to develop fluency and confidence and also take home a book of their choice to share with their family to promote a love of reading. Our reading scheme ensures good coverage of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books to expose children to a range of text types. Children continue to use the Oxford Reading Tree scheme in Lower Key Stage 2 and we would expect that children become ‘free readers’ as they progress through Upper Key Stage 2. When children are confident and competent readers, they select their reading material from a range of age-appropriate books within their class library, guided by their teacher if necessary. Reading records are monitored regularly and books changed accordingly.
Our Reading Leaflet provides information on how to support children in their reading at home.
How do we assess reading?
Reading is assessed in line with our Assessment Policy. Termly summative assessments provide reading ages for all children and identify areas of strength and need to inform planning and intervention.
Whole Class Reading is assessed against the learning objective. Formative assessment is used in a range of ways to suit the purpose of the lesson: verbal feedback, written feedback, whole class feedback, peer assessment and self-assessment. Children are targeted as appropriate within the lesson and smaller guided groups may be used to target the more able and less able readers.