English - Reading
Reading at The Grove
At The Grove, our aim is that all pupils who attend our school leave us able to read fluently, accurately and coherently, with the ability to understand, make inferences and appreciate a wide range of literature. We value the importance of reading and appreciate that it feeds into all areas of our curriculum. Throughout the school, we embed and emphasise the importance of reading and strive to expose our children to a range of high-quality literature. We understand that Reading plays a key role in helping children to develop culturally, emotionally, spiritually and socially; it allows them to find out about the world around them, gain empathy and understanding of others as well as to escape into imaginary worlds – a break away from the busyness and technology-based world in which we live.
At Grove we ensure that every day learning opportunities are maximised, so we make time every day of the week for opportunities to read either as a group, individually or as a class. As a school we promote reading through various Reading-for-Pleasure class-based and whole-school activities, competitions, Reading-&-Writing weeks and weekly visits to our school library, to help children gain a thirst for reading of all kinds.
Our ultimate aim is to have a school that loves to read!
Reading in Foundation Stage & Key Stage 1
In EYFS, we continue to build on the positive experiences the children have had at home and in their pre-school settings with books and reading. Reading, sharing and telling stories is embedded within the curriculum. Children take part in oral storytelling through Helicopter Stories and Talk for Writing. Reading is also available as one of our Choose-and-Learn activities and we try to ensure we provide somewhere comfortable for children to sit and enjoy a book, either on their own, with friends or with an adult. A range of fiction and non-fiction books are available and changed on a regular basis. Groups of children and the whole class listen to, and join in with, the reading and telling of high quality literature every day.
Within the first few days of starting school, pupils engage in activities and games that improve their listening skills. We start to systematically teach phonics in Autumn 1, using our own curriculum, which draws on the ‘Letters & Sounds’ phonics scheme and ‘Story Time Phonics’ as our planning tools. Our phonics lessons are lively and interactive 20 minute sessions, packed with a range of individual and group activities based around a key text so that phonics teaching is embedded within the wider context of reading. In each session, pupils will consolidate previous learning (revise sounds, High Frequency and Tricky Words) already taught before being introduced to their new learning. A range of games and activities are used to practice the new learning before children apply their learning through reading and writing words, captions or sentences. Activities such as word hunts, Cross the River and Phonics Bingo are a fun way to get the children to apply their new learning in a range of contexts in their environment.
Reading at home
At the end of each week, parents are informed of that week’s new learning using their home-learning books and phonics caption-action cards and are asked to reinforce this at home. As pupils learn the corresponding letters and sounds, they are gradually introduced to blending these sounds together to make words, alongside learning those words. Additionally, all children are sent home with a pack of high frequency words (a mix of high frequency decodable words and ‘tricky words’ – words that cannot be decoded). Children are asked to practice these and are assessed weekly – if they can read the words by sight the next words in the list are given out.
Pupils read individually with an adult as frequently as possible, using banded reading books, which gradually introduce a range of new words, alongside an opportunity to practice their phonics. All staff approach reading 1-to-1 with a consistent structure; whilst reading a familiar book which the child is confident with, the child will be asked to identify high-frequency words from the text and focus on their comprehension skills. Then the adult and child will discuss unfamiliar vocabulary and ensure all letters can be named correctly. After this, the child is to read the sentences aloud. If they are stuck, they return to the word once the sentence is finished and discus it’s meaning in context. Finally, revisit any high-frequency words which were tricky from the text. Comments are recorded within the 1-to-1 reading records.
We share high quality texts with the children during 1:1 interactions within the environment and during whole class story time. In these shared reading sessions, a text is read aloud to the children; this allows adults to model key reading behaviours and allows children to share their thoughts and opinions of texts. They also access the comprehension-side of reading through answering a range of questions. The children use simplified reading skills to answer questions about what is happening in the story, using where, why, when question stems. They are also encouraged to use the pictures to support and justify their comments. At the end of the day, the classes read a story time phonics text, in preparation for their learning the following day. Each of these texts comes with a Talking Bookmark, which offers a range of questions based around a vocabulary check, predicting and exploring and reading and responding. Any comments or observations are recorded for the child’s individual Learning Journeys, aged and staged appropriately and evidenced into the child’s learning journeys. Suitable, age-appropriate books are chosen from our collated list of suggested texts.
Parental involvement is key in practicing the skills taught in school and enabling children to quickly develop some fluency in their reading. We offer a phonic workshop early in the Autumn term for all Foundation Stage and Year 1 parents and we ask all parents to read on a daily basis for at least 15 minutes a day with their child at home. Caption action cards and High Frequency Words are sent home weekly, with suggested activities for parents. To promote reading for pleasure, all parents are invited to a weekly reading open morning from October. Pupils for whom this doesn’t happen, are given extra reading opportunities at school, such as reading alongside support staff or a reading volunteer.
Y2 Guided Reading (2019-20):
This approach involves the teacher working more frequently in small focus groups in order to have more focussed input to develop fluency and comprehension. Children who are not working with the teacher complete activities which enable the child to independently apply previously taught reading skills. These are planned carefully according to need and are of a high quality.
