We know that we can improve all curriculum areas by getting reading right.
At Springhead Primary School we recognise that reading is an essential life skill and we are committed to enabling our children to become lifelong readers. We believe in both the importance of developing children’s discrete word-reading skills and comprehension, and the need to engender their love of books and reading. We provide opportunities to engage in rich and diverse activities where the children can immerse themselves in great literature. Through our teaching, we acknowledge that exploring a variety of texts will support the children in developing an understanding of the world around them, inspire them to ask questions and allow them to express their ideas, emotions and opinions. As stated by Katherine Patterson:
‘It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations – something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.’
We recognise that reading is a skill that enables children to develop their learning across the wider curriculum and lays the foundations for success in future lines of study and employment. We have high expectations of all children to meet expected standards and higher. We encourage them to challenge themselves, persevere and pursue success, always being ambitious in their choice of text. We also understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, and so encourage a home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school through good quality texts.
Our reading curriculum revolves around the development of five key areas; enjoyment, decoding, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. We nurture this by:
The journey of developing a love of reading begins on a child’s first day at school. With this in mind, the sharing of books between staff and children is paramount within the first few weeks. Children starting in Reception initially choose a book from an age appropriate selection to take home to share with their family. This allows the staff time to fully assess each individual child in preparation for following the ‘Read, Write Inc’ (RWI) systematic synthetic phonics teaching programme. Throughout Reception and Key Stage 1, children continue to follow the home/school RWI reading scheme. All children also have the opportunity to choose a separate 'free choice' reading book.
As children transition into Key Stage 2 we continue to instill a love of reading by providing a wide range of quality books to choose from. In lower Key Stage 2 some children may continue to read books from the RWI reading scheme before moving on to books from the school’s reading scheme.
As a school, every year group has access to quality texts through teacher-led ‘Guiding Reading’ sessions. These begin in Reception and run through to year 6. These are small group 20 minute reading sessions that are inclusive for all and guided by the teacher. This small group approach allows teachers the opportunity to work closely with the children to develop our five key areas for reading success. When the teacher is working with their small group, the rest of the class are completing reading related activities.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim at Springhead is for our children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. With decoding taught as the prime approach to reading, the children become familiar with this strategy and have the confidence to work out unfamiliar words in any new texts they encounter even when they have come to the end of the RWI programme. Our children have the opportunity to develop their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school; accessing a range of texts independently.
Attainment in reading is measured using statutory assessments such as those carried out at the end of EYFS, Key Stage 1 and 2 and following the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. Additionally, we track our own reading attainment through half-termly ‘Read, Write Inc’ (RWI) assessments, termly reading comprehension papers, as well as our ongoing teacher assessments.
As we believe that reading is key to all learning, the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the result of statutory assessments. We endeavour to give all of our children the opportunity to enter the varied worlds that reading can open up to them by sharing texts from a range of cultures and genres, encouraging them to ask questions, guiding them to seek out more information for themselves and making sure they have a varied selection of books to choose from. As the children transition between year groups, we aspire for them all to be fluent, confident and able readers, who can access a range of texts for pleasure and enjoyment, as well as use their reading skills to unlock learning in all areas of the curriculum.