Learning to read is an important step in a child’s development not only so they can access the curriculum but also so that they can experience the enjoyment of a good book.
When our children first join us in Reception (our Kingfisher class) they are invited to select a book that appeals to them from the reading area in their class and they then take this home so that the book can be read to them and shared.
This initial sharing of books helps to show children the enjoyment that can be gained from reading and happens for the first few weeks at school.
Once the children have settled in they are then given two reading books for the week that are matched to the stage of phonics they are on. We recommend that parents take a three stage approach to the reading books. The first stage is ‘show me’, where a parent and child sit down together, with the parent modelling how to read the text and also how to make sense of it. The second stage is ‘help me’, using the same book from the first stage the parent and child work together to read the book, maybe taking it in turns or the child filling in the blanks. The final stage is ‘just me’ where a child attempts to read the book on their own.
The children have the two reading books for the full week to allow this three stage approach to take place. They are also provided with a reading record for parents to record notes in about their child’s reading. Children also read to an adult in school on a 1-1 basis initially, but as the year progresses they will take part in a guided reading session with a group of children using a different text to their home readers.
Once the children enter KS1 (Wagtails) they are moved on to a reading scheme where different sets of reading scheme books are banded in different colours depending upon the child’s stage and fluency of reading. Within each colour band there are a range of fiction and non-fiction books to suit different children’s preferences. If a child still need s support with their phonics they will also be given a phonics reading book at the stage that they are at. The children still have a reading record for parents to record progress in, but books can be changed on any day of the week as and when a child has finished the book. In school, children take part in a weekly guided reading session but may also be listened to on a 1 -1 basis.
Reading Scheme Books used in KS1:
In KS2 (Swan, Hawk and Penguin) we move away from reading scheme books and instead have a variety of fiction and non-fiction books that are organised into sections depending upon the complexity of the text. At this stage children are encouraged to select their own books within the section they are on and begin to take ownership of recording their reading in their reading records. Children are still expected to read regularly at home but this can now be to themselves rather than aloud. In school, we continue to have weekly guided reading sessions to assess children’s decoding and comprehension skills. All of these books are categorised according to colours from Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader is a computerized program that tests reading comprehension. Our pupils select books on their reading level (colour coded), read independently, and take an independent comprehension test on the computer. Each book is worth a certain number of points based on its length and reading level. This is a motivational tool as children are aiming to achieve as many points as possible.
Throughout school we are keen to promote the importance of reading with each class having a reading den, providing a cosy place to curl up with a book. We embrace technology making full use of ipads and e-books to enhancing our teaching of reading. The school also has a fully equipped library that is updated each month with newly published books. All our children are given the opportunity to select their own library book once a week.