Whilst planning, teachers consider the possible misconceptions that might arise within each lesson and plan accordingly. These possible misconceptions are made clear on the planning. In addition to this, teachers plan key questions to support and challenge, and identify key vocabulary which both aim to facilitate learning. To ensure quality first teaching, differentiation of learning is made explicit for each lesson and focus children, for whom extra provision is needed, are also identified.
Carousel activities are as follows:
- Pre-read activity, possibly focussing on visualising, clarifying or prediction
- Teacher-led group, focussing on decoding alongside prediction, inference and retrieval
- Post-read activity, focussing on summarising, prediction and evaluatin
- Reading for Pleasure
- Each week plans Book Talk as one of the week’s Reading activities
Reading in Key Stage 2
In Class Reading
In class, we have quality, quiet silent reading time at least three times a week (referred to as DEAR Time in UKS2). During this time, the children can read their loaned library book or their class reading corner book. This way, they are really focus and enjoy their book. We have class stories read by the class teacher, that the whole class listen to and discuss.
In Key Stage 2, we have whole-class Guiding Readers sessions four times a week. Through the week, the class will focus on a number of the reading skills as starters and main activities, all evidenced in their individual Reading Journals, to show that they are able to independently apply what they have discussed with the adult and peers. A class will focus on a specific skill each week, then the children’s understanding of what has been taught will be assessed through the weekly independent written assessment (the ‘snapshot assessment’). This ensures each child is making the expected progress and enables the teacher to quickly identify individual and whole-class misconceptions. Suitable, age-appropriate books and texts are chosen from our collated list of suggested texts.
Book Talk is a wonderful opportunity the children and the teacher to discuss images or extracts from texts, in a planned and structured session, which focuses on engagement with the ideas in a text. Central to book talk is dialogue, and it is an excellent opportunity to foster dialogic talk within the classroom through the use of strategies such as sentence stems and talking points and allow them to build on or challenge a peer’s point of view, in a safe space. Book Talk takes place once a week for at least 20 minutes.
Our well-stocked school library contains an assortment of both fiction and non – fiction books to be borrowed for in school and home use. Each class has a library period timetabled once a week, with our volunteer librarian, but we encourage classes to use the library at additional times too! All children have their own unique bar code, which allows us to keep track of the number of books children are loaning out.
Reading & Writing Buddies
Each class is buddies up with another. The Reading & Writing buddies give the opportunity to the children to read their own work aloud and get feedback from older or younger children. Buddies meet at least once a term, sometimes just to have buddy-up reading time, others to present work to.
Reading Cafes & Picnics
To continue our passion for reading and a true buzz around books between home and school, we host termly Reading Cafes for family and carers. These take place every Wednesday morning (8.45-9), from Reception to Year 6. Family and carers are invited into the classrooms to read alongside their children. This is a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to read books and magazines which they may not have access to at home.
At the end of the Book Talk session, children are given a few minutes to bring in their own book and recommend it to their peers.
Some pupils in Key Stage 2 may still need to read individually, and the frequency of this will depend on their progress and attainment. Those children that need extra support are read with at least three times a week by the class teacher, support staff or community volunteer. Often these children use books from a variety of sources, which are ‘banded’. This allows our developing readers to read at a controlled pitch, before they start choosing their own books. We believe that using the bands helps the children to learn the skills of reading and boosts their confidence before having the freedom to choose more challenging and varied books. This is a way to bridge ‘the will’ and ‘the skill’ divide.
All children are encouraged to read at home and we monitor this support through Reading Records. Reading Records are monitored by daily check-ins with the class teacher through a tick list and if children do not have their reading record signed at least twice a week, then a letter will be sent home.
Reading Gladiators reading club is hosted once a week for Year 6 avid readers. This is an intimate club facilitated by a teacher, allowing children a time to read a range of novels and have a time to discuss them along with completing a number of art activities around the themes.
Teachers are readers too!
At the Grove, the teachers love to read as much as the children. As a staff, we try to stay up to date with current children’s literature by sharing book recommendations at our weekly staff meeting, as part of our ‘Book Blether’ and as a staff, we like to visit Heffers book shop as part of our off-site staff meetings. We also recommend what we’re reading on our classroom doors, demonstrating to children how Reading is a hobby we all can share and creates a buzz around books.
There are three levels of assessment which teachers use to assess the children’s Reading progress and attainment:
Long-term assessment method:
- End of Key Stage SATs
- EYFS Profile
- End of year data
- End of year reports
Medium-term assessment method:
- Termly NFER Assessments
- IEPs (for identified children)
- NFER Assessment scores
Short-term assessment method:
- Daily informal assessments through observation, used to support individuals
- Weekly informal (referred to “Snapshot” assessments in KS2), completed in Reading Journals
- Written feedback on children’s work using close-the-gap marking
- Pupils’ self-reflection of lesson objectives