Learning to read is a skill prioritsed 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 of 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 themselves. Atwood develops a passion for reading so that scholars begin their secondary schooling as 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 increasing 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 he Read, Write Inc Literacy and Language texts. This is then built upon in KS2 with the Reading Revolution progamme which follows a reading approach across five days. The five-day plan is based around the Five Pillars of Reading (National Reading Panel Report 2000) and encompasses the Ark reading KPIs (aligned with National Curriculum). 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 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 our literacy heritage. To foster a love of reading, carefully chosen texts both inspire and ignite sparks of interest to find out more. 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.
We also aim to give children a range of books that they can read both in and out of the classroom.
- We use the Reading Roadmap (a scheme which provides dedicated book titles for years 3 and 4, and years 5 and 6) for children to take home and read an age-appropriate book.
- We also 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.
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, giving prompts if necessary to their partner to further improve their reading.
- Teachers model fluency (rate, expression, accuracy and phrasing) and explain their thought processes so that children can emulate this process 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. 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 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 more confident readers.
- Children show evidence of implementing learning from reading lessons, in their writing lessons.
How do we measure success in Reading?
- Outcomes at KS2 show over 10 percentage points above National at EXS and GDS for two consecutive years, also comfortably above Westminster average.
- 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.