Learning to read is a skill prioritised at Atwood as we know it is the gateway to the wider curriculum which proves vital not just for secondary education but beyond in later life. Children progress from learning to read, to reading to learn, enabling them to access a curriculum rich in literary works that expands their knowledge and curiosity about the world. Throughout their school career, children are taught not only the strategies to decode texts successfully with fluency but to also become metacognitive readers so they gain the skills to tackle challenging texts independently. Atwood develops a passion for reading so that scholars begin their secondary schooling as proud, fluent readers at or above their chronological age, well set up with a life-long love of reading beyond the classroom.
What is our approach to Reading?
Following on from the robust phonics program, children’s reading skills mean they can access an increasingly challenging range of texts as they move up the school. Immediately after phonics the Year 2 Comprehension programme acts as a gateway between KS1 and KS2 where the children practise fluency and comprehension strategies with the Read, Write Inc Literacy and Language texts. This is then built upon in KS2 with the Reading Revolution programme which follows a reading approach across five days. The five-day plan encompasses signature strategies based around the Five Pillars of Reading; phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension (National Reading Panel Report 2000) . Over the week, children develop their fluency of a text and build an increasing familiarisation with new vocabulary which equips them to then gain a better understanding of the text and be able to critically answer literal and inference questions.
Our approach to reading, as well as literacy and humanities, is complemented by texts rich in vocabulary often drawing on both our literacy heritage and diverse community. To foster a love and enthusiasm for reading, carefully chosen texts both inspire and ignite sparks of interest to find out more and cover a range of genres; fiction, non-fiction, poetry and playscripts. These texts, set out in our book spine and curriculum maps, are explored in our timetabled reading lessons, literacy lessons or shared as class books.
What does our approach to Reading look like in the classroom?
- Daily timetabled Reading lessons following the five-day plan.
- Decoding strategies such as ‘Hear, See, Say’ and ‘Speed words’ to pre-teach more challenging vocabulary before children start tackling a text.
- Paired reading which develops throughout the week from a decode read to a fluency read. Paired reading trains our students to act both as a reader and as a teacher, and therefore becoming reflective learners and critical thinkers. We use sentence stems to model and teach the children this process so that they become confident communicators and kind collaborators.
- Teachers model fluency (rate, expression, accuracy and phrasing) and explain their thought processes so that children can emulate this process independently during paired reading.
- Vocabulary ‘Do Now’ tasks deepen children’s familiarly with challenging and subject-specific vocabulary.
- A deeper understanding of the text allows the children to answer both literal and inference questions with resilience. This knowledge is developed further so that children can practise a range of question types such as sequencing events in a text, summarising the purpose, answering true and false and making predictions.
- Teachers plan ‘challenge’ tasks at each stage of the lesson, designed to stretch and challenge all.
- Teachers plan scaffolded tasks to ensure activities are accessible to less confident readers.
- Teacher-led discussions support children’s understanding of the text, dissecting answers and addressing misconceptions.
- Deeper understanding of the text is evident across the week due to deliberate planning designed to ‘dig beneath the surface’ culminating in debating and creatively thinking about a philosophical question linked to the ‘bigger picture’.
- Forensic analysis of summative data provides insights into gaps in knowledge, and informs future planning of questioning and ‘Do Nows’.
- Children who find reading more challenging are prioritised and given targeted interventions and support to help them grow into proud confident readers.
- Children show evidence of implementing their learning from reading lessons in their writing lessons.
- We also aim to give children a range of books that they can read both in and out of the classroom:
- All children receive a matched decodable book according to their reading level . We use the Reading Roadmap (a scheme which provides dedicated book titles for years 3 and 4, and years 5 and 6) and Oxford University Press for children to take home and read an appropriately matched book.
- We have an incredibly stocked library with a variety of current genres and authors as well book corners where children can choose an additional reading for pleasure book to either read at home or at school.
How do we measure success in Reading?
- Outcomes at KS2 are consistently above national and local averages with a significant number of children securing the higher GDS standard.
- NGRT results provide us with ‘Reading Age’ data which continues to be strong with interventions in place for children reading below their reading age
- Progress tracked for our less confident readers through PM Benchmark and Read Write Inc.
- Children enthused about the texts they are studying and are keen to progress through the book.
- Children have a love of reading and read widely.
- Children can increasingly draw on their knowledge to broaden their understanding of the world around them.
Parents often ask for book recommendations for reading at home with their children. Given the frequency of new publications, our librarian has recommended these two websites:
The Book Trust create a list of 100 recommended books every year as well as suggested books for specific age groups.
The School Reading List is regualarly updated and goes further than just age related titles. They included Books of the Month, Award winning books etc.