At Wolsey House Primary School we believe that our quality pedagogy will develop our children’s love of reading. We consider reading to be the root to learning and aim to inspire, stimulate and challenge our children through creating habits of reading widely and often; thus creating independent, confident and successful learners as well as developing their moral, spiritual and cultural understanding through reading. Alongside allowing them to develop the vocabulary needed to express and articulate themselves confidently. We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base for reading, which follows a clear pathway as they advance through their primary school journey. It is vitally important that they read easily, fluently and effortlessly, with good understanding. Our approach to teaching reading provides the opportunity for children to acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. As a result, we ensure a secure basis for reading is embedded to open opportunities for a high quality education in all areas and give our children the tools they need to contribute to their community and the wider society. We also ensure that children develop an understanding and appreciation of the rich and varied literary heritage in England and other countries of the World.
We want every child to leave school as a fluent reader, enabling them to be fully prepared for further academic study and equipped for everyday life. Our aim is for children to leave school at 11 years old having accessed a variety of texts, a range of genres with a passion and curiosity to want to continue their reading journey. ‘It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education…’ (DfE Sept 2013).
Our reading curriculum provides the perfect balance between instruction in cognitive reading processes which develop the children’s technical and comprehension skills and affective experiences which foster a lifelong love of and interest in reading. Reading behaviours are cultivated and children encouraged to be discerning readers through reading frequently and broadly. Self-regulation strategies are taught and children are encouraged to discuss the text and content.
Our curriculum is shaped by our school vision which aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ethnicity, disadvantage, ability, additional learning needs to flourish and achieve their potential.
The aims outlined in our Intent are embedded across our reading sessions and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised Reading curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading. We adopt a skills based approach to reading using Dr Wayne Tennent’s structure during regular Reading Comprehension lessons. The structure includes focusing on Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve and Sequence/Summarise. In our school, our reading curriculum links closely with our writing curriculum. We use a text-based approach which enables us to create opportunities for reading, discussion and opportunities to write during reading lessons. Teachers ensure that reading has cross curricular links and choose texts woven into each year group’s Big Picture, including opportunities to develop vocabulary by reading a variety of texts which include “sticky words”. Each year group follows a year plan to ensure that all aims from the National Curriculum for English are met over the year. The Reading Lead oversees long term plans ensuring they follow a progressive curriculum as children move up through the school.
The National Curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:
Early Reading and Phonics
During the children’s early reading journey, daily phonics sessions, either once or twice a day, are taught. Phonics is taught through the Knowledge Transfer Centre. This is a project for phonics and reading based on Letters and Sounds developed by Literacy Consultant Ann Smalberger. Children also learn to read and spell tricky words, which are words that do not rely on phonic knowledge. The KTC daily phonic sessions provide the opportunity to learn new sounds and revisit previous learning, practise and apply new skills in structured but engaging ways. Phonics which is also applied throughout the rest of the school to consolidate what has been learnt.
Shared Reading and Group Comprehension
We encourage reading for/to:
Across the school Reading Comprehension sessions are undertaken daily and Shared Reading sessions weekly. Every class in the school undertakes these sessions at the same time each morning.
In EYFS a pictorial stimulus is the focus for the development of comprehension skills during Shared and Group Comprehension. Year 1 use a combination of pictorial and short excerpts of text.
In Key Stages One and Two whole class Shared Reading and Group Comprehension sessions balance the teaching of reading between word reading, wider decoding skills, grammar for reading, wider comprehension strategies and response to text with the aim to develop fluent readers who understand what they are reading. During these sessions we use a variety of quality texts to motivate and inspire our children. As a school, we take a reciprocal approach to the teaching of reading. Children’s dialogue, thoughts and opinions are at the forefront of reading sessions, with teachers prompting and guiding the children to justify, elaborate and think deeper. From nursery through to year 6, all key reading comprehension strategies are practised using resources ranging from pictures books to novels, newspaper articles and a wide range of texts and genres. We develop these skills from an early age in order to give children the tools they need to develop in other areas. For example being able to infer how a character in a book feels and have empathy for them is a skill they will inevitably use in a social context. Additionally, comprehension is taught from an early age to avoid the risk of comprehension difficulties arising later on in a child’s learning journey as the language demand of the texts increases. We believe that it is important that children read for meaning and understand the text. A lack of comprehension can create a barrier to educational attainment. Better comprehenders are more likely to be motivated readers.
Shared and reading comprehension are taught routinely using a linked approach whereby a key skill focus is modelled by the teacher in shared reading which is then practised by the children in a series of subsequent reading comprehension sessions. In whole class shared reading, an excerpt from a rich, challenging text is used by the teacher to explicitly model the key skill by voicing reader ‘think alouds’. Children are then given the opportunity to apply the skill in pairs, discussing their application of the strategy.
In group reading comprehension, the teacher works with a group in on a rota basis. This provides the opportunity to reiterate the taught focus, listen to each child independently read a text at instructional level and assisting them in applying the focus. Oracy is a key element of our comprehension sessions as the children reflect on their progress towards the key objective and respond to a ‘talking point’. This is a statement about the text which the children discuss as a group allowing the teacher to assess the children’s comprehension. Both shared and reading comprehension sessions include a wider strategy check to ensure that children continue to apply the full range of strategies as they read. During the introduction of the text children are given time to clarify some vocabulary and pronouns in context. During both shared and group comprehension sentence stems are frequently used to scaffold the children’s application of the strategy and support the development of their oral skills.
We have a high-quality pupil profiling system to identify gaps in individual pupils reading and first-class intervention provisions run by highly trained teaching assistants to close the gaps in pupils learning.
Inference Training is a 12 week programme which is used across Key Stage 2 with small groups of identified children who are capable and confident word readers but need help with comprehension skills. Each week a new text is given to the children, read and discussed. A set of comprehension activities are completed based on the text which focus on the skills of retrieving information, making inferences, predicting and summarising.
Lexia is used in years 2-6. Lexia is an online programme which children work on via an app. They are assessed and the programme provides them with activities based on areas that have been identified as needing development. These could include phonics/word reading, any area of comprehension or grammar. Lexia is used with a variety of groups ranging between children who are not meeting age related expectations, through to children who are greater depth readers. Lexia provides data on each individual child which is regularly looked at by the staff running the groups and the Reading Lead.
CatchUp Literacy is a programme used in KS1 and years 3 and 4. CatchUp Literacy is a structured one-to-one intervention for learners who find reading difficult.
Reading for Pleasure
Additionally, we provide a wealth of enrichment opportunities from annual author visits during Author Week to participation in the Our Best Book competition to celebrating World Book Day every year and much more. This ensures that children benefit from access to positive role models from the local and wider locality.
There are themed reading areas around the school where children can read for pleasure in a comfortable and fun environment.
As a result of our varied and wide provision in Reading we have a community of enthusiastic readers who enjoy valuable discussions about texts they read both in and out of school. We have fostered a love for and of Reading and the children love to share texts they have enjoyed with staff, peers and with family at home. They are confident in challenging themselves and taking risks with their reading. The phonic score in Year 1 has been on an upward trajectory over the past few years and we aim for this to be sustained.