Reading is at the centre of our school ethos.
This is developed through a daily read-aloud programme of great books and page-turners, as well as access to a wide range of titles, including comedy, magazines, newspapers, comics, home-made books, quality fiction and non-fiction books and graphic novels.
Time is devoted to daily quiet reading, even if this is only 15 minutes at any point in the day. Reading for Pleasure is not a poster or slogan; it is when children read greedily with passion.
2 | We are reading teachers.
Teachers at our school believe in the importance of reading and many are avid readers themselves. They hold book clubs, work with authors, share quality texts among themselves and their children.
They know children’s books well, have a good understanding of how to teach reading and are skilled teachers. Through their enthusiasm for reading, they become the significant reader in the children’s lives.
3 | We are a reading school.
In the school the leadership team drive the reading programme. They know what is happening and impact is carefully checked. Teaching is constantly updated and refined in the light of research and experience.
We use SATs data to focus teaching but are just as keen to monitor children’s motivation. Reading is central to the culture of school.
4 | We teach phonics.
Phonics is a high priority. Children are taught to decode and spell using phonics automatically. This early teaching of reading is daily and vigorous.
There are three keys aspects that we focus on: phonics is applied to reading, it works from sound to print for spelling, and teachers check there is no gap between spelling and decoding.
There is rapid intervention for anyone falling behind. This is accompanied by daily comprehension, using great picture books, story books and ‘Big Books’.
5 | We teach vocabulary.
Vocabulary is taught daily in English lessons and other subjects. Children do not struggle with reading comprehension if decoding and vocabulary are well developed.
In our school it is taught through developing an interest in and love of words. Where do words come from; how do they work; how are they spelled; how are they used?
In our school we have an agreed ‘reading spine’ that identifies most of the quality core books that the children study throughout the year. These are revisited and changed periodically.
Shared reading is used to teach the whole class; guided reading to teach different groups, and time is given to independent practice. Teachers model being a reader by saying things such as, ‘The author is suggesting that…. I know this because the author states…’. They read line by line, slowing the text down so that children get into the habit of making links between sentences.
Oral comprehension explores open and focused questions, deepening understanding and appreciation. Pupils are not ‘guessing what is in the teacher’s head’. Children are invited to share their ideas and offer good questions that enable them to think deeply. In KS2 classes, pupils are encouraged to make notes, discussions are often recorded on the flipchart and used as a basis for shared and independent writing.
Comprehension is developed through discussion but also supported by drama, map making, writing in-role and the arts. We use broader reading opportunities to enrich the children’s understanding and reading may be linked to relevant experiences, such as trips, visits and visitors.
8 | We read daily in other subjects.
Reading is also taught daily in other subjects. This extra reading provides opportunities to increase the children’s subject knowledge. Words hold knowledge.
9 | We involve parents.
We put effort into motivating parents. Our reading systems are strong and many children whose families might not be able to support reading at home, still become readers. We are determined to get everyone reading, opening the gateway to a life of learning and pleasure, believing everyone can achieve.