Our Approach to Reading
At Emmer Green Primary School, we recognise that reading is the most fundamental skill that children need to learn. Reading is an essential skill for participation in all areas of life. Our core aim is for children to become confident and independent readers who gain not only understanding, but also real pleasure from the reading activities and texts they engage with.
The New Curriculum states:
“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.” (National Curriculum 2014)
How is reading systematically taught at Emmer Green Primary School?
Foundation Stage & Key Stage One
- The ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme is used for a daily 15-20 minute phonics session. This is used throughout Foundation Stage and KS1 to ensure a systematic and comprehensive programme of learning.
- Jolly Phonics songs are used to supplement ‘Letters and Sounds’ planning. Lessons all aim to address different learning styles e.g. kinesthetic, auditory and visual learners.
- The planning of Phonics in Foundation Stage and KS1 has been created and resourced by an expert Phonics Manager to ensure continuity across FS and KS1.
- Planning is shared with all staff to ensure opportunities are created to apply phonics very frequently: in guided writing, shared writing, independent writing or shared reading sessions in English. Children have access to phonics mats when writing and the sounds are clearly displayed in classrooms.
- Where necessary, children are grouped in early phonics to ensure there is appropriate challenge and support for all.
- Children are tracked and monitored throughout phonics lessons to ensure they move on when ready and this tracking is overseen and regularly reviewed by the Phonics Manager.
- Reading books are banded into colours to ensure that they match the child’s reading level. Within these bands, there is material from a wide range of reading schemes, including Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat, Storyworlds, Treetops, Jets, Usbourne and Lighthouse. These books are annually stock-checked and replenished to ensure they are attractive.
- Children are assessed using the PM Benchmarking scheme regularly and their book bands are tracked and monitored closely by Phase Leaders; this ensures children progress onto the next band of reading books when they are ready and can comprehend, as well as decode the texts.
- Guided reading is timetabled: books are also colour banded to ensure this allows opportunities to apply the sound covered in phonics lessons.
- 1:1 reading with the teacher or Early Years Practioner, Teaching Assistant or Reading Volunteer occurs at least once a week in FS and Year 1.
- Colour banded books are sent home two or three times a week with opportunities for parents to hear their child read and comment in the reading record book.
- Parents are encouraged to read very regularly with their children and the commentary from parents and frequency of reading at home is noted and discussed at Parents’ Evenings.
- Staff including EYPs, Learning Support Assistants and Teaching Assistants are trained to teach letters and sounds.
- A Reading Evening for new parents is offered during the first term in Foundation Stage to explain the systematic teaching of reading and to offer advice and guidance on supporting reading at home. In Year 1, a phonics parent workshop is held to increase knowledge and understanding of how phonics is taught and tested. Any parents who are unable to attend are offered written guidance.
- All children read to adults in school on a regular basis. Children who do not have the opportunity to read at home regularly to an adult have extra sessions.
- During KS1, guided reading and independent reading is timetabled daily. In Year 2, a ‘whole-class’ reading session is held for 20mins weekly to teach and explore the skills of inference more explicitly, across a wide range of texts.
- Every classroom is equipped with a well-stocked book corner, including a range of picture books, poetry, non-fiction and chapter books where appropriate. Children are encouraged to choose from the book corner and to share books together.
- There is a continuation of banded books and PM Benchmarking where necessary. Children who require further phonics teaching are provided with support and appropriate resources.
- Intensive 1:1 reading happens daily for children requiring extra support.
- There are very well-resourced guided reading collections for each year group which have a whole range of texts and text types.
- Whole class reading sessions (DERIC) are timetabled for three sessions a week. These sessions model and teach the core reading principles of Decode, Explain, Retrieve, Interpret and Choice, using a full range of written material, from song lyrics to classic novels.
- Year 3 are currently trialing the ‘Accelerated Reader’ programme to boost engagement with reading and enhance comprehension skills.
- Years 4, 5 and 6 are invited and encouraged to take part in the ‘Reading Olympiad’. This is a reading competition that encourages and rewards children for reading pre-selected, quality texts. The children collect points when they read certain texts and are presented with Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Parents are encouraged to support their children in this and the scheme is regularly promoted in assemblies.
- Reading records for children in Year 3 & 4 are used to comment on reading progress but also to communicate and encourage reading at home.
- Reading records for children in Year 5 & 6 are to keep a record of their personal reading and for parents listening to reading at home.
- ‘Mentor texts’ are used for whole class book talk and reading activities whereby classes study a carefully selected text for an extended period.
- English units begin with reading activities related to the genre to ensure good understanding of the texts.
- Text-based units in English are used across KS2 to inspire excellent writing opportunities.
- Extra-curricular Reading Clubs are offered to targeted years/groups to study high quality texts and understand answering questions to include sufficient detail and reference to the texts.
- The Junior library provides a range of fiction and non-fiction books and is run by our trained Year 5 librarians.
- Every classroom is equipped with a well-stocked book corner which is annually audited and updated to keep stock current and inviting.
How do we encourage children to read for pleasure at Emmer Green Primary School?
“When you read often and with enthusiasm, usually just for the sheer fun of it, you lay foundations that last for life. You empathise. You access information more easily. Almost by osmosis you internalise the essential skills of spelling, grammar and vocabulary. You learn to express yourself verbally and in writing. You learn to interpret and potentially change your world.” (Alan Gibbons, Author)
Reading for pleasure is promoted and encouraged at every opportunity at our school. We recognise the value of teachers reading aloud to children, in order to improve their grasp of story language, to enthuse them with a love of books and inspire them as writers. Therefore from Foundation Stage to Year 6 texts are shared and chosen carefully to inspire and motivate children to want to read. The texts may also link into the theme that the class are undertaking or could be used to deal with an issue or promote discussion. The texts and discussions lead to the children's thinking being challenged and develops their ability to comprehend and justify.
Some of the ways we do this by:
- Teachers reading quality texts aloud to the class or to assembled groups. Each class has a story time book, whereby teachers read a story to the class during the day to encourage reading for pleasure.
- Teachers are trained and regularly refreshed in the principles and methods for encouraging ‘Reading for Pleasure.’
- Ensuring book corners in the classroom and libraries which are inviting and welcoming for all children.
- Keeping our library and classrooms well stocked and regularly updated with newly published stories. Funding for this comes from reading fundraisers such as Book Fairs and sponsored Read-a-thons so that reading is continually promoted.
- Celebrating World Book Day annually, as a whole school fun event, ensuring that the day is completely book-centred.
- Running regular reading competitions and library quizzes to entice pupils into our library, which is run entirely by Year 5 pupils, at lunchtime.
- Recommending books to peers, formally in book presentations and informally in discussions.
- Holding fun ‘Drop Everything and Read’ sessions where the whole school stops their activity and enjoys a book for 3 minutes.
- Encouraging shared reading from ‘buddy reading’, inviting grandparents in to read and encouraging children to share books and opinions about books with their peers.
- Allotting assembly time when children have the opportunity to perform the poetry that they have been learning.
- Encouraging children to swap books with each other by holding break time Book Swap Shops.
- Visits by authors and poets to share their published work and to inspire children.
- Liaising with the local library to promote their Summer Reading Challenge and supporting children.
Year 6 and Foundation children read together as part of a ‘buddy’ programme, taking it in turns to share their stories.