“At Park Primary School we strive to create an atmosphere that fosters a love of reading. Once we have captured a child’s interest in reading, we hope they will be a reader for their entire lives. We regard reading as one of the most important life skills, because it is the key, which unlocks the door to a world of knowledge and other skills.”
“Our fantastic reading cafe contains hundreds of books and we also have a school library and reading areas in each class across school. Throughout the year we take part in many fun and exciting reading challenges as well as having a very popular dinner time reading club.”
“Our school is proud to be part of Pendle Reading Challenge initiative which aims to promote reading for pleasure in school, and at home, across the borough. We have daily guided reading sessions across our school as well as time for children to carry out free choice reading and also listen to a novel read by their class teacher. Please see our school ‘Reading Spine’ to see what books children will be working on in each year group.”
Listening to Readers
Throughout school we listen to daily readers and have guided reading groups. Also our teachers regularly read to the children in order to develop a love of books and access poetry, stories and information books. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing. Daily readers practice the technical skills of reading, the sounding out and breaking down of words with a smaller amount of inference and comprehension work. This becomes less frequent as the child moves up through school and a greater emphasis on guided reading takes place. It is in the guided reading sessions where the skills of questioning, summarising and clarifying are taught. These occur in small groups of children working at the same level in reading and who have a similar pace. Children are encouraged to think about texts and respond to questions or complete tasks based on their reading.
In addition to banded reading books, all children can also develop their enjoyment for reading as they have the opportunity to access the school library and reading cafe, to choose a wide range of information books and every classroom has a well-stocked reading corner, which further promotes and encourages reading for pleasure.
Although we assess children’s reading throughout Key Stage 2, Year 6 children complete a SATs Reading Test in May.
Reading in Early Years
In the Early Years we provide a rich ‘Book’ experience, by giving endless opportunities to share books with adults. This develops a child’s enjoyment of books and other printed material, teaches them how to handle books and gives reading a real purpose. Together children can talk about stories or information, join in with familiar phrases and sing favourite rhymes, songs and jingles. Also they begin to make up stories of their own based on outdoor experiences, role playing adventures, or toys and jigsaws they have made. The Early Years has high quality book areas, where the books are accessible, owned and loved by children. With the addition of story props, sacks and boxes filled with desirable objects to enthuse.
From the beginning of Nursery we teach reading through a phonics approach. At the very beginning, the focus is on listening to and hearing sounds, rather than recognising the actual letters (graphemes), which come later. Our children have opportunities to explore different sounds in their environment, how to make and change sounds using musical instruments and create rhythms. This teaches them the pattern, pace and expression reading requires. Through listening, our children learn to link sounds and letters in the order they occur in words, as well as naming and sounding letters in the alphabet. Oral segmenting (breaking up letters in words) and blending (putting them back together) plays a huge part in the steps to teaching a child to read.
In Reception children learn to recognise 42 letter sounds (graphemes), read CVC words (ship, cat, hat, chop) by blending letters together, recognise ‘tricky’ words, such as she, no, go, was, the and learn letter names. When they have achieved this, they begin to read short captions and simple sentences (The farmer gets up at six in the morning). Now it’s time to practice reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know, with our Book Band system.
Reading in Key Stage One
Reading in Key Stage 1 continues with a phonics approach where systematic, daily, discrete teaching takes place, with opportunities for the children to practice and apply their skills in the context of reading. At this stage, we emphasise that reading for fluency is important, therefore by giving children opportunities to re-read familiar books, we build their confidence and they begin to feel like real readers!
By the end of year 1, the government require children to complete a phonics test. At Park Primary School, we take every measure to ensure that children are not worried about this test. The children are used to phonics in their lessons and we incorporate the test into normal lesson time. Most children are not even aware they have actually completed a test.
Reading in Key Stage Two
Within Key Stage 2, the emphasis shifts to reading for pleasure and also reading to learn. At this point, texts become longer and less familiar, reading becomes more fluent and the pace of reading is quickened. However, if children are not reading fluently, they will still be working on the ‘Letters and Sounds’ phonics programme and be reading colour banded books.
During whole class literacy lessons, a large chunk of each unit is spent reading through and analysing high quality texts based around the genre that they are covering. Children will explore the texts further during guided reading sessions. There is also ample opportunity for children to use library time, and free choice reading time, to explore books of their choice.
What if my child finds it difficult to read?
We want every child to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. Therefore, we give extra 1:1 support and guided reading groups where needed. Please remember all children are individual, so some children take a little longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word
How can I help?
Children benefit hugely from exposure to books from an early age and finding books that fire your child’s imagination and interest is key. Make reading fun! Remember to keep reading to your child. This helps them to grow a vast vocabulary and understand the meaning of books. Children love routine, and reading is something that you and your child can look forward to every day. Some love fiction others non-fiction! It can be stories, information books, magazines, annuals, comic, signs, list etc. It all counts! Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to read whatever they have a love of, as it develops their fluency and expression.
Throughout the year, parent will be invited to come to our Reading Cafe. This is very relaxed environment for you and your child to enjoy a ‘book and a brew’ and it provides an opportunity to share lots of suggestions on how to help your child read. Your support really does get your child off to a flying start and encourages them to make good progress! One simple way is to help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘blend’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names.
If you have any further queries about how we teach reading, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
As part of our Literacy Works, you can see which texts your children will be reading throughout the year on our ‘Reading Spine’ Click on the Download link below to get a PDF copy where you can view the books we will be using this year.