English: Reading

At Beechwood School, reading is taught daily and we believe that reading is a fundamental skill for all pupils.

Our reading curriculum allows pupils to explore reading through the breadth and depth of the National Curriculum enabling our pupils the right to be literate and foster a lifelong love of reading.

Our principles for reading have been developed, taking into account what we know of our pupils and community as well as the latest research.

Enriching and widening pupils’ vocabulary is key to our reading offer. We understand that without this developing knowledge, pupils may be unable to read for meaning, understand what they are taught, express how they feel and to manage social situations. By immersing the pupils in high quality texts and exposing them to a range of authors, pupils will develop a broad perspective of the world around them. Our curriculum promotes talk amongst peers as this is vitally important to not only development across the whole curriculum, but also underpins the development of reading and writing. Pupils will be fully equipped and confident to use spoken language in social interaction, whilst progressing their knowledge and skills in reading and writing.

Our reading curriculum will be taught through a pedagogy that excites, promotes and sustains pupils’ interest. Modelling features heavily as a foundation to our reading sequence, reflecting findings of the Education Endowment Foundation; modelling and supportive practice are recommended to improve literacy skills.

In the Early Years and Year 1, phonic sessions are also taught daily to enable pupils at a young age, to develop and embed good decoding skills and become fluent readers. Where required phonics is further taught in year 2. The school implements a systematic synthetic phonics programme; this programme is Little Wandle.

In Key Stage 1, pupils also follow the Little Wandle approach to Practice Reading.

Key stage 2 reading is taught daily for at least 30 minutes. This consists of two whole class sessions, one of which always focuses on exploring, developing and understanding a broad range of vocabulary; the other introducing and modelling a content domain. Pupils within these sessions are also taught to develop and improve their fluency skills by providing opportunities to read aloud and direct teaching of decoding skills. A further two sessions consist of guided and independent activities, which continue to build upon learning. The sequence concludes with an application of learning where the pupils showcase their understanding of skills and knowledge gained.

Pupils have regular opportunities to read at length and answer a range of domain questions, which are skilfully modelled by teachers; these are revisited frequently through carefully chosen activities and are embedded into different contexts across our wider curriculum offer. In addition, pupils read together in groups and regularly read to an adult on an individual basis.

Decoding is woven into the reading structure to enable phonics to be built upon continually throughout the year groups. Through vocabulary exploration opportunities are taken to repeatedly develop fluency, pace and competence in reading, for example, clarifying alternative sounds at carefully chosen points and the modelling of segmenting and blending through the use of sound buttons.

Pupils and staff are encouraged to read for pleasure to broaden their knowledge of pupils’ literature. This is built into our reading offer whereby pupils discover an enjoyment of reading through regular book talk and exposure to contemporary and classic texts. Reading for pleasure is further promoted where pupils can independently choose a book or use meaningful book recommendations (from staff or other pupils) to inspire their book selection. Pupils are provided with a ‘choice’ book that can be read alongside family members at home – communication between teaching staff and parents is encouraged through the use of home reading diaries.

Texts are selected with thought. Whilst ensuring that pupils read widely to expose a deepening vocabulary repertoire, they are also progressive in sentence structure and composition and/or a theme. In particular, wider social issues such as social injustice and stereotypes. A variety of texts have also been chosen to support and enhance the learning of the wider curriculum.

Each child takes a new reading book home regularly to read with their parents/carers. A reading guide and accompanying Communication Book articulate the link between learning in school and how parents/carers can support their child’s reading at home. Pupils take home phonetically decodable books until they move on to the Accelerated Reader scheme. This scheme motivates pupils to select their own books within their assessed reading level. Upon completion of the book, pupils take an online comprehension quiz to assess their understanding of the book.

Reading is assessed regularly during the weekly teaching sequence. Teachers assess pupils’ progress against National Curriculum statements and content domains being taught. Pupils are assessed more formally through NFER assessments, past test papers and statutory end of Key Stage Tests.

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