At Barwic Parade, we understand that word reading and comprehension are vital skills and underpin all other subjects within the curriculum. We want all children within our school to develop the skills needed to become fluent readers who are able to comprehend and engage with texts in different ways. Not only this, we want children to develop a love of reading, to choose books not because they have to, but because they want to. We want our children to be excited at the prospect of what they might learn from a book, to engage with what they read and form their own opinions about the topic. We are aiming to develop a culture of reading where everyone, staff included, reads widely and often. While at Barwic Parade, children should form their own opinions about the type of books they most enjoy, they should develop and expand their vocabulary through reading or being read to and should broaden their knowledge and imaginations.
Through high-quality, effective phonics teaching in reception and key stage 1, we aim to ensure that all children emerge into key stage 2 with a strong foundation of word reading. They should be able to read fluently, decoding new and unfamiliar words with accuracy and basing these attempts on taught phonics. This discrete teaching will, however, continue through school when and where needed for individual pupils to ensure no child is left behind. We also aim to increase children's vocabulary throughout school by reading a wide range of texts as this provides opportunities to encounter words they would rarely hear or use in their everyday life. We want children to be confident with fiction, non-fiction, poetry and performance pieces and aim to provide them with opportunities designed to stimulate their imaginations and fill them with curiosity about the world.
Through high-quality, effective teaching and a wide range of reading experiences, we want to provide children with the vital skills needed for later life, to broaden their knowledge and experiences through books and inspire them to become life-long readers.
Across the school
Reading and phonics at Barwic Parade are clearly organised and progression documents detail to teachers what children should be taught and when. Staff are able to see children's prior learning and how what they teach builds upon previous skills and knowledge taught. Opportunities to revise previous content have been planned in and children are given the chance to apply these skills independently and to a wider range of texts, for example different genres or more complex reading levels. Vocabulary to be used when teaching has also been identified and is progressive throughout the school.
In every key stage, class reading books are chosen specifically to increase the cultural awareness of children by reading classic texts or texts with important themes. These are read to the children by the class teacher and provide opportunities for discussion, modelled fluency and intonation and encouraging reading for pleasure. Children also have access to comfortable, interesting and quiet reading areas within all classrooms and are provided with time in the day to enjoy independent reading for their own enjoyment.
Engagement in reading is also promoted at every available opportunity. We have reading certificates to celebrate all achievements in reading at home, themed days or weeks based around different authors, opportunities for parents to visit school for reading, trips to see plays and performances, book clubs and much more.
Learning to read (early reading)
In EYFS and Key Stage 1, we focus on learning to read. This begins in our nursery classroom where we promote a love of reading through celebrating books. Children are shown how to hold books, to turn pages, to know which end of the book we start from and that we can retrieve information from stories. A love of books and reading is fostered through modelling respect for books and ensuring that ‘they are always happy’. Phase 1 phonics of Letters and Sounds is a huge part of early reading and concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills, allowing them to tune into sounds around them. This lays a strong foundation for the introduction of grapheme phoneme correspondences in phase 2.
In our reception classrooms, Letters and Sounds is followed consistently in order to ensure high-quality phonics teaching. Phase 1 is consolidated or introduced for new children within the first half term. Phase 2 also begins within the first half term by introducing a sound (phoneme) a day, as well as up to 3 sight words a week. Letter names are introduced alongside each phoneme and we use Jolly Phonics kinaesthetic actions to accompany these. New phonemes are sent home daily for children to practice alongside a reading book. Children are read with and books are changed twice a week on a 1:1 basis. We use phonics-based books to support reading development in school which are closely linked to the sounds the children have learnt that week to ensure they can read their home reading books.
Continuing into key stage one, book bands are used to organise books into progressively challenging sets that are based on phonics knowledge. Guided Reading sessions in school support the children to develop their understanding of what they read. These books are pitched slightly higher than independent reading books to allow teachers to challenge children's knowledge and support their understanding. As well as group reading, children practise their comprehension as a whole class on a weekly basis, focusing on the skills of Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarising (VIPERS). This may be through a picture book, a short film or from a text extract. Children are also encouraged to read every night for 10-20 minutes.
Reading to learn
In Key Stage 2, the focus moves towards 'reading to learn', although there may be some children who still benefit from phonics-based reading and discrete teaching of this. Guided Reading sessions in key stage 2 support children to develop their understanding of what they read. Sessions are planned using features of reciprocal reading, including a focus on predictive skills, clarifying, questioning and summarising. In addition, children will continue to refine their retrieval skills and be exposed to examples of more complex inferences and those questions requiring more detailed explanations. Guided reading is done every day and clear, relevant links are made to other subjects within the curriculum wherever possible. Independent reading books are organised in such a way that they build upon the banding scheme used in KS1 and become progressively more challenging through content, vocabulary and length. Children are also encouraged to read for 20 minutes every night.
Because we also recognise that the quality and variety of language that children are exposed to directly affects their understanding of what they read, we ensure that all of our classrooms are vocabulary-rich environments. This is done through staff modelling, discrete vocabulary sessions, displays and discussions about language in English and reading sessions. During reading sessions, teachers regularly check for understanding and children are encouraged to ask when they come across a word they do not understand. Children have access to dictionaries and thesauruses and teachers revisit new vocabulary in many different contexts to embed this into children's long term memories.
Our reading curriculum has been developed to meet the needs of all the children we teach and ensures that when children leave Barwic Parade, they have a life-long love of learning instilled within them. Reading and reading achievements are always highly celebrated within school. We understand how vital it is to engage children with books and have been successful doing this in a number of ways including: book fairs, class readers, drama performances, book clubs, class reading buddies, secret storytellers and reading cafés to name a few.
Formative assessment strategies are used by teachers to track children's progress, attainment and to identify areas of focus. Use of effective questioning and discussion, as well as tasks set, allows for all planning to be relevant to the needs of the class and adapted to suit individual learners with different needs. Skills are taught in small steps, they are practised, and they are repeated and revisited to enable children to deepen their understanding and improve their fluency. By breaking down new skills (whether it be decoding words or how to summarise the main theme of a paragraph), children at Barwic are more able to apply their knowledge in reading across all subjects to a high standard.
Snapshots of reading:
World Book Day 2020
This year for world book day, our theme was Alice in Wonderland. We made the decision that one day wasn't enough so we decided to celebrate it all week! Our week began with a very funny and engaging drama performance of Alice in Wonderland by Divergent Drama, followed by workshops teaching some performance techniques. We also all took part in a dress-up day and had lessons based around the book.
By reading at home and having their planner signed, children can earn reading certificates. We celebrate these fantastic achievements every week in our Friday assembly, where Miss Dixon gives her famous quote that "Reading makes you brainy!"
Some of our children are now on over 300 reads at home!
Our reading cafés for parents have proven to be very popular and are engaging for children and parents alike. We've also had the chance to share lots of new and exciting books!
Class reading buddies
Some of our older classes are paired up with our younger classes and often spend some time together sharing stories. This continues to help make reading engaging and older pupils love to offer their help whenever they can!
Down in Early Years, each week the secret storyteller that comes to visit provides a great deal of excitement. Children get to listen to one of their favourite books by a surprise guest.
Images to follow
Some of the year 3/4 teachers ran a book club for year 4 and year 5 children, sharing some amazing books and inspiring children to read lots of fantastic authors